Something for the Pain: A Memoir of the Turf

Something for the Pain: A Memoir of the Turf

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PUB DATE: 26/05/2016

EXTENT: 288pp

FORMAT: paperback

ISBN: 9781925240375

RIGHTS: World: Text Publishing; Spain: Miniscula

Winner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 2016

I never met anyone whose interest in racing matched my own. Both on and off the course, so to speak, I’ve enjoyed the company of many a racing acquaintance…I’ve read books, or parts of books, by persons who might have come close to being true racing friends of mine if ever we had met. For most of my long life, however, my enjoyment of racing has been a solitary thing: something I could never wholly explain to anyone else.

As a boy, Gerald Murnane became obsessed with horse racing. He had never ridden a horse, nor seen a race. Yet he was fascinated by photos of horse races in the Sporting Globe, and by the incantation of horses’ names in radio broadcasts of races. Murnane discovered in these races more than he could find in religion or philosophy: they were the gateway to a world of imagination.

Gerald Murnane is like no other writer, and Something for the Pain is like no other Murnane book. In this unique and spellbinding memoir, he tells the story of his life through the lens of horse racing. It is candid, droll and moving—a treat for lovers of literature and of the turf.


‘Murnane’s books are strange and wonderful and nearly impossible to describe in a sentence or two…His later works are essayistic meditations on his own past, a personal mythology as attuned to the epic ordinariness of lost time as Proust, except with Murnane it’s horse races, a boyhood marble collection, Catholic sexual hang-ups and life as a househusband in the suburban Melbourne of the 1970s.’ New York Times

‘Murnane is a careful stylist and a slyly comic writer with large ideas.’ Robyn Cresswell, Paris Review

A memoir of horse racing that speaks of triumphs and tragedies, of the infinite shades of friendship and romance, of the precision and persistence of memory, and—in its characteristically calm, direct prose as much as its contents—of virtue.’ Times Literary Supplement, Best Books of 2015

A perennial stayer in the Nobel Stakes.’ Australian Financial Review, Best Books of 2015

‘Murnane recounts his life through his abiding obsession with horse racing. But you don’t have to care about horse racing—it’s the quality of the obsessed mind that matters.’ Ben Lerner, New Yorker, Books We Loved in 2015