The author of eight novels, Gail Jones is an Australian academic who teaches cinema as well as literature. Unsurprisingly, images are central to her conception of fiction.
Sixty Lights, a novel in which 60 photographs cast light on her Victorian characters, shows Jones’s interest ‘in considering how the image, rather than the plot (although of course it’s still crucial) shapes our conceptual and emotional responses in reading’. It would be wrong to imagine that her academic work (she wrote her dissertation on postcolonialism and the ‘other’) sits close to the surface of her fiction. Among the primary functions of art, she says, are ‘consolation (against meaninglessness) and revelation (against all that remains hidden)’.