This question has dogged me since I brought the first pages to my writing critique group six years ago. The True History of Jude endured restructures, abandoned endings, a complete change of tense, and deep puzzlement from some of those who read drafts along the way.
The question is perhaps irrelevant. This was a novel I wrote for myself, ignoring advice to cram it into a genre box. I categorise it as ‘coming of age tale’ and ‘dystopian thriller’. I could just as well say ‘epistolatory confession’ and ‘satire on Australia’s elites’. Or even ‘reimagining of a nineteenth century English novel’.
The True History of Jude is now out in ebook and paperback. I’m nervous.
I’m planning six or seven blog posts over the next few months, talking about various themes and motifs in the novel. These are some of the topics I’ll cover:
- The potential for a tsunami that renders Australia’s east coast uninhabitable.
- The Macfarlane family, who lease Australia to the international community as the exclusive supplier of uranium for a thousand years.
- The development of a new creole language among climate change refugees abandoned in Australia.
- The secession of the southern states of the USA.
- The community of religious fundamentalists who have taken over the North Queensland town of Kuranda.
- The fate of a royal historian in the post-truth era in England, where computer generated language technology has eliminated fiction.
- A main character who believes he is Jude in Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure.
If that hasn’t convinced you that The True History of Jude doesn’t fit a genre straitjacket, then I’ll try a little harder: Most of the book is supposedly written on an old typewriter, which is fine in the paperback edition where a suitable font replicates typing; but the robotic flowing text of the ebook neuters the aesthetic effect—technology eliminating art!
The True History of Jude is available here at a promotional discount of $0.99 until the end of July 2022.