Theory & Practice

A Novel

Choose a Format

On Sale: | $25

9781646222872 | Hardcover 5 x 8 | 192 pages Buy it Now

On Sale: | $12.99

9781646222889 | Ebook | 192 pages Buy it Now

Book Description

With echoes of Shirley Hazzard and Virginia Woolf, a new novel of startling intelligence from prize–winning author Michelle de Kretser, following a woman looking back on her young adulthood, and grappling with the collision of her emotions and her values

In the late 1980s, the narrator of Theory & Practice—a first generation immigrant from Sri Lanka who moved to Sydney in her childhood—sets up a life in Melbourne for graduate school. Jilted by a lover who cheats on her with another self-described “feminist,” she is thrown into deeper confusion about her identity and the people around her. 

The narrator begins to fall for a man named Kit, who is in a “deconstructed relationship” with a woman named Olivia. She struggles to square her feminism against her jealousy toward Olivia—and her anti-colonialism against her feelings about Virginia Woolf, whose work she is called to despite her racism.

What happens when our desires run contrary to our beliefs? What should we do when the failings of revered figures come to light? Who is shamed when the truth is told? In Theory & Practice, Michelle de Kretser offers a spellbinding meditation on the moral complexities that arise in this gap. Peopled with brilliantly drawn characters, the novel also stitches together fiction and essay, taking up Woolf’s quest for adventurous literary form.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

"Theory & Practice is a thrillingly original hybrid work that seeks truthful answers to the most difficult questions of the day—questions about the nature of love, art, and desire, about the thorny legacy of colonialism and the unappeasable human yearning for connection." —Sigrid Nunez, author of The Vulnerables

“Michelle de Krestser, one of the best writers in the English language, has written her most brilliant book yet. It is, in short, a masterpiece.” —Neel Mukherjee, author of Choice and A State of Freedom