'In Australian writing Moorhouse stands apart...' Le Monde, Paris.
‘I doubt whether Frank Moorhouse, whose reputation in Australia has been built on his witty reporting of life among city-dwelling professionals and conference-goers, would expect to find himself likened to Henry James. Yet James's complicated explorations of American innocents (supposed) and their European corrupters (assumed) is strongly brought to mind in Moorhouse's duo of novels about the interwar activities of the League of Nations, of which Dark Palace is the concluding part.
Peter Porter the Guardian (UK), April 9, 2002
‘The chair incident is a minor but emblematic moment in "Grand Days," the first volume in the League-based Palais des Nations series produced by Australian writer [Frank Moorhouse]. It would be a striking novel set in any period, well-written and peopled with engaging characters, but Moorhouse's choice of time frame makes "Grand Days" especially poignant; the hopes and idealism expressed in Geneva in the 1920s are shadowed by the reader's knowledge that the League of Nations is destined to be a noble failure.
‘There is, in short, much of Henry James in this novel-the emphasis on the complexities of social interaction, on the overlooked details of life, on the clash of manners and cultures. Moorhouse, naturally, is more modern than James-one of [Edith Berry Campbell]'s great friends is transsexual-but also more arch, giving "Grand Days" a humour and drollery absent from most of the master's work.
‘Like James, too, Moorhouse isn't overly concerned with surface plot. When Edith, early in the novel, accepts the gift of a revolver from an odd American named Col. Strongbow, the reader expects the gun to reappear at some point; it never does, though, for few of the charged, apparently significant incidents in "Grand Days" have external consequences.’
Chris Goodrich, Los Angeles Times, June 5, 1994
''Let us drink to the discipline of indiscipline which must guide us all in every action.' The hero announces near the start of Frank Moorhouse's wry, elliptical, funny and sad novel which like a casual outfit from a couture house, is constructed with the art that conceals art -- a veritable model of dishevelled elegance.
'...In between these affirmations of rigorous flexibilities a novel crammed with ideas, constructed in brief chapters crafted as finely as if they were individual short stories, threaded together with verbal echoes and emotional resonances...
'...an utterly distinctive voice -- discursive, sexy, furiously sceptical, literate, desperately romantic, rude.
'...Comparisons with Milan Kundera are not out of place, although Mr Moorhouse's female characters are far more credible.
...his effect is unexpected, exhilarating, disorienting, sometimes hilarious...He makes you laugh, and think.'
Angela Carter, New York Times (Forty-Seventeen), full page 3 review.
'Unlike many male writers Moorhouse is at ease writing about the way people understand and express themselves sexually...this is a stunning collection...Most of all; it's a terrific read...'
Delys Bird Australian Book Review (Forty-Seventeen)
'Monstrous, pathetic and hilarious...he creates admirable female characters...'
Elizabeth Ward Washington Post (Forty-Seventeen)
‘with the skill of his writing and the shrewdness of his observations about human behaviour, but by his ability to fictionalize records which might otherwise be too painful to read. Making what he writes about acceptable in this way he extends enormously the range of human behaviour we are able to contemplate with equanimity, humour and compassion.'
Gay Raines, Australian Studies. (Forty-Seventeen)
'Not only is the book intricately researched and convincing it also manages to be funny, scary and extremely sexy, mingling the comedy of petty diplomacy with the storm clouds heralding World war 11 and the thrilled but tangled eroticism of the time...Truly a grand book...' UK Vogue, September 1993.
'...an irreducibly rich, sustained and complex work of the imagination...showing the quiet mark of genius...Throughout, the gems of the book stem from delight. Delight in words, in sensations, in work, in love.'
Natasha Walter, The Independent, London September 11, 1993
'..chief among the many pleasures of this wonderful novel is the satisfaction of feeling that while you are, at every turn, reminded of why you liked reading in the past, you are never for a moment not reading about the present...you won't have performed better as a reader since you read Middlemarch.'
Howard Jacobson, Sunday Times, September 12, 1993.
'...combines meticulous research with imaginative bravura to transform what he calls "a trunk in the attic of history" into an exuberant novel...it says a lot for Frank Moorhouse's capacity as a story-teller that Grand Days doesn't feel as long as it actually is (over 500 pages).'
Lucasta Miller, London Sunday Telegraph, September 26, 1993.
'Frank Moorhouse has opted for the blend of historical and fictional characters which turns the novel into an epic docudrama.'
Nicola Walker, Times Literary Supplement, September 24, 1993
'This is a big, luminous, affectionate and beautifully managed novel. It shows Frank Moorhouse passing from days of wine and rage to his own grand days.'
Brian Matthews, London Sunday Independent, September 26, 1993
'Grand Days is easily the most original novel I've read this year both in subject matter...and in style...'
Margaret Forster, London Telegraph Books of The Year, December 12, 1993.
'...worth not reading, but re-reading.'
Natasha Walter, Independent, Writers look back on Highlights of 1993, December 4, 1993.
'...Grand Days is a celebration of the novel as a form, for its inclusiveness and its contingent truths, as well as the requirements that we surrender to its telling...Contemporary fiction must relearn how to propose and leap into embodying its proposal. This novel does both beautifully, challenging us to listen with complete, rapt attention to Edith as she storms into life through these many pages. Whether we accept her word or warm to her self-appraisal is unimportant because we have been implicated in her singularity...It is a rich and enriching novel, out of its time but vital to it, whose writing is an act of inspiration..’
Guy Mannes-Abbott, The Guardian, December 28, 1993.
'...Moorhouse has enormous gifts -- he is our funniest writer and our finest connoisseur of the comedy of manners.'
Peter Goldsworthy, The Adelaide Review.