Machines for Feeling


In Mireille’s first novel Rien meets Mark at St Mary’s Home for Children. They experience passion, loss and hope as they begin a tenuous relationship and a new life beyond the Home. While Mark dreams of machines to repair the fractured world, Rien writes stories of falling to help her recover the missing events of her past. Their friend Dog Boy escapes from St Mary’s to embark on a ragged journey that will dramatically alter each of their lives.

Mireille Juchau writes with a strong spare poetic style. In creating three unusual characters with distinctly inventive inner lives, she raises questions about the nature of being and individuality, and highlights the enduring power of the imagination in a world with little time for difference.

Machines for Feeling draws on psychological accounts of autistic people who have devised techniques to cope with intense feeling. Animal scientist Temple Grandin built a squeeze machine for cattle and adapted it for her own uses (famously documented by Oliver Sacks) and Birger Sellin wrote his poetic autobiography, using ‘facilitated communication’. Both inventively used technology to reach out beyond trapped selves.

University of Queensland Press, 2001

 

Shortlisted for the Vogel/Australian Literary Award

 

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Mireille Juchau’s strength as a novelist lies in a disarming humour and a beautifully pitched control so evocative it is almost possible to make out the imprint of a hand fading on skin. Machines for Feeling… raises fascinating questions about our responses to those artists who are out of sync with the demands of the world.

Good Reading Magazine, 2001

This is a beautiful and disturbing novel about the fallout of the adult world and its impact on the young.

Australian Book Review, 2002

Juchau’s writing has the quality and density of poetry.

The Courier Mail, 2001

 

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