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The Philanthropist

by John Tesarsch

This book is now out of print and not for sale.

“A very fine piece of work” – John Banville

Charles Bradshaw is an ageing tycoon haunted by his past. When he suffers a heart attack, he abruptly retires and announces that he will give his fortune to charity, which leads to conflict with his wife and adult children. An old girlfriend, Anna, returns unannounced, and brings with her memories of a terrible secret that they share from their youth. Unnerved by their renewed affection for each other, Charles and Anna struggle to overcome their remorse and to make amends, but tension inevitably flares. Meanwhile, Charles’s son is taking over the company and becomes intoxicated with his newfound power, intent, it seems, on self-destruction.

His last prayer was more than forty years ago, and it went unanswered, so there is no use trying again. He can see his home in the distance: the marquee in the garden, his yacht at anchor. It is all like a simple parable. The rich man, the fat man, gets his comeuppance. Absurd, that he will be found dead wearing nothing but Speedos – it almost makes him laugh.

“A tightly plotted character novel of wealth and personal devastation, regret and reparation across two generations.” – Brenda Walker

“There has been a lot of buzz online about this novel and it’s easy to see why. Tesarsch writes with great assurance and it is clear he is a voracious reader with a deep understanding of what fiction is and how is works – something lacking in many first-time novelists. What’s more, he can extract sympathy, even empathy, from the reader for more than one unlikeable character. This increases as the plot moves to its inevitable end. Tesarsch has followed two very different professions – music and the law – and has lived in one of Europe’s most deeply cultured and darkly evocative cities. His extensive life experience shows in every line of his writing.” – Kerryn Goldsworthy, Sydney Morning Herald Pick of the Week

“A pitch-perfect exploration of Australia’s great and good. When an ageing Victorian businessman decides to lighten his soul by giving his considerable wealth to charity, all hell breaks loose. What follows is an elegant narrative dealing with the damage a fortune wreaks on two generations of a family typical of our nation’s ruling caste. If the subject is rare for Ozlit, so is the restrained talent on display. It’s one for the men in suits.” – Geordie Williamson, The Australian

“A domestic drama that grapples with notions of societal and personal responsibilities, The Philanthropist is a compelling read.” – Thuy On, Australian Book Review

“In this extremely well-written novel, Tesarsch, a former barrister, gives the pillars of the Melbourne establishment a jolly good shake.” – The Age

“The narrative is delivered in a downbeat, spare voice that perfectly matches the story, and characters are finely drawn. This is an authentic depiction of a particular stratum of Melbourne society. And it comes from Sleepers, who once again prove that being small is no bar to publishing quality work.” – Bookseller and Publisher

Read a great review of the book here on Literary Minded.