Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop

Man Out of Time cover

Judges' Comments 

Imagery is everything in this tightly crafted novel that explores the subtle but overwhelming effect of mental illness, not just for the afflicted but for everyone in their path. Shuttling between multiple temporal periods and points of view, Bishop masterfully explores depression in complex and nuanced ways — the lives half lived in its grips, and the love it sometimes overpowers but never entirely extinguishes.

Man Out of Time explores the largely interior worlds of Leon and Frances and their nine-year-old daughter Stella with claustrophobic intensity. At the start of the novel Stella is informed that Leon is missing. Leon is a man running out of time, a man out of step with his times, a man outside of time itself. The imagery, structure and characterisation work seamlessly together to enforce Leon’s dissociation from reality and his daughter Stella’s attempt to understand their relationship and the affect it may have on her life through the unreliable lens of memory. Bishop has an exceptional eye for the everyday domestic details that define a life and the visceral embodied nature of psychological pain. This book deserves a slow reading.