This passage is from The Children's Bach by Helen Garner:

She turned round with her arms full of stinking sheets. He had not heard a word. His eyes had gone out of focus, his pitch was up, his pace was accelerating, his smile was the one-sided, manic grimace of the born raver: he was away on the high seas of narrative. In the wide planting of his feet, his blithe assumption of an audience, she saw Dexter, oh poor Dexter, gone away on a plane to try and pull the sword out of the stone. Her insides quivered with what she thought was laughter. She pushed the chattering boy aside: he turned to follow her, pointed his rapt, jabbering face in her direction, but she stepped out into the passage and closed the door on him. He took no notice: as she walked away his chipmunk voice rattled on without interruption.

Does it mean: she saw him in the place where there were the big footprints of Dexter and his footprints reflected his calmness to someone who was seeing his footprints?

Dose planting of his feet mean his footprints?

1 Answer 1


The sentence means:

In the way he stood with his feet placed widely apart, and in his belief that people would naturally want to listen to what he had to say, the boy reminded her of Dexter.

I have not read the novel, but I would assume Dexter is the boy's father who is not with them at this point. The boy's body language and mental attitude appears to bring his father to mind.

It has nothing to do with physical footprints.

  • Lots of Thanks. And does "born raver" mean: someone who is naturally insane? and "he was away on the high seas of narrative" mean: he imagined he is on the high seas that he had read in novels or seen in movies? Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 10:23
  • 2
    It means he was able to deliver long irrational or delusional speeches emotionally. This could be a sign of insanity or it could just mean he was gifted like an actor or an evangelical preacher. “He was on the high seas of narrative” is a metaphor: he had been carried away by his speech as though the speech was a sea far from land and he was sailing along on it.
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 3, 2021 at 11:53
  • 1
    Or maybe his speech is the boat that carries him away on the story (narrative) that the speech is telling.
    – verbose
    Commented Mar 4, 2021 at 6:54

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