My thoughts on Eurovision 2019 (in no particular order):
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week I’ve selected three from the last pages of my Kindle (meaning they’ve been there for years!). Continue reading
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
For how do you walk towards your father without being a son? How do you leave home without realising where you’re from?
This book… it’s a 568 page poem about brothers, running, fathers, a bridge, mistakes, Homer’s Odyssey, mothers, stories, dying, legacies, horses and a mule, clay, painting, David and the slaves, reading, Pont Neuf, grief, refugees, an engraved lighter, a piano, a typewriter, a peg…
…there was always a bulkiness to us. A bursting at the seams. Whatever we did, there was more: More washing, more cleaning, more eating, more dishes, more arguing, more fighting and throwing and hitting and farting… It didn’t matter how in control or on-top-of-things were, there was chaos a heartbeat away. We could be skinny and constantly agile, but there was never quite room for all of it – so everything was done at once. Continue reading
The cover of Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead suggests a story that is gentle and relatively undemanding but beyond the pastels is a thoughtful examination of the relationships between mothers and daughters, complete with the funny and loving moments, the frustrations and complexities, and the sadnesses.
It begins in 1980, New York City, with Laura who is Park Avenue born and bred. Laura considers herself progressive – she is deeply concerned about the environment; lives in Harlem (well, on the border); uses the subway and shops locally. Yet she has a cushy job via the family trust and her mortgage is paid for by her parents – the slightly eccentric Bibs and the formidable Doug.
After an out-of-character casual encounter, Laura discovers she is pregnant and decides to keep the baby. Bibs falsely informs her society friends that the baby is fathered by a Swedish sperm donor although she’s not opposed to Laura’s single status, saying of marriage, “It doesn’t matter who you marry, one day you’ll be sitting across the table from him thinking, Anything would be better than this.” Continue reading
If somehow, there came a time when I was *forced* to rank the novels of Richard Yates, I would probably place A Good School at the bottom of my list.
A Good School is one of Yates’s later novels and considered the most autobiographical. While his earlier novels focused on the anxieties of modern suburban life, A Good School examines the awkwardness and pain of teenage boy, William Grove.
William is trying desperately to fit into his new boarding school, Dorset Academy. Located in leafy Connecticut, Dorset appears to be a ‘good school’, however it lacks history, prestige and is on the brink of financial collapse –
Dorset Academy had a wide reputation for accepting boys who, for any number of reasons, no other school would touch. Continue reading
I’ll be getting up very, very early to catch the action live from Tel Aviv and may not be coherent, so here are the songs I’ll be cheering for. Continue reading
Sample Saturday is when I wade through the eleventy billion samples I have downloaded on my Kindle. I’m slowly chipping away and deciding whether it’s buy or bye. This week I’ve selected three from the last pages of my Kindle (meaning they’ve been there for years!) – I have no idea how I came across any of them. Continue reading
We got off to a fabulous start when host Benjamin Law noted Andrew Sean Greer’s striking leather pants and asked, “Who are you wearing tonight?” Andrew obliged – the pants were bespoke, made for him in Paris, and his striped blazer was purchased in Milan on a post-Pulitzer spending spree. For those who had not read Andrew’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Less, this exchange may have seemed farcical, however, those familiar with the character of Arthur Less immediately knew they were in for an entertaining evening (bespoke clothing occupies Arthur’s time in Paris). Continue reading
I savoured what I’m sure will be a once-in-a-lifetime thing – a fabulous, darkly humorous novel about water entitlements.
The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham centres on farmer Mitch Bishop. Mitch comes from a long line of sheep and wheat farmers, however, Mitch fears the family’s farm, Bishop’s Corner, will end with him – a drought; the departure of his childhood sweetheart and his subsequent marriage to the scheming Mandy; his ageing father; and the ever-increasing demands of the State Water Authority, are all taking their toll. But water politics, new owners at the local pub, and Mitch’s closest friends have a way of changing things. Continue reading
The best thing about the Sydney Writers Festival? That terrific international authors pop down to Melbourne, and are hosted by the Wheeler Centre, who put on an amazing program in May.
Last night I saw German author Jenny Erpenbeck and American author, Meg Wolitzer, talking about their latest books. Continue reading