Sample Saturday – two boys, a marriage, and Hamlet

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

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

A Good School by Richard Yates

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

Sample Saturday – Dublin, Iceland, and NYC

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

Andrew Sean Greer at the Wheeler Centre

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

The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

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

Ein wunderschöner Abend mit Jenny Erpenbeck and laughs with Meg Wolitzer

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