Emily Maguire’s An Isolated Incident is the story of a brutal murder in a rural Australian town. The victim, Bella Michaels, was a much-loved member of the community and her death stuns not only those that knew her but the whole nation. Her sister, Chris, is left to grieve, search for answers, and deal with the growing media interest in Bella’s death.
I’ll get straight to the point – I didn’t care for this book at all. Am I wrong to have immediately thought that the story exploited the Jill Meagher case? And that there was a hint of treading the same path as Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things? Continue reading
Marguerite Duras’s The Lover is the second book I’ve read in as many weeks that’s a memoir, thinly disguised as a novel (the other being by Lily Brett).
The story is set in Saigon in the 1930s, and describes the tumultuous affair between a relatively poor adolescent French girl and her wealthy, older Chinese lover. Interspersed between details of their clandestine meetings are descriptions of the unnamed narrator’s mother – headmistress of a girls’ high school and prone to bouts of depression, and her wayward brothers. 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.
All three samples this week came from Sarah’s list of short books that are great conversation starters for book groups. I agreed with many of Sarah’s picks (the Phillips, Koch and Wood) and have a couple of others already in the TBR stack, so I thought I’d check out her other suggestions. Continue reading
I’ve talked about Ian McEwan and my reading previously. I know some think he writes only one character (that being himself) and that the ever-present moral twist in his stories is predictable – but I’m okay with that. And Nutshell goes on my list of McEwan Worth Reading*.
Okay, today’s Top Ten topic is supposed to be serious – suggestions for book groups that are crazy for memoirs or going through a science-fiction phase or whatever whatever… I love my book group deeply. We’ve been together for 17 years and, to be honest, reading the book is optional. However, we are consistent when it comes to laughing, having a wine (and sometimes a whine). Continue reading
01. There’s already been many wonderful tributes to Gillian Mears. I won’t try to match them but will say that Australian literature has lost a great voice (also: a personal essay from Mears, published in Meanjin; Susan Johnson’s beautiful 2011 piece about Mears; my thoughts on the brilliant Foal’s Bread). Continue reading
A Land More Kind Than Home came to my attention when author Wiley Cash (or perhaps it was his publisher) tweeted a challenge – something along the lines of “Guaranteed to thrill book groups” (or words to that effect). It stayed in my mind because my book group is a tough bunch – a book has to be pretty spectacular for us to even talk about it (we’re usually busy covering other topics…and wine). Anyways, my book group didn’t read it, but I did.
It’s the story of a small town in North Carolina; a preacher with some shady practices (think his own personal cult, lots of snake-handling and talking in tongues); and a boy, Jess, who’s seen and heard things he wasn’t supposed to – with dire consequences. Continue reading
1. I spent last Sunday night in the presence of Her Madgesty. Here are some of my thoughts (in chronological order):
- What should I wear to a Madge concert? Desperately Seeking Susan biker-chic? Some La Isla Bonita ruffles? Some structured Vogue corsetry? Some Music gangsta-luxe?
- Certainly a mixed crowd here tonight… *note to self: glad I didn’t date myself by choosing to dress in my favourite Madonna era*
- Well… No mistaking what THAT stage is supposed to be.
stack – /stak/ – a pile of objects, typically one that is neatly arranged.
confession – /kənˈfɛʃ(ə)n/ – a formal statement admitting that one is guilty of a crime.
Do you see where I’m going with this? Continue reading