Demi-Gods by Eliza Robertson

I won’t argue, there were parts of Eliza Robertson’s debut novel, Demi-Gods, that bordered on gratuitous. It’s important to mention that because some readers will abandon the book after they encounter a particular scene in the first chapter. Not me. I was hooked from page one, intrigued by the complex relationships and charmed by Robertson’s writing.

It’s 1950 and the lives of nine-year-old Willa and twelve-year-old Joan are transformed when their mother, a cocktail-swilling divorcee, invites her new lover and his two sons, Kenneth and Patrick, to stay at the family’s summer-house on Salt Spring Island, British Columbia. The attraction between Joan and Kenneth is immediate and as they pair off, Willa is left in the company of the sly and unnerving Patrick. Patrick both intrigues and repulses Willa and the story focuses on the complex power dynamic that unfolds between them during the six times they meet in the following decades.

In the intervals between, we didn’t exist. He didn’t exist to me. I didn’t exist to him. Continue reading


Six Degrees of Separation – from The Luminaries to Tony Hogan.

the luminaries by eleanor catton

In 1929, Hungarian writer Frigyes Karinthy wrote a short story called Chains in which he coined the phrase six degrees of separation. Of course the 1993 film, Six Degrees of Separation, starring the incomparable Stockard Channing, cemented the phrase (and concept) into everyday parlance. Based on the concept of six degrees of separation, Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith created a neat meme, where bloggers share links between books, in six moves.

This month, the chain begins with The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I haven’t read it and my reason is pathetic – it’s just such a big book and I’ve done a few big books of late. That said, it is on my reading list (propping up the chunky end along with Harry Quebert). But the beauty of this meme is that having read the book is not a prerequisite. Continue reading

You can choose your friends but… – a top ten list of books about families

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina opens with this –

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

And aren’t readers glad that Tolstoy is correct because such families make for great stories.

This week’s top ten, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is favourite books in a particular setting – I’ve chosen families as my theme (and also cleverly managed to put Tolstoy and Sister Sledge in the same post. I know, brilliant)..

So, play that funky beat and browse this list of the best books about families dealing with their share of unhappiness – Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – There’s a new book out by…

buy all the books meme

When John Irving released In One Person last year it received mixed advance reviews. I read them all but they didn’t stop me from pouncing on In One Person as soon as I was able. And I didn’t really like it which was disappointing because I’d waited for it for so long. But it didn’t matter because Irving is without question my favourite contemporary author and, if he suddenly began publishing his books on the back of boxes of Cheerios, then I’d be an overnight Cheerios eater.

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is ‘Authors On My Auto-Buy List’. It’s not just Irving –

1. John Irving – goes without saying! Continue reading

Top Ten Books I Read In 2012


Recently, a member of my book group called me a ‘book pusher’. I feigned disbelief – “I don’t push books onto people!” I exclaimed. But I do. I do it all the time. Once I’ve read a really good book, I want everyone around me to share the joy.

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Read in 2012. Or, in other words, the Top Ten Books I’ve Been Pushing on People This Year.

1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – my favourite book for the year.

2. Of a Boy by Sonya Hartnett – this book will never leave me.

3. The Forrests by Emily Perkins – unusual and very special.

4. Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussman – sublime… Where’s the gin? Continue reading

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012


Well, finally a list that can’t possibly contain any John Irving (but see what I did there, slipped the name in… Are you thinking about Owen Meany now?!).

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week a new ‘top ten’ challenge is posted – anyone can join in. This week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2012.

1. Chad Harbach – The Art of Fielding took Harbach ten years to write. I sincerely hope we don’t have to wait a decade for his next book.

2. Emily Perkins – New Zealand born Perkins thrilled me with her exquisite saga, The Forrests.

3. Laura Dave – for sharp chick-lit. Continue reading