The Stella Prize 2019 – longlist predictions

The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.

The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading

The Lake House by Kate Morton

When I saw the author Rosalie Ham speak earlier this year, she mentioned that she never reads novels while she is writing one – the reason being, she becomes highly attuned to structure and spots plot tricks everywhere. She used the example of a novel beginning with a husband making mention that he loves his wife – Ham’s first thought is “Well, she’ll be dead by the end of this book!”

I was reminded of Ham’s comment as I slogged through 593 pages of Kate Morton’s The Lake House. It’s a dual mystery, yo-yoing between the 1930s and 2003 – there’s lots of complicating family secrets and missing (possibly dead) people. With Ham’s words in the back of my mind, Morton’s mentions of this, that and the other* were like beacons, alerting me to exactly how things would play out. Continue reading

A glee of author talks

http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/country-living/the-dressmaker-author-rosalie-ham-calls-for-authentic-rural-storytelling/news-story/bb665b3bd4967e41c6d04f294537d862

Firstly, what’s the collective noun for a bunch of author talks? A glee? A yay? A make-Kate-very-happy? Anyway, in the past week, I’ve been to three – that deserves a collective noun.

Secondly, I have a half-a-dozen posts in my drafts folder about author talks I have attended. I never get to the ‘publish’ stage. Can’t really say why – I suspect that I leave it a week or so and then feel unsure about the fine detail of what was said – I wouldn’t want to misquote someone.

So, three author talks in one post – my favourite bits of what Rosalie Ham, Hanya Yanagihara and Jonathan Franzen had to say. Continue reading

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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1. The Dressmaker film was superb. And the costumes were breathtaking. My friend Kate alerted me to this exhibition. Kate lives in a different state to me but we will find a way of seeing this together (road trip time?!).

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2. Much of the soundtrack for The Dressmaker was original but the Flower Duet from Lakmé was included – always one of my favourites. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – From All the Light We Cannot See to Canada.

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It’s six degrees of separation for books. Created by Emma Chapman and Annabel Smith. Check out the rules if you want to play along.

This month’s chain begins with Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See – it has lots of great themes that could be used as a starting point but I’m linking it to Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears. Both were books that I read in the last few weeks of the year (2014 and 2012 respectively) – too late for me to push them on others as ‘my best book of the year’.

Continue reading

Book vs. Film: The Dressmaker

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Film.

  • It played up the spaghetti-Western element of the book perfectly*.
  • Hemsworth.
  • Costumes. Brilliant.
  • The landscape (but I am partial to the Wimmera** district).
  • Winslet nails the accent.

*Director Jocelyn Moorhouse described the film as “Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven with a sewing machine.”
**Ham’s novel was set in the fictional town of Winyerp, which was based on the Victorian town of Murtoa.