Spent the summer break reading books from secondhand shops mostly, especially the wonderful Ramalama in Wonthaggi. Each new year I vow (half-heartedly) to keep a record of what books I read and what I thought of them but already I canít remember most of them. Hereís a few...
The Birdwatcher by William McInnes
A lovely read about a twitcher whoís losing his hearing and his quest to see the elusive Pygmy Magpie Goose. Thereís a lot about following dreams, a little bit of magic and much about having the courage to love and be loved. Very satisfying.
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
A grim tale of love and relationships during and after the second world war. The narrative works backwards so that the things we wonder about all through the story are (thank heavens!) finally explained by the end. A bit harrowing but gripping nonetheless.
Personality by Andrew OíHagan
Having loved his previous works and what he writes in the London Review of Books I found this a bit disappointing. Itís the story of a young Scottish girl with a remarkable talent for singing, her rise to fame and her battle with anorexia nervosa. OíHagan switches voice and character cleverly but it made the whole thing a bit of a hotch potch and nothing in it took my breath away like his beautiful Be Near Me of 2006.
Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman
Oh my! That was a commitment! Seven parts, six different narrators and a cast of riveting characters. Luckily the end was satisfying after all that work, though I wonder if another editor might have cut out some of the excessive detail, eg. seemingly endless pages about how to win at Blackjack.
Cairo by Chris Womersley ( a set read for my PWE course)
A beautifully written tale of Tom Button, a 17 year old innocent from the country who finds himself living alone in inner city Melbourne where he is readily seduced by a group of 1980ís Bohemians. Central to the plot is a fictional account of the stealing of Picassoís Weeping Woman but the star of this book, for me, is the language, the voice and the wonderful use of foretelling.