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review 2018-02-24 11:00
An Australian in Search of Understanding: The Tree of Man by Patrick White
The Tree Of Man - Patrick White

As I found out after reading, this is one of the most famous and most widely-read novels of the first Australian recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature. Although critically acclaimed abroad it wasn't much of a success in Australia when it first came out in 1955.

 

It's the slow-paced life story of a good though rather taciturn farmer and his family in the stunning nature of New South Wales in the first half of the twentieth century. Things change all around, the children go their own ways and relations between husband and wife are characterised by affection and habit.

 

For more be invited to click here and read my long review on my book blog Edith's Miscellany or its duplicate on Read the Nobels!

Source: edith-lagraziana.blogspot.com
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review 2018-01-14 00:58
Lois Murphy’s SOON defies genre categorisation

 

An utterly gripping debut novel. Just like the work of Transit Lounge stable mates Jane Rawsonand A S Patric, Lois Murphy’s Soon defies genre categorisation.

 

Despite containing fantastical story elements, Soon feels uncommonly gritty and grounded. Murphy’s character development and evocation of both the natural environment and small town setting is first class — a reader cannot help but become invested in their plight. The sense of foreboding is at times gut wrenching. 

 

Read our full review of SOON at bookloverbookreviews.com >>

Source: bookloverbookreviews.com/2017/11/soon-by-lois-murphy-book-review.html
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review 2017-08-28 00:37
The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane
The Night Guest - Fiona McFarlane

The Night Guest opens with elderly Ruth fearing she can hear and smell a tiger in her house--in Australia. One of the great pleasures of this book is its unreliable narrator, unreliable not because she's deceptive but because her mind isn't what it used to be and may be getting worse. Yet the phantom of the tiger presages what may be a real danger: the arrival of a woman named Frida who claims to be a government carer. Is she, or is she fleecing Ruth?

 

Ruth's narration leaves just enough room for the reader to come to their own conclusions about her and Frida. Some things are left diaphanous, but not so hazy as to cause confusion. On top of that, the prose is terrific: distinctive but not overbearingly poetic. McFarlane capture fine states of feeling or consciousness with her language and imagery. I really delighted in reading it.

 

Not so delightful is the nature of what's going on, or even the suspicion of it. My grandmother, who died a few years ago, suffered from dementia. She had an excellent aide, but my parents eventually had to put her in a nursing home close to where they live. Even the best of those places upset me, and it was hard for me to see my grandmother--the smartest person in my family--lose herself. This recent experience made it difficult to continue at times.

 

I also found myself thinking about Frida's race and physicality--she's a brown-skinned and heavyset woman. Ruth is tiny and was fair-haired. What's being said about Frida and race? I searched reviews and finally found one that addresses the issue by referencing the author's own explanation (in the Sydney Review of Books, here). This explanation satisfied me, though I'm still wondering about Frida's size.

 

Finally, it was lovely to see a bit of romance between Ruth and her almost-love from the past, who's even older than she is. A delicately handled rarity in literary fiction.

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review 2017-03-07 06:45
The Rosie Effect: A Novel - Graeme Simsion

At first this book had me worried. There were problems presented that seemed insurmountable, and although I expected the usual disasters caused by Don's unique responses to social situations, the magnitude of one of them in particular, was a bit overwhelming. Also the tension rose and rose and rose in relation to the most crucial problem Don and Rosie faced but the resolution was slipped in in such a way it would have been easy to miss. Fortunately, the lead-up to the resolution was a good one and made it believable.
I was quite a bit more emotional in my response to this one than to the first. While hardly as socially inept as Don, we do have some similarities, and watching him struggle through the problems presented in The Rosie Effect was heartbreaking. I also appreciated, as I had in the first, the fact that Graeme Simsion can, through his skillful writing, demonstrate just how much Don cares about others even though he finds it difficult to relate to them on any emotional level. Well written and enjoyable.

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review 2017-03-01 09:31
The Rosie Project - Graeme Simsion

When I began it, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or not, as the narration was heavy with lots of 'telling'. However, I quickly realised that that was an appropriate style for a character who is most likely Asperger's or leaning towards autism, with his heavy emphasis on routine, structure and over-analysis of everything, and his fear of emotional situations and inability to behave in a socially acceptable way. Don Tillman, the protagonist, quickly became sympathetic and his journey though the novel was endearing and at times extremely moving. A very enjoyable story.

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