Book review: For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney

Friday, May 10, 2024 Permalink

For Everything a Time by Mark McAvaney unfolds in the past (1990) and present (2003) and one of the things I loved most about this bittersweet novel is how many memories it brought back from both times.

It’s a story about family and friendship and I was reminded of those friendships we develop when young, in our formative years… sometimes merely out of circumstance or proximity but there’s something foundational about them that impacts the way we live the rest of our lives.

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four-stars

Book review: Earth by John Boyne

Wednesday, April 17, 2024 Permalink

Earth by John Boyne is the second in the loosely linked series. I read Water in late 2023 and it was a tumultuous read. I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed it but cried when closing the book on discovering that another in the series was coming.

Earth didn’t have quite the same impact but Boyne again manages to unfurl a complex and tragic backstory as shocking events unfold in the present. Here, the focus is Evan – who we briefly meet in Water – which ends as he’s escaping the small Irish island that was his home.

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four-stars

Book review: All The Words We Know by Bruce Nash

Wednesday, March 6, 2024 Permalink

All The Words We Know by Bruce Nash was my first experience with the Australian author’s work and I was completely smitten. And for me the magic here lies in the prose. Or very specifically in the narration by 80 something year old Rose – a former teacher, now struggling with her memory. And words.

I very much adored a book I read in 2014 called Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey featuring an elderly woman with dementia. That book was also written from her point of view so we experienced her world.

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five-stars

Book review: Joy Moody is Out of Time by Kerryn Mayne

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 Permalink

Joy Moody is Out of Time by Kerryn Mayne is the second book by the talented Aussie author. Her debut, Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder was published last year and one of my favourite books of 2023. Mayne replicates that storytelling élan here with a quirky plot and unexpected characters. The book is centred in the present, resplendent with unanswered questions and revelations but there’s a mystery in the past… hovering just beyond our reach. There are some hints dropped throughout the book of what that might be but Mayne times the final reveal(s) brilliantly.

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four-stars

Book review: Kind of, Sort of, Maybe, But Probably Not by Imbi Neeme

Friday, February 16, 2024 Permalink

I very much enjoyed Imbi Neeme’s 2020 novel, The Spill which featured two sisters and was centred around family relationships and things left to fester. But it has to be said I loved her new release Kind of, Sort of, Maybe, But Probably Not even more. It offers readers flawed but very very likeable and engaging characters, including those floating around the periphery and it features a couple of young women going through some life changing moments, negotiated as they try to uncover an old mystery.

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy

Friday, February 9, 2024 Permalink

I must make a confession… I have absolutely no interest in visiting America. None. Zip. So I’m probably not the ideal audience for The Roadmap of Loss by Liam Murphy which is ostensibly centred around a roadtrip around the US. Although… of course however, the book is about more than roadtripping – it’s about a young man coming to terms with the loss of his mother and (belatedly) the disappearance (and loss) of his father from his life two decades earlier.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton

Sunday, January 28, 2024 Permalink

Whenever You’re Ready by Trish Bolton is a bittersweet tale of family and friendships and of love and loss. I read this as my mother’s 80th birthday neared and was a little sad that there’s even any question about older women’s worth or how much living septuagenarians might have left.

And of course that’s the thing about age; 30, 50 or 70 seems old… until you’re there. And 10, 15, 20 seems young… unless you’re there. I recall finishing high school and looking at the year 8 students thinking we NEVER looked that young. And now I look at staff in stores and they look like they’re 12.

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three-half-stars

Book review: Tidelines by Sarah Sasson

Saturday, January 20, 2024 Permalink

Tidelines by Sarah Sasson is an eerily poignant read as it opens after a tragedy then goes back into the past, beguiling readers with the story of siblings; knowing that all does not end well, but intrigued as to how we get there.

As someone who grew up with a high-achieving older brother I could very much relate to young ‘Grub’ here. Elijah is admired and respected by his peers and adults, including their parents. He’s athletic and a talented musician – deemed for greatness. Grub lives in his shadow and conscious of that, but at the same time, not jealous or envious (rather, proud… but at the same time aware of the flaws others might not see).

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four-half-stars

Book review: The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies

Tuesday, December 26, 2023 Permalink

I had an early copy of The Broken Wave by Matthew Ryan Davies and the book’s pages all curled up*, making it a tad hard to manoeuvre but it was a perfect introspective read to occupy me for a few hours on Christmas afternoon – whipping through it in one sitting.

Andrew (Drew) and Tom meet only briefly as kids but bond in the way kids can but adults struggle to. Drew in particular seems to have shut himself off, living a very isolated life–as a kid with his books and words; and as an adult as a writer (in his case, a very solitary profession). His wife Claire, a social worker, has broken through his defences, but we learn the only other person with whom he’s connected in the same way, was Tom.

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four-stars