Book review: Loveland by Robert Lukins

Wednesday, March 2, 2022 Permalink

Loveland is the first book I’ve read by Robert Lukins so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Something terribly literary or esoteric I suspect as I know he writes for a number of literary magazines and journals here in Australia.

As it happened I did not flounder about in a state of bewildered confusion. I absolutely adore/d Lukins’s writing. His ability to craft phrases and sentences in a way that they offer so much more than what’s on the page is extraordinary. And far from an unfathomable metaphor I was unable to unravel, Loveland is a very enjoyable novel. About real people and only on a couple of occasions and at the very end did it dip into something possibly beyond my very literal comprehension.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Saturday, November 20, 2021 Permalink

Before The Stranger in the Lifeboat I’d not read anything by Mitch Albom. I’ve not even seen the movie based on his popular book, Tuesdays with Morrie. But something about his latest release had me intrigued.

As a lover of mysteries, thrillers and crime fiction, I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘that’ kind of book, but there was mention of a mystery at the heart of this novel which I thought might appeal. And I certainly enjoyed this book, however it wasn’t really the question posed by the book, but Albom’s writing that had me enchanted.

four-half-stars

Book review: The Last Woman in the World by Inga Simpson

Saturday, October 30, 2021 Permalink

The Last Woman in the World is the third book I’ve read by Inga Simpson. I saw her speak at a bookshop locally around the time of her 2014 release Nest. I commented in that review about how inspiring I found her in person (and appreciated her blunt honesty about the challenges of becoming a published author), how much I loved her writing and her ability to instil in readers a sense of place.

I confess in my review of Where the Trees Were (2016) that I’m actually not a lover of nature. Of flora and fauna. And I’ve admitted on many occasions that I’m not a visual reader so not able to picture what I’m reading.

four-stars

Book review: The Survivors by Alex Schulman

Thursday, October 14, 2021 Permalink

The Survivors is the first book I’ve read by Swedish writer Alex Schulman. I don’t read a lot of translated books (usually because I read crime fiction and find the police and judicial system in Nordic countries, as well as France and Italy to be very confusing!) but this is also Schulman’s first novel.

Although I’m prone to overthinking and overanalysing (well, at least pondering) I’m still not sure what I think of this book. Its pacing felt a little slow and drawn-out. But it’s written cleverly – we go backwards in time (in the present) which is interspersed with snippets from the past.

Some of the writing is magic and I’m not sure if that’s down to Schulman or translator Rachel Willson-Broyles and there’s a very big reveal at the end that left me speechless.

three-half-stars

Book review: The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton

Thursday, September 16, 2021 Permalink

I’ve seen The Curlew’s Eye by Karen Manton billed as a crime thriller or a gothic mystery. In reality it’s less about a mystery to be solved or any present threat, and more about secrets and pasts that need to be faced up to.

Manton offers a strong and pervasive sense of place here. Lovers of flora, fauna and of nature in general will certainly adore her prose as she so richly describes life in outback Australia.

three-stars

Book review: The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer

Friday, July 16, 2021 Permalink

I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Ocean in Winter by Elizabeth de Veer. I’d requested it from an online review platform thinking perhaps it was a mystery or thriller (ie. my reading bread & butter). It’s not, but that was fine.

de Veer cleverly plots this out in almost a circular way. We start near the end before moving back in time. The book unfolds from three sisters’ points of view. The opening scene tells us a little of the history before we reach those events, but holds back on details to sustain the intrigue.

four-stars

Book review: The Others by Mark Brandi

Sunday, July 4, 2021 Permalink

If I understood the genesis of the term waxing lyrical (and wasn’t too lazy to google it) I would say I would be doing just that about The Others by Mark Brandi. Because I adored this book.

Brandi’s given us an amazing narrator in 11 year old Jacob and I do have a penchant for books written from a child’s point-of-view. It has to be done well though because their voice can very easily seem off. It can hard to capture innocence and naiveté of the young, when some – like Jacob – have good cause not to be.

five-stars

Book review: Snowflake by Louise Nealon

Thursday, June 17, 2021 Permalink

I’d only just hopped in the bath and started to read Snowflake by Louise Nealon when I shared a picture (of the book, not me…) and commented that I didn’t think I was going to be able to put it down until I finished.

Such is the addictive allure of 18 year old Debbie and the world in which she inhabits. Nealon opens by giving us some history into Debbie and her family – her uncle Billy and, to a lesser extent, her mother Maeve. in fact it takes Debbie a while to reflect on childhood events involving her mother and when she does it’s centred around her dreams and her mother’s belief that both she and Debbie have the ability to see other’s dreams.

four-half-stars