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: 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

Book review: Water by John Boyne

Friday, December 1, 2023 Permalink

Water by John Boyne is the first book I’ve read by the respected Irish novelist. And it’s going to be a difficult book to describe because much of made is special is the way its secrets unfold, which means I don’t want to share any here. It was also a deceptive read – slow, meandering between the present and past – but here’s an almost-addictive rhythm to Boyne’s writing and the way this book reveals itself.

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four-stars

Book review: Days of Innocence and Wonder by Lucy Treloar

Monday, November 13, 2023 Permalink

I very much enjoyed Days of Innocence and Wonder by Lucy Treloar. It was unexpected in some ways. The backcover blurb made it sound like the kind of mystery I like to read, but it was deeper and more thought-provoking than I expected. A well-told story of loss, grief and guilt and what happens if they’re left to fester.

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four-stars

Book review: Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 Permalink

Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood is yet another stunning piece of prose from this masterful writer. Her writing is superb. Splendid. Beautiful. And Wood is an excellent storyteller. The strangest thing for me about this book however is that I was waiting to understand what the book was about. Unlike The Natural Way of Things, I didn’t think it was a huge metaphor that eluded me, rather I kinda understood it was about a middle-aged woman undergoing a crisis of identity. Not a mid-life crisis, but one in which she’s questioning her purpose. There’s a part early in the novel where she talks about the nuns constantly interrupting their work each day to attend services in the church. But then realises that IS their work. I think I felt the same way about this book. I was waiting for the story arc to kick in amidst the quiet reverie of life at the retreat and memories of our narrator’s past. But it never did. Her contemplation – of the past and present IS the story.

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four-stars