Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category
Australian author Garry Disher has a solid reputation for his Inspector Challis police procedurals, but on Disherâ€™s other creative side of the law, thereâ€™s also the Wyatt series. Wyatt, a methodical, cool and collected anti-hero is a Melbourne crook, and Disherâ€™s Wyatt series is frequently considered by crime aficionados as an Aussie counterpart to Robert Parkerâ€™s Stark series. Wyatt, a heist novel, is the seventh book in the series and it appears after a 13-year-break.
Itâ€™s a tough world thatâ€™s inhabited by Gin Boyle Toad â€“ an albino, a classical pianist, an unloved woman whose life has been reduced to freak show status with the indelicate stares, the gossip, the pointing. Although she was raised in Perthâ€™s wealthy environs and showed early and sustained musical talent, she is abused and ultimately institutionalized by her cruel and loathsome stepfather.
Her unlikely rescuer is Agrippas Toad, a dwarfish and crudely mannered farmer who happens to hear her play piano and immediately marries her. By doing so, he attempts to stave off the rumors about behavior that is deemed aberrant in his small-minded farm community. It is the â€śstrangenessâ€ť of these two that binds them together. Gin Boyle reflects, â€śIt wasnâ€™t happiness. It wasnâ€™t love. But it had been tolerable, so long as there was nothing else.â€ť
In SUGAR MOTHER, middle-aged Australian OB/GYN Cecilia Page leaves for a year-long fellowship abroad. Her husband, English professor Edwin decides not to accompany her in spite of the fact that she â€śasked repeatedlyâ€ť that he join her. This is not the first occasion of separation; Cecilia enjoys travel and hotel rooms, but Edwin does not. He prefers his â€śpleasantly shabbyâ€ť home, along with his routine and no expectation of surprises. While Edwin and Cecilia, a childless couple, appear to be the epitome of conservatism, even they have their mad moments.
Nothing prepared me for Elizabeth Jolleyâ€™s novel FOXYBABY. What was I expecting? Well a gentle novel, a comedy of manners, perhaps? Instead FOXYBABY is packed with quirky characters whose attendance at a private summer course unleashes a range of odd behaviours.
Every now and then, a novel comes along that is addicting. Nothing else gets done. Dinner gets burned, if it is even made, phones aren’t answered, and appointments are canceled. This is one of those novels. It is seductive, darkly sexual, haunting, and even frightening. You start waiting for the penny to drop, as the pages keep turning and the clues keep mounting. This is one very hypnotic novel.
October 29, 2010
Â· Judi Clark Â· No Comments
Tags: Early Adulthood, Friendship Â· Posted in: 2010 Favorites, Australia, Character Driven, Contemporary, Debut Novel, Literary, New York City, Noir, Reading Guide
It is important to set the parameters, or the standards, of a Young Adult novel right up front when reviewing one in a public forum. The Young Adult novel is a genre that allows authors to explore edgy content within the typical bathos of teen self-consciousness. If a novel is to be successful in this market, it must ambitiously try to underscore topics such as murder, sickness, abuse, heroin addiction, suicide, sexuality â€“ pretty much any topic with an “edge” â€“ and have a central character that is either surrounded by the subject, or is going to potentially be lost to the subject. Take Romeo & Juliet, minus out the words of William Shakespeare, put it in first person narrative form â€“ letâ€™s let Romeo be the narrator â€“ and you will be soundly situated in a Young Adult novel.