Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Women’s Pages, Debra Adelaide

9781743535981When I read Debra Adelaide’s novel, The Household Guide To Dying, I loved it so much that I emailed Adelaide to thank her for writing it. The Household Guide To Dying was a stellar novel in my mind it set Adelaide up to be one of the great Australian women’s voices of our era.

The Women’s Pages was strangely more ambitious than The Household Guide To Dying which deals with Delia Bennet’s foray into her own death. Bennet writes household guides to all sorts of things so when she discovers that she is indeed dying, she decides to write a guide to doing so. The book is so full that it’s hard to describe – I’ll settle with Nicola Walker’s description from the Sydney Morning Herald: “Bennet may have one foot in the grave but Debra Adelaide has created one of the most irrepressible and beguiling heroines to emerge in Australian fiction since Sybylla Melvyn made her appearance in My Brilliant Career.”

The Women’s Pages doesn’t have the same thematic weight of The Household Guide to Dying, but it makes up for this with the complexity of its structure which clearly heralds to readers that Adelaide is a writer of note. In this novel she weaves together a beautiful story with a stunning insight into a writer’s inability to escape the desire to tell a story. She combines these two elements through Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. I can hardly do the novel justice with this description. At times I wasn’t entirely certain that Adelaide had pulled off this massive feat, but overwhelmingly there was a greatness tugging at my reader’s senses and it was not difficult to drown in the lives of two fascinating protagonists who so clearly represented women at different times in Australian history.

There is no doubt that Debra Adelaide has a wonderful sensitivity when it comes to writing. There are emotions that hover beneath her words that are almost tangible and it is this that makes reading her work so pleasurable.

 

 

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The Widow, Fiona Barton

downloadI’m a huge Lisa Gardener fan and when I spotted this book, The Widow, on the Red Hot Reads shelf at the library, sporting Gardner’s seal of approval – “the ultimate psychological thriller” – I figured it was a good bet.

I wasn’t entirely disappointed. There were certainly captivating elements of this thriller. The protagonist, Jean Taylor, was mostly convincing and seemed complex enough. The plot was well structured and the supporting characters were interesting. But somehow, there was not enough friction in this book for me or perhaps it was too slow or predictable … I’m not entirely sure. I enjoyed reading it but it didn’t leave me quivering or wanting more.

Nine Days, Toni Jordan

20644317I was sure that I had read this book – and indeed, I have.  And it didn’t matter one bit. I loved it. Every part of it. Stark, beautiful, tender and such an immaculate glimpse into life in Australia both today and during the war.

I’m not generally a fan of Australian fiction, but Toni Jordan is the exception. She’s an author whose work never fails to impress and is always diverse and filled with literary surprises of the best kind.

I won’t review it again. I’ll just say that Toni Jordan is a star and I can’t wait to read her latest book – Our Tiny, Useless Hearts.