Archive for September, 2010

When All Around You Burns

September 16, 2010 - 11:18 am No Comments

Smoke In The Room

Author: Emily Maguire

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Three somewhat damaged people are thrown together in a low-rent inner-Sydney residential complex. Though an unlikely trio, their lives become entangled.

Katie, the landlady’s granddaughter, has a history of erratic behaviour bordering on the psychotic, initiating dangerous sexual adventures and being drunk and disorderly. She is on medication which she often refuses to take, for it is sex, rock ‘n’ roll, and self-mutilation which works for her at keeping the demons at bay.

Adam, a displaced American, is in shock, mourning for his young and now deceased, Australian-born wife. He is, at the start of the book, like Paul, the American, in Bertolucci’s film, “Last Tango in Paris”, so consumed by his own grief, that he can barely register the existence of anyone else. Katie, refusing to be ignored, however, persists in getting some sort of response from him. He becomes first her sexual conquest, and then, surprisingly, her friend, though he seems unaware of the fact that she actually becomes his salvation. (more…)

Gloriouser and Gloriouser

September 13, 2010 - 5:36 pm No Comments

(Reviews of Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar by DJ Connell and The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of his friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O’Hagan)

What a wonderful week has just passed! Reading Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar by DJ Connell was delightful enough and then another book arrived courtesy of Australia Post, with the most impossible-to-resist title: The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of his friend Marilyn Monroe. Of course, I had to immediately pick it up and start reading it. This book, by Andrew O’Hagan, fulfilled and then exceeded all expectations. I have to say, dear Reader, it is, without doubt, one of the funniest I have read in years. (more…)

Review – The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

September 8, 2010 - 5:28 pm No Comments

Author: Kate Summerscale

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Buy this book here

The murder at Road Hill House in 1860 terrified and mystified the British public because it was a particularly brutal crime against a three-year-old boy, the third son of a wealthy, middle-class family. The method of murder was of “the locked room” variety, which became a sub-genre of the crime novel beloved of Agatha Christie much later, and a favourite too, of the earlier crime novelists. In fact the modus operandi and the psychology of this murder inspired at least three major novels of the nineteenth century: Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone; Charles Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood; and Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw. (more…)

Review – Shakespeare’s Wife

September 1, 2010 - 3:19 pm No Comments

Author: Germaine Greer

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Buy this book here

In Shakespeare’s Wife, Germaine Greer tries to discover a truer sense of Mrs William Shakespeare; “truer” because all the details of this lady’s life, more than four centuries after the birth of the great man, will never be fully known. And also “truer” because many assumptions about Ann Hathaway, aka Ann Whateley, are so negative that they bring into question the Bard’s wisdom or even his sanity, in his choice of a life companion. (more…)