The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. Wow! What a gruelling read in some parts – details of the Aussie POWs on the Thai/Burma Railway during WWII. Great writing by Flanagan, and clever, thought-provoking weaving and juxtaposition of love stories across eras and cultures. Human frailties are dealt with respectfully, and Flanagan’s portrayal of the Japanese soldiers provides great background and analysis into what we perhaps see as brutal barbarism. Excellent history, and yet not for the faint-hearted. Perhaps more of a blokes’ book!
The Universe versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence. Well another of those outstanding and astounding debut novels…loved every page of it, and am predicting it may become a Book Club fave this year. Alex is a strange and wondrous young man, and his encounter with a seemingly cantankerous American man is life-changing for him. This novel treats a delicate subject (and sorry, I don’t want to reveal what it is!) with just the right touch: tender and not soppy; brave and frank. Great characters, quirky and real. Up there with The Rosie Project for me.
Although our bookclub allows us to share favourite reads, some of us also have e-readers (wonderful way to pack massive quantities of books for travelling) and we have been lamenting the inability to share that e-readers poses to us.
So I wanted to describe 2 recent reads from Virago Modern Classics that I had loaded onto my ipad. Both are by Barbara Comyns and quite fascinating and poignant. One is called ‘Sisters by a River’ and the other (my favourite) is called ‘Our Spoons Came from Woolworths’. Barbara Comyns drew from her own life to write, her style is chatty and fast flowing, lots of phrases such as ‘we went to… and then we did’. I seem to recall being taught in school NOT to write in that very descriptive seemingly passive manner. Yet it is a fast paced, almost breathless romp and quite deceiving as the story propels us through life in a marriage not supported by his family and where the protagonist has to work to support her ‘genius artist husband’ (who should never have to waste his talents in menial paid work’ and slowly they fall into deep poverty.
Well worth a read, even though it is an ebook (maybe you will be able to find this one in a second hand bookshop) Enjoy another forgotten fascinating author. Sally
Our savoury treat this bookclub looks so yummy that I wanted to put it straight up on our blog…Marie has promised to post the recipe.
Today we welcomed RY to our bookclub and as usual had a feast of food followed by a feast of books. Great to see some new authors that we can now experience.