A slightly quieter week on the cards, I think. No major announcements to look forward to, for instance. And if you’re in some parts of Australia, including Sydney where I am, COVID enforced lockdowns, seeing most of us staying home for the time-being.
Last week’s book reviews
Last week I reviewed three books. That set me off on a bit of a look around the inter-webs, to see what other reviewers have been saying the titles I wrote about.
The Lying Life of Adults, by Elena Ferrante
Fleur Morrison, writing for Readability:
Throughout the novel, there is a sense of latent violence, reflecting the volatility and unpredictability of young adulthood, as children become teens and enter the sometimes disappointing, deceptive world of adults.
Angela Gualtieri, writing for Drizzle:
The Lying Life of Adults infuses the journey from adolescence to adulthood with equal parts emotional impact, discovery of one’s self, and significant life lessons. Ferrante’s relatability to her audience transcends the page, causing her readers to reflect on the milestones of their own lives with a new gaze. Through Giovanna, we encounter life’s saddest fact: someday, we have to grow up.
The Weekend, by Charlotte Wood
By now, you may be thinking that this a grim book, but while its intent is serious, Wood’s touch is light, using some humour – sometimes generous, sometimes satirical or ironic – in the telling. This humour – as in the scene describing Adele, in the park, having just peed, running into a theatre producer – keeps these women real and relatable, and the tone edging to hopeful.
Shelleyrae at Book’d out:
Told with wit, tenderness and brutal honesty, The Weekend explores the mundane to expose the extraordinary.
How Much of These Hills is Gold, by C Pam Zhang
Sylvia Bozym, writing for Roaring Stories:
Zhang’s writing has the graceful weight of poetry and the litheness of a wild creature. Her re-rendering of the mythologised Wild West is atmospheric and revolutionary; she re-inscribes the cowboy-archetype’s stranglehold on history with nuance in terms of race, gender and identity.
Electra, writing for Book Breath:
How Much of These Hills Is Gold smoothly sweeps you along its otherwise quite hard narrative. Cultures clash and merge as two girls claw their way to some sense of identity and home. It’s a bittersweet novel brimming with heart and truth.
And to conclude…
Congratulations to Amanda Lohrey, winner of the 2021 Miles Franklin Literary Award, with her 2020 novel The Labyrinth. In my opinion though all nominees for the Miles Franklin, and other book prizes, are winners. Thanks to you all for inspiring my reading choices.
So with the 2021 Miles Franklin behind us, let’s look to the future. Are you a writer who aspires to win the coveted gong? Pallavi Singhal, writing for the Sydney Morning Heralds outlines seven steps for success, though some present more problems than others: