The Shadows of Suburbia are Long

THE LIVES OF WOMEN
Christine Dwyer Hickey
Allen and Unwin/Atlantic Books, RRP $27.99
May 2015

the lives of womenSome books have language that submerges the reader into their world from the first sentence. The Lives of Women by Christine Dwyer Hickey was one such book for me. One moment I was cracking open the cover for the first time wondering what was to come, the next I was ensnared in the world of our narrator Elaine.

As an adult Elaine has returned to care for her invalid father in her childhood home, a place where her teenage life remains a ghostly overlay. The landscape of family and the family home are clearly spaces which Elaine has been detached from—both emotionally and physically—for many years and it is time to unravel the cause of this detachment. The adult Elaine’s narrative is interspersed with snippets of her younger life as a teenager coming of age in a suburban estate during the 1970s and her life as an adult in New York and Paris. The different threads of Elaine’s life slowly reveal the tragedy which occurred during her last summer living with her parents. Continue reading

Never Judge a Book by its Cover, Literal vs Philosophical Applications

A YEAR OF MARVELLOUS WAYS
Sarah Winman
Hachette Australia/Tinder Press, RRP $29.99
July 2015

Winman

 

Never judge a book by its cover.

Ok, that is both a useful and true statement in many ways but, to be perfectly frank, I love an appealing book cover and I really don’t care if that makes me seem shallow. Many a time I have run my eye over a shelf, or table, or pile of books, and it has come to rest on a particularly interesting book cover—be it the colour, the font, or the image—and this has been the introduction to another joyful reading adventure. And this visual shallowness is how I came to get my hands on a copy of Sarah Winman’s new novel, A Year of Marvellous Ways. The blue page-ends, and then the cover image caught my eye, and that was that. Continue reading

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