It is entertaining for anyone familiar with the works it lovingly skewers (note the culinary metaphor) and it is strangely compelling even if, like me, you haven’t read Conrad for a long time. It is quietly witty and also serious. It manages to borrow something of the gravitas of Conrad’s novel and – like all good parody – it makes you want to return to the original for a fresh look.
The poetry manages to be both pithy and almost hysterically funny, not an easy mix to achieve, but that is how life works: the paradox of what we carry and what we experience in each moment. Whitlock captures this duality perfectly, taking a stand-up comedian’s incision to pretension and human foibles.
An Irish native, Ber moved to Sydney in 1995 and spent much of her early career working within the financial sector. Since then, she has pursued writing full-time and has thus far penned eight novels, that include Once Lost, Worlds Apartand Less Than Perfect. The Missing Pieces of Sophie McCarthymarks the first work to be published under the name B. M. Carroll. She drops by to talk about her latest book and lots more.
It is impressive the ability of Sommer to fragment the narrative when we encounter Sofia’s visits to the psychiatrist. We read about her participation in Milongas, asking relatives about her past, and about love and its many facets. All of these interspersed with poetic descriptions of place. Sydneysiders will recognise many areas of the Eastern suburbs in Sommer’s vivid imagery.
As dementia begins to rob an already private and absentminded man of his memories, Michael becomes set on reconstructing his father’s childhood from recordings, news articles, and his father’s own accounts, in a journey to understand what had crafted his father into the man he is, and how that has formed Michael himself.
The book is easy to follow, and is well-structured, moving smoothly from novel ideation through planning, character development, point of view, dialogue, plotting, conflict, dealing with tie, pace, setting and genre. Though the book is practically oriented, Skinner doesn’t dumb down the complexity of novel writing, or suggest, as many how-to books do, that it can be done quickly and painlessly.
I realize this book is a work of fiction, but it cuts deeply, and leaves the reader contemplating some of the horror that people suffered during Hitler’s reign. Though not the easiest book to read, I Truly Lament is compelling, and very well written. The book was one of three finalists chosen in the 2012 Leapfrog Press Fiction Contest out of 424 submissions, and it’s easy to see why.
The author of Reykjavik: A Novel talks about his book, the setting – both time and place, the composition, his characters and their transitions, and more.
There’s a definite sense that Miranda really wants to make everyone feel a little bit better about themselves, and though this book won’t be for everyone, it will appeal to young people in need of a hug. Each affirmation in fact feels a bit like a hug.
The Witches of St Petersburg’s Imogen Edwards-Jones talks about the making of her new novel, the real characters behind the book, her research, historical fiction in general, and lots more.