Personal Effects is the story of a couple on the move –repeatedly changing country in search of work, exiled and migratory, homeless yet rooted through their sense of family; of consistency in their relationship. Beyond that the story explores what we lose and what we gain, throughout any ordinary life. It explores the shifting and cyclical perceptions of time passing, and it examines, in a deep, poetic way, the way we make meaning out of our lives.
All of the characters in this book are needy in one way or another, even those, like Keely’s mum Doris, who appear to be self-contained. These needs, some of which are complex and subtle, form a subtext that operates as a perfect contrast to the thriller-like action that escalates as the story progresses. The result is a beautiful, deep and engaging story that illuminates human frailty, teases out the nature of risk and compassion, and goes very deep into the heart of love, loss, and personal responsibility.
Though Street to Street often presents a bleak view, with university bureaucrats stifling creativity, talent thwarted and wasted, and beauty and love destroyed through lack of focus, it does seem to me to end on a very positive, and deeply tender note. The real richness of this novel begins and ends with language and the power that attentiveness to it has to overcome the foibles and day-to-day emptiness that seems to take hold of the two protagonists in this book.
Elemental is an exquisite novel. Every word of it is tightly crafted and pregnant with possibility. It is self-referential and post-modern in the way it undermines time, creating a genetic and emotional link between characters in multiple times and places.
The novel’s strength is the very personal journey the reader takes alongside Amy as she weighs up conventional First World medical procedures with the almost Cavewoman-style natural homebirthing. It is a suspenseful ride with her as she battles conventions, the expectations of others as well as a category three tropical cyclone to boot.
The Book reads very quickly. This is not just because it’s only 154 pages of reasonably spaced text, but also because Bonnie’s voice drives the story along as we try to understand, from her perspective, the multiple relationships that surround her…
Embassytown may start like a fun, inventive good novel, but by the time you reach the 300th or so page, it become clear that this is indeed a great novel. Rich with nuance, meaning, and power that never comprises the overall fictive dream, or even the pure fun of its fictional world, this is a novel to read, re-read, and then re-read again.
China does a terrifically moving job of making the two detectives distrust then come to admire each other, in their own way. Brilliant. Generally, an author has his work cut out to describe one unique city so that the reader believes they are there, but here two cities are created in the same spot. Excellent and original.
These are a splendid pair of books from a gifted writer who turns his hand to every possibility with the liveliness of fearless and abundant talent. For readers ready to expand their horizons, these are essential additions to their collections.…
Minutely detailed, beautifully paced, and often wryly fun, each of the stories in The Lemon Table can be read on its own. Together however, the book becomes a rich and varied exploration through the pain, frustration, and vanities of aging,…