March 1, 2012

And the reading continues

This publishing business does chew up the hours, but reading has been going on.

August by Bernard Beckett is a discussion about free will in a novel. Two people in some undisclosed future time are having this conversation while stuck upside down in a crashed vehicle. Flashbacks elucidate the discussion. It appealed to the part of me that likes any discussion of ideas, although the story was somewhat overwhelmed by the weight of the ideas. The need of two of the characters—in-the-flashbacks to outdo each other was interesting, too.

Emma Donohue’s Room was compelling. Hood, (1995) an earlier novel, a coming out story, not so much. On the evidence of the newer novel being more succesful, for me, than the earlier one, I’ll certainly read her next.

Stella Duffy’s Mouths of Babes (2005) is a good read about lesbian detective Saz, her partner and their baby and a promise that is inevitably broken. The most interesting aspect of the book for me is how the person to whom the promise is made reacts when it is broken. (To say more would ruin the plot.)

Other books I have read I will be writing about in other places, to which I’ll refer in a later blog entry.

With Writers and Readers Week in Wellington on the horizon I am looking forward to discovering a new author or two, as well as hearing from some favourites like Kate Grenville.


  1. oh, i want to comment on one of these books you mention: i found hood really compelling: powerful in the same way as room & much more of a good read than the historical stuff like slammerkin [which wasn't "bad", i just kept waiting for it to really get going, & it just didn't]

    one of the things i *really* liked about hood was that the narrator wasn't the nicer/more attractive one of the couple

    [& part of the book's power, i think, that you could tell that her public presentation was different from how she saw herself, not an unreliable narrator as such, more that how she saw herself, her girlfriend & the world was apparently quite different from how her girlfriend & others saw her - kind of parallel observations]

    the girlfriend was the more "attractive" character, as seen by our narrator, apparently by herself, & i'm thinking also by readers - certainly i thought she was a more sympathetic character - although that changes as you work your way through the book

    1. Yeah, good point, that about the narrator not being the "nicest" character.