Were you a fan of SJ Watson’s Before I Go To Sleep last year? If you were then you might want to try Elizabeth Haynes, Into the Darkest Corner.
I recently stumbled on to this website called “Bookshots with Caroline Baum” where Australian journalist, broadcaster, and presenter Caroline Baum features her interviews with Australian authors. The interview with Denise Leith on her new book, What Remains caught my attention as I had just finished the book and it was very interesting to hear the author’s thoughts.
I found What Remains very confronting but just couldn’t put it down. The story starts in 1991 when we meet new journalist, Kate Price who has been sent by her newspaper to cover human interest stories of the people of Ridjha during the Gulf War. In order to get out to see the real war she enlists the help of experienced freelance photographers Pete and John and ends up covering the bombing of the infamous Highway of Death.
As the years pass the three become friends, meeting up in the war zones, exchanging news and sharing experiences. The reader is taken to Bosnia, Rwanda, Chechnya, and Baghdad, and immersed not only in the futility of war but the human side that tells the story of the people living through it including the effect that covering each war has on the three friends – normalising the violent world in which they live most of their lives and making the homes that they go back to hard to call home. The attraction between Pete and Kate grows during the book but each time falters in the face of the misery around them.
Denise mentions in the “Bookshots” interview, that in a fictionalised account, the author can make us feel the emotions of war as individual incidents are drawn out rather than concentrating on the political aspects which the broad coverage provided by newspapers focusses on. I was certainly affected by the writing and was astonished to realise just how immune I had become to the reporting of conflicts when there seemed to be a different one in the paper every day. This book raised questions in my mind about the way I emotionally dealt with war, and how complacent I feel living here in Australia.
Have you read The Secret River by Kate Grenville? If you have you might like to try Kate’s new novel, Sarah Thornhill, which takes us back to early Australia, the Hawkesbury River and the now prosperous Thornhill family. The story is told from perspective of William Thornhill’s youngest daughter, Sarah whose life is so different from that of her convict-turned-landowner father.
Her stepmother calls her wilful, but handsome Jack Langland loves her and she loves him. “Me and Jack, she thinks, what could go wrong?” But there is a secret in Sarah’s family, a piece of the past kept hidden from the world and from her. A secret Jack can’t live with. A secret that changes everything, for both of them.
As the book jacket says, Sarah Thornhill is about love lost and found, tangled histoires and how it matters to keep stories alive.
Below is a video of Kate reading from the novel:
For those who have been waiting for the paperback edition of Ken Follet’s book Fall of Giants, copies are in store now.
A huge novel that follows five families through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for votes for women.
It is 1911. The Coronation Day of King George V. The Williams, a Welsh coal-mining family, is linked by romance and enmity to the Fitzherberts, aristocratic coal-mine owners. Lady Maud Fitzherbert falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German Embassy in London. Their destiny is entangled with that of an ambitious young aide to U.S. President Woodrow Wilson and to two orphaned Russian brothers, whose plans to emigrate to America fall foul of war, conscription and revolution.
In a plot of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty.
I have had a number of customers who have expressed interest in attending a book club run by the store so I hope those interested can make the one planned for March.
The details are:
Where: Ulysses Bookstore, Sandringham
When: Thursday, 17 March 2011
Time: 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.
There will be a maximum of 12, with myself as moderator.
Tickets will be $5 or free with purchase of the book (keep your receipt as proof of purchase in case you decide to come at a later date).
Our first book to discuss will be:
One Hundred Foot Journey
Richard C. Morais, Allen & Unwin, $27.99
A quirky tale about an Indian family escaping from the violence at home, ultimately settle in France. There they set up a Indian restaurant with all the colour and noise that comes with it, across the road from the traditional French restaurant complete with Michellin stars. There are lots of references to food, restaurant kitchens, and interesting characters.
Here’s the synopsis from the publisher:
Abbas Haji is the proud owner of a modest family restaurant in Mumbai. But when tragedy strikes, Abbas propels his boisterous family into a picaresque journey across Europe, finally settling in the remote French village of Lumiere, where he establishes an Indian restaurant, Maison Mumbai.
Much to the horror of their neighbour, a famous chef named Madame Mallory, the Indian establishment opposite her own begins to garner a following. Little does she know that the young Hassan, son of Abbas, has discovered French cuisine and has vowed to become a great French chef. Hassan is a natural whose talents far outweigh Mme. Mallory, but the tough old Frenchwoman will not brook defeat.
Thus ensues an entertaining culinary war pitting Hassan’s Mumbai-toughened father against the imperious Mme. Mallory, leading the young Hassan to greatness and his true destiny.
This vivid, hilarious and charming novel – about how just a small distance of a hundred feet can represent the gulf between different cultures, different people, their tastes and their destinies – is simply bursting with eccentric characters, delicious flavours and high emotion.
You can read the reading notes for the book by following this link. and you can listen to an interview with the author who appeared on the Radio National programme, The Book Show” recently by clicking here.