Oyster – repost of Review

OysterOyster by Janette Turner Hospital

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were times when I thought, “I can’t continue”. Oyster is best taken in small doses. Janet Turner Hospital is a master of her craft. She draws you in and shakes you up. The horror of some scenes – and they are ‘scenes’ – hurt me physically.
Oyster is set in outback Queensland, in the throes of drought. Outer Maroo, an off the map settlement in an off the map location, and the strangest population of any settlement anywhere.
If I put on my academic’s hat, I’d say this was postmodernism at it’s peak, but that’s a personal opinion.
Strangely, since I read the book, I keep coming across references to Quilpie (which does exist) and other ‘real’ places in Outback Queensland that are mentioned in the book.
If you’re up for the challenge, I encourage you to read this book!

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Oyster – repost of Review

The Lovely Bones – Review

The Lovely BonesThe Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At first The Lovely Bones seemed too confronting for me but I persevered. The story of Susie Salmon keeps reflecting in my mind. The awful death of this child echoes within her own family, the community and in the society. As the reader I also longed for revenge on her murderer.

The Lovely Bones is described as being “luminous and astonishing … it finds light in dark places …”

I found it so, so sad. The story will stay with me for a long time.

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The Lovely Bones – Review

Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler

Ghost EmpireGhost Empire by Richard Fidler

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ghost Empire ranks among the best books I’ve read this year. Richard Fidler brings to life the history of the Byzantium Empire. Many aspects of this history are mind-boggling and give the reader a deeper understanding of the present situation in Syria, Turkey, and the whole Middle East. Richard Fidler shows that, really, there is nothing new in the dreadful war situation there. The cruelty, the massacres, the subjugation of people were, it seems, always happening. Starting with Constantine who renamed Byzantium, Constantinople in his own honour in the year 330, right through to the sacking of Constantinople by the Ottoman Emperor, Mehmed, in 1453, thus bringing about the end of the Roman empire.

I originally heard about this book when Richard Fidler was interviewed (by Gillan O’Shaugnessy) on the local radio station here in Western Australia (ABC720). He explained how he and his son Joe, travelled first to Rome and then to Istanbul to follow the traces of the Byzantine Empire. How Fidler weaves the story of his travels with the history is masterful. Richard Fidler is, himself, an interviewer of note and there are many listeners who seldom miss his daily interview.

I recommend this book to anyone who may have even the slightest interest in the present situation and the conflict that affects nearly all of us one way or another.

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Ghost Empire by Richard Fidler

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a delightful story. Robin Hobb calls it, “An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale.”
Terry Brooks calls it, “Haunting and lyrical.”
I call it a wonderful story. If you enjoy fantasy, if you enjoy Robin Hobb, I thoroughly recommend it. the blurb says the The Bear and the Nightingale is perfect for readers of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Naomi Novik’s Uprooted (which I have still to read) and Neil Gaiman.
The tale is a retelling of old Russian fairy tales – mainly the one called Frost. I first read these stories when I was a young child. The story is in Arthur Ransome’s lovely book Old Peter’s Russian Tales. that sits on my desk as I write this review.
The hero is a young woman and it is her growing up and finding her strength in the face of an enormously patriarchal society.
Katherine Arden’s telling of the tale is enchanting and I found it hard to put down, although I knew the ending.

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Other Side of You The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

The Other Side of You

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Other Side of You
Salley Vickers is an author who seldom fails to deliver. The Other Side of You is a lovely, lyrical book. As with most of Vicker’s books, it is neither quick nor easy to read but oh, so satisfying. Vickers crafts the story eloquently. I was moved to tears by the way she captures the honesty and love of the main characters. I imagine that writing about a psychiatrist is not easy, especially one as conflicted as David McBride. His relationship with Elizabeth Cruikshank and the other clients in the hospital, help him explore how love and art can penetrate the complexities of the human psyche.

Michael Dirda of the Washington Post says, “Vickers is a novelist in the great English tradition of moral seriousness. Her characters suffer, they struggle to be true to both themselves and the promptings of the human heart.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this articulate, well written book. I recommend it to anyone who is stuck reading Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, which need some relief – an intermission – between books.

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The Other Side of You The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers

Oyster, by Janet Turner Hospital. Read it at your peril

OysterOyster by Janette Turner Hospital
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There were times when I thought, “I can’t continue”. Oyster is best taken in small doses. Janet Turner Hospital is a master of her craft. She draws you in and shakes you up. The horror of some scenes – and they are ‘scenes’ – hurt me physically.
Oyster is set in outback Queensland, in the throes of drought. Outer Maroo, an off the map settlement in an off the map location, and the strangest population of any settlement anywhere.
If I put on my academic’s hat, I’d say this was postmodernism at it’s peak, but that’s a personal opinion.
Strangely, since I read the book, I keep coming across references to Quilpie (which does exist) and other ‘real’ places in Outback Queensland that are mentioned in the book.
If you’re up for the challenge, I encourage you to read this book!

View all my reviews

Oyster, by Janet Turner Hospital. Read it at your peril