Weekend Round-Up #15 Part 2

At the height of his corporate career, Robert Holmes a Court was one of Australia's richest men, hobnobbing with politicians of all persuasions and living the high life during the heady days of the 1980s. His brother, Simon Holmes a Court, on the other hand lived a lonely and rather tragic life as a game warden in Botswana. The journalist Geoff Elliott has now written Simon's story in The Other brother which is reviewed in this weekend's "Australian" by Mark McGinness. The reviewer is generally impressed by the book, though not by the author's introduction of himself into the account in the last third. If it's handled well I don't see the problem with this - Simon died on the edge of the Tsitsikamma forest in southern Africa at the age of 37, which doesn't leave a lot of material to work with. Still McGinness does conclude that: "Elliott has brought a relaxed and rather blokey style to The Other Brother, but he has also confirmed his perserverance and an admirable quest for accuracy. This is an intriguing story of an extraordinary, enigmatic man."

Given the volume of new novels coming onto the bookshelves each week it is no surprise when authors choose rather peculiar titles for their works, if only to make them stand out from the ruck. Gregory Day's new novel The Patron Saint of Eels is given the once-over by Liam Davison who is quite impressed with the work: "In [this] wonderful first novel, the enigma of the eel becomes the central metaphor for the charming contemporary fable about migration and belonging, and mortality and belief." Which, on the face of it, seems to stretch the bonds of credibility somewhat. But Davison is a major novelist himself so he knows where a reader might be a little dubious: "In another writer's hands, this quasi-religious fable with its veiled social and environmental agenda might have tested the credulity and goodwill of its readers. Day, though, understands the power of the story and the way local mythology and folklore invests a place with its own magic."

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews the new novel The Raft by Alan Mills, and is impressed with the action and execution, if not the literary worth: "High art The Raft ain't. But it would make a great movie". She also book as "a kind of Tobsha Learner for blokes." I had to look her up as well.

In this weekend's "Sydney Morning Herald", Michelle Griffin meets Geraldine Brooks, as the author is about to start an Australian book tour in support of her new novel March. And Harriet Veitch reviews Farewell my Ovaries by Wendy Harmer.

In "The Courier-Mail" from Queensland, Jane Fynes-Clinton is impressed with two Australian novels for younger readers: The Lace Maker's daughter by Gary Crew, and Witchsong by Kim Wilkins.

Dan Hart of Brisbane has self-published the story of his life culled from over 70 years of diary entries. If nothing else it shows a degree of dedication most of us would envy.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 12, 2005 10:30 AM.

Weekend Round-Up #15 Part 1 was the previous entry in this blog.

Interviews with Australian Speculative Fiction Writers is the next entry in this blog.

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