Weekend Round-Up 2007 #14

The Age

Janette Turner Hospital's new novel, Orpheus Lost, is the subject of the major fiction review by Peter Craven in the paper this week. And impressed he is with it: "It should not be an impossible dream that a contemporary literary novel can exhibit pace, a strong plot and a high degree of narrative excitement...Well, Janette Turner Hospital is writing fiction that is literary in quality and formal design and in the ambition it displays but will also keep you on the edge of your chair or reading past your bedtime." Which basically leads you to believe we're dealing with a literary thriller here, not a genre that is exactly deserted, but one that can always do with another decent entry. "Turner Hospital has a beautiful lightness of touch through the nightmare contortions of the plot she spins and twists like a rope of destiny...If the story is not quite as sure-footed as Grahame Greene in comparable territory, if it swerves farther from the articulation of thriller-like enthralments, it is nonetheless almost as satisfying as it is involving." The "almost" is a bit of a giveaway there I think: saying as much about Craven's literary tastes as it does about this novel. Still, he does find enough here to be going on with: "it should enthral every kind of reader; a book full of intelligence and drama and compassion that is also a captivating
page-turner - effortlessly sophisticated and proudly parochial at the same time."

Lorien Kaye considers that Rose Moxham might be putting a lot of trust in the readers of her new YA novel Teeth Marks, but comes to the conclusion that it is worth it. The novel's "greatest strength is its well-judged resolution,
floating the possibility of a new start, but in an unexpected direction."

The Australian

Nicholas Drayson's novel Love and the Platypus is racking up some good reviews lately but Jem Poster is not so sure. The reviewer is of the view that Drayson is very good at the certain parts and not so good at others: "This is Drayson's favoured territory; again and again we find him gravitating towards the natural world, captivating us with his finely delineated vignettes of animal life. The details are presented with clarity and precision...As a writer of fiction, Drayson seems considerably less assured. Often contrived and unconvincing, the novel's plot and dialogue function far too obviously as a frame on which to hang the impressive weight of zoological knowledge he has amassed through his reading and fieldwork."

Salley Vickers is worried that Paul Morgan's novel Turner's Paintbox is less a novel and more an emotional release. "I wondered if Morgan was writing it as an attempt at a redemptive confessional, if not of himself then of the corporate sins of modern manhood. If so, in the view of a fellow novelist, and a woman to boot, his talent deserves a better subject."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 1, 2007 10:24 PM.

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