Reviews of Australian Books #70

Jonathan Yardley, of "The Washington Post" enjoys the new novel from Geraldine Brooks, People of the Book. Identifying its subject matter as being similar to such books as The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco, The Rule of Four by Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason, and even The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, Yardley states that "The good news is that this new novel by the author of March, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2006, is intelligent, thoughtful, gracefully written and original. Brooks has built upon her experience as a correspondent in Bosnia for the Wall Street Journal to construct a story around a book -- small, rare and very old -- and the people into whose hands it had fallen over five centuries, people who 'had known unbearable stress: pogrom, Inquisition, exile, genocide, war.'...Suffice it to say that it's a book that resides comfortably in a place we too often imagine to be a no-man's land between popular fiction and literature."

And dovegreyreader out of Devon in the UK agrees: "Geraldine Brooks has mixed truth with history and with mystery, there's violence and intrigue, a bit of torture, through which I had to close my eyes because I can't bear to read it, (fountain pens fine, torture not it would seem) and all wrapped up in the modern-day world of book restoration, fine-art forgery and an awful lot of parchment and ink made with some very dubious substances. The detail however is meticulous and I was confident that Geraldine Brooks had done a vast amount of homework without waving it under my nose and asking for an A*."

On the Australian "HorrorScope" weblog, Michael Tait reviews Fivefold by Nathan Burrage, and is quite impressed: "Some of novel resonates with an early Clive Barker feel; feints and charms are used; possession is a factor. Also, there are philosophical undertones on the nature of pain and pleasure ... and whether eternal ecstasy and agony are fundamentally one and the same...Above all, FIVEFOLD is just plain entertaining. With synaptic sparring, mental warring, and clandestine cabals -- FIVEFOLD displays an absolute impressive debut and a novel that could perhaps teach even veterans a thing or two about the game."

Damien, on the "Crime Down Under" weblog, commends Perfect Suspect by Vincent Varjavandi: "The Perfect Suspect begins as a tight psychological thriller that appears to be told along the usual lines where a killer will pick off his victims until our protagonist tracks him down. But this is no ordinary psychological thriller and it soon blossoms out into a much more complex thriller that becomes increasingly confrontational...[the novel] proves to be a compelling thriller with a hidden complexity that plays out to a resounding finale."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 10, 2008 1:39 PM.

2008 "The Age" Short Story Competition was the previous entry in this blog.

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