Reviews of Australian Books #73

Carrie Laben looks at Black Sheep by Ben Peek and, while she has some early feelings of disquiet about a few aspects of the book, finds that "the book shines. Peek takes the standard dystopian furniture, all the ubiquitous cameras and brainwashed grunts and creepy identical houses and small bands of idealistic rebels and the like, and at first he seems to be going down the standard dystopian paths with it. But then he takes several unexpected turns - first into Dick-esque paranoia, and then into a series of confrontations with the fact that the solution to our hero's dilemma isn't as simple as raging against the machine. In fact, there may be no solution at all."

Johanna, on the "Green Gourmet Giraffe" weblog, is impressed with Kerry Greenwood's Heavenly Pleasures, part of the author's Corinna Chapman series of novels. "I love a novel that lingers lovingly over food and then gives you the recipes at the end. But I want to share with you my favourite lines from the book. Corinna spends a lot of time thinking and talking about chocolates and muses, 'How had a paste made of crushed cocoa-beans become so important? How had a bitter bean come to mean comfort, reconciliation and kindness?'...It does make you wonder how something so bitter has come to represent such sweet decadence in our lives, something that tastes so good that we don't demand nutritional benefits from it." It's a different approach, that's for sure.

In "The Guardian", Julia Eccleshare has a brief review of Shaun Tan's The Arrival (third item down): "Wordlessly, through pages of beautifully crafted illustrations, Shaun Tan conveys the universal experiences of all those who leave their homes either by choice or from necessity. Wordlessly, through sepia images designed to look like an old photo album, the sometimes challenging, sometimes heart-warming experiences of all new arrivals are captured. The pain of separation, the barriers of language, the driving optimism, the resigned tolerance to setbacks and the endless hope of success are all shown in Tan's carefully observed and finely drawn narrative illustrations."

Michael Robotham is the author of the novels Lost, Suspect and The Night Ferry, and now has a new novel, Shatter, coming out. James Cooper, of the "inthenews" website, gets in an early review, but is quite disappointed with the main plot, yet captivated by the major sub-plot: "The central character is amicable but uninspiring and the killer is something of an inhuman caricature with the flimsiest of motivations...Yet for some reason, the book is compelling and it took me to about page 234 to realise what was keeping me reading. Then it became obvious that the sub plot, which involves the relationship between Jo and his wife, was really rather interesting."

Briefly noted: Review of Cate Kennedy's Dark Roots: "At her best, the English-born Kennedy allows us to peak into one side of an unraveling relationship - a disintegrating marriage, a deflowered lesbian affair, a May-December romance, and a refugee woman thrust into and out of motherhood."

Review of Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling by D.M. Cornish: "Maddeningly, Cornish can really write, and his story gets off to an engaging start when not tripping over these idiotic extras." By extras the reviewer means maps and appendices. Quite ignorable I would have thought.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 12, 2008 10:16 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #101 - Fair Girls and Gray Horses by Will H. Ogilvie was the previous entry in this blog.

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