Sonya Hartnett Watch #1

Reviews of Butterfly

Sophie Masson in "The Australian":

The first novel of Sonya Hartnett's that I read was the haunting Wilful Blue (1994). Hartnett's lush yet fresh prose, spiced with gothic, her novel's combination of intense observation, sensual detail, pervasive melancholy, sensational events and characters with unusual, fin-de-race names, had for me more the feel of, say, American southern literature, or the work of writers such as Wilkie Collins, than what we were accustomed to in Australian literature... ...Hartnett's interest is in the way families work -- especially unhappy ones, of course, following Tolstoy's dictum -- and most especially in sibling relationships, whether it's the twisted sibling relations of Sleeping Dogs or Princes, or the more positive ones of Butterfly. The way in which family relations, especially between siblings, can alleviate or worsen the loneliness of the individual is important in most of her books, but especially so in this one.
Owen Richardson in "The Age": "When Sonya Hartnett published Landscape with Animals under a pseudonym, it was for fear this novel might end up falling into the hands of her younger audience: it was definitely not a book for kids. This one isn't either but it's not R-rated, though illicit love is here, and teenage dread and cruelty, and the kinds of ghosts haunting the suburbs that perhaps can only be seen by adolescents, just as dogs can pick vampires...While Hartnett doesn't overcook the ordinary miseries of childhood, nor does she lacquer them and protect us with nostalgic humour, and even if you had nicer friends when you were 13, you'll squirm in recognition."

Kristy on the "Books in Print" weblog: "Sonya Hartnett's novels are read by adults and young adults alike, and her first novel since being awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (March 2008) will no doubt appeal to an audience well beyond the age of the protagonist...Butterfly is beautifully written and cleverly expresses the trials of early adolescence..".

Bookman Beattie on "Beattie's Book Blog": "Hartnett is a demanding author, she leaves much to the reader's interpretation; that is one of her hallmarks. So another impressive work of literary fiction from her but not one that worked for me."

Reviews of The Ghost's Child

Linda Newberry in "The Guardian": "It's a story that seems bigger than its generously spaced 192 pages, and the stylised illustrations by Jon McNaught -- waders silhouetted on a shore, dolphins thronging in a yacht's wake, a cloud of butterflies -- add to the sense of travelling through a world both familiar and strange."
Celia Keenan in the Irish "Independent": the book "is a poetic and beautifully written story in which an old woman is visited by a ghost child on the opening pages. Love and loss are both sensitively evoked against the backdrop of inevitable death."
Mrs. D. on the "Daniel Boone Regional Libray" weblog: "Such a lovely little book! Mrs. D. is so grateful that every once in awhile a fine writer will attempt to make us think about important things and give us a chance to learn some wisdom rather than merely entertaining us!"
Allison on the "Thumbs Up" weblog: "In the end I don't think this is thumbs up material. For such a short book it is still slow and I don't see it as having wide teen appeal."

Reviews of The Silver Donkey

Angela Youngman on the "Monsters and Critics" website: "Beautifully written with simple shadowy illustrations; this is a book to treasure. It is imaginative, and thoughtful. War is not shown as glorious -- it is shown as sad and useless. You can really feel the tension, the way in which the children strive to understand and help."

Reviews of Surrender

Lisa May on the "Look at that Book" weblog: "Hands down, Surrender is a fantastic book...I wouldn't recommend it for younger readers, though.. the story is bleak and heartbreaking."
quippe on "LiveJournal": "Despite some well executed tense moments, this book is overwritten in a prose that's sometimes a rich shade of indigo. Lacking the action and pace to be the thriller that it advertises itself as, the twist ending so cliche that I almost threw the book at the wall on reading it."


Jo Case on "".
Christopher Bantick in "The Courier Mail".
Margaret Throsby on "Life is Beautiful", ABC Classic FM.

Hartnett will be appearing at the 2009 Perth Writers' Festival.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 11, 2009 9:49 AM.

Peter Porter Interview was the previous entry in this blog.

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