Kate Grenville Watch #6

Reviews of The Lieutenant

Bill Marx in the "LA Times": "The Lieutenant compels as a historical novel exploring the sins of Australia's colonial past, an admirable testament to the necessity that the West learn to appreciate rather than condemn the Other. But Grenville's most thrilling achievement is to filter that lesson in social acceptance through the computational consciousness of a man whose head is in the stars."

Corrina Lothar in "The Washington Post": "At the heart of The Lieutenant lies the conflict that has long troubled modern man, a conflict given voice at Nuremberg: What is a soldier's obligation to disobey an order when it is against the law of humanity. Therein lies true tragedy."

Alison McCulloch in "The New York Times": "The Lieutenant is less a story of colonial struggle and encounter than The Secret River, and more the richly imagined portrait of a deeply introspective, and quite remarkable, man."

Teddy Rose on the So Many Precious Books, So Little Time weblog: "I loved Kate Grenville's The Secret River ... and was highly anticipating her next book. While I quite enjoyed it, I didn't love it like The Secret River. It took a long time for me to warm up to the character of Daniel Rooke . Once he started his relationship with the natives, I did warm up to him and loved reading about his special friendship with Tagaran. The problem was that it took well over 100 pages to lead up to this and it didn't last very long. I would have like to explore the relationship further."

The Synchronised Chaos weblog: "Scientific field observations as literary narrative hark back to centuries ago, to the days of the Origin of Species and to Captain Cook's descriptive logs. An educated person could be a writer, scientist, sailor, and humanist with opinions on a variety of topics, and everything would come through in his or her diary. Grenville's The Lieutenant draws upon and builds on that tradition, with historical and technical information enriching her distinctive, human characters' journey towards intercultural understanding."

Daisy's Book Journal weblog: "This was such a good book. It was based on real events (which are explained in the author's note at the end), but remains a work of fiction. I loved it from the very beginning. The story was accessible, interesting, heart-warming and tender. I was particularly fond of Rooke's work in astronomy and linguistics. His passion for these subjects were so thrilling, it was hard for me not to get caught up in it, too. When I got close to the end of the book, I had to put it down for and leave it for a few days. I generally have to do that when a book gets too emotional. No use me being a basket case for the rest of the day or not being able to sleep. Also, I really didn't want this book to end, so the little break prolonged it for me."

A number of reviews by readers are included on the BookBrowse website.

Grenville penned an author's note at the end of The Lieutenant.  The Meet at the Gate website has reprinted it.

Review of The Idea of Perfection

Bonnie on The Orange Prize Project: "Three times married Harley Savage is a master quilter and has a 'dangerous streak.' Douglas Cheeseman is a gawky engineer who's former wife has described him as a 'bridge bore.' They both arrive in Kararakook, NSW, she to help set up a pioneer heritage museum and he to direct the tearing down of the old bridge that has been deemed unsafe. Their developing relationship is explored in Kate Grenville's 2001 Orange Prize winning novel and within its' 400 pages lies a gem of a story.The beauty of this book is the detailed development of these two quirky characters, both so unsure of, and reticient to share too much of, themselves. Grenville masterfully, brings them together, and because of her attention to detail, you find yourself cheering them on and hoping that the author doesn't disappoint in the end. She doesn't."

Reviews of Dark Places

Blakkat Ruminations weblog: "It's reading a book like 'Dark Places' that really brings home to me the power of fiction and its ability to illuminate lives, past and present, that non-fiction or bare historical facts cannot hope to plummet the depth of. 'Love in the time of Cholera' resonated with me in the same way. The only similarity between the two is that they expose and reflect on male arrogance in the face of rampant (apparently) female desire around the turn of the last century, but it's probably more to do the with brutal honesty of the central character, the attention to detail and the authenticity of characters and setting that support the narrative that brings me to compare the two books in the first place."

Angela Meyer on the LiteraryMinded weblog: "The novel is told confrontingly and effectively in first person - and I have to say - I love a challenging narrator who both repels me and draws me in. On the whole I was fascinated by the way Singer saw the world around him. Grenville is a very accessible writer, at times a little too close to lacking subtlety. I found this too when I read The Secret River, but friends encouraged me to go back to the earlier works. And Dark Places did captivate me more than River."


Lynn Walsh took some writing tips from Grenville's book Searching for the Secret River.

SlowTV has a a video of Grenville's presentation to the 2009 Melbourne Festival of Ideas, titled "Writers in a Time of Change".  The video is split into two parts.

Grenville spoke at the `Amazing Women' literary function at the National Library of Australia about the books that had inspired her as a child.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 26, 2009 4:19 PM.

Sophie Lee Interview was the previous entry in this blog.

Reprint: Misprints: The Deeds of Printers' Devils by Nettie Palmer is the next entry in this blog.

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