Kate Grenville Watch #7

Review of The Idea of Perfection

Jill on "The Orange Prize Project" weblog: "A word of caution to readers who haven't read The Idea of Perfection by Kate Grenville. It's like a wonderful homemade soup. You first add the ingredients, slowly stir and then after hours of simmering, it becomes a tasty delight. The Idea of Perfection took a few chapters to get going, but readers who stick with this story are in for a wonderful literary experience...Through this character-driven story, Grenville showed readers that perfection is nothing more than an idea - a perception held by an individual. The perfect face, perfect marriage and even a perfect bridge are never really perfect. Anyone can find a flaw. However, it's the flaws that make those things so interesting."

Reviews of The Secret River

On the "Joe Bloggs" weblog: "It's a well told story, based a little on the true experiences of the authors ancestors. It is full of wonderful descriptions of Australia and its contrast with grey London. The dialogue is written in italics, which I found a little distracting, but it is a wonderful, simple tale, well told. I'm not sure about the title, I found it a little misleading but you make your own mind up. A great read."

On the "Lady of Leisure" weblog: "Grenville makes it clear that the growth and settlement of white people comes at a huge moral price for the settlers. Murder, a crime which in most cases was far worse than the ones for which they were sent to Australia in the first place, became an accepted method of dealing with the 'blacks'. It was justified as necessary in order to survive. This must have weighed heavily on the minds of those men and women involved. Despite this,  as Grenville points out, future generations, even the children of the original settlers, are unaware of this guilt."

Reviews of The Lieutenant

On the "Melbarts" weblog: "This is a work of huge imaginative power and grace. Grenville has a distinctive, authoritative take on the historical novel; rather than overburdening the reader with realms of historical fact, she wears her obviously considerable research extremely lightly. Historical details unfold as they are needed for the momentum of the narrative...The book, then, is deeply political but in no way is it politically correct. Nor should it be seen as a substitute for history: hopefully it will send scurrying to the history books those interested readers searching for more background information."

Natasha Tripney in "The Observer": "Writing in a clear, simple style, Grenville elegantly evokes the wonder and tension inherent in the first meetings between these two different worlds."

Lesley McDowell in "The Independent": "Kate Grenville's latest novel, about a young 18th-century English astronomer who is among the first settlers and soldiers to arrive in New South Wales, is historical fiction elevated into the category of 'literary fiction', not so much by its research as by its psychological truth. Historical writers know that their readers demand a certain level of information: we want to learn about times different from our own, and it's not so much recognition that we crave in our ancestors as a sense of their difference...The Lieutenant is a lovely example of historical fiction at its best: complex, demanding, and always revealing."


On the author's website.


Grenville reflects on her use of historical material in her recent work, in an essay titled "The Novelist as Barbarian" for the Naional Library of Australia.

On Slow TV, the author discusses:

The Lieutenant (Part 1)
The Lieutenant (Part 2)
Writers in a Tme of Change, her keynote address at the 2009 Festival of Ideas, held at the University of Melbourne.

The "Booklover Book Reviews" weblog gives an overview of all of Grenville's novels.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 12, 2010 8:58 PM.

Book Plate #1 - Convent of the Sacred Heart was the previous entry in this blog.

Australian Bookcovers #205 - Doreen by C. J. Dennis is the next entry in this blog.

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