Two Aussie audios

Sometimes you leave a review so long that there hardly seems any point… Almost the case with these books, so I’ll mention just a few reasons why I enjoyed them –

Gilgamesh by Joan London

Can you have a ‘compact saga’? If so, this is it. Not so much the reworking of an epic quest but more a reflection of its spirit. In Gilgamesh we meet travellers from faraway lands (Armenia and Australia); find and lose love; face battles of many different kinds; and play with the meaning of ‘home’.

London’s carefully crafted sentences are completely immersive. From simple descriptions – a ‘…star crammed window…’ to passing observations – ‘Poverty always subdued her’, there is not a single extraneous word in this story and yet the overall effect is rich and abundant. How does she do it? I don’t know but it makes for immensely satisfying reading. And while the sense of place and time was beautifully done, it was the subtle but telling snippets on relationships that lingered – ‘Without a father you had no youth’ and ‘Her mother had fallen into silence here a long time ago, it was her silence Edith heard in every moment’ and ‘That is how it is with sons, they are beautiful strangers’.

Read Gilgamesh for the heroine alone – her fearlessness, capacity for love and wanderlust is epic.

4/5 Superb.

 

The Dry by Jane Harper

I rarely read crime and/or thrillers because I’m usually disappointed. Something that author Rosalie Ham once said made me alert to crime-writers’ tricks and I’ve been hyper-aware ever since (if you want to know, look for the * at the bottom of this post. Just know that it might spoil some books for you!).

So, crime and thrillers first need to pass what I now call the ‘Ham test’. Most don’t but Jane Harper’s, The Dry, did. It moved along at a clip (as opposed to constant mini-cliffhangers and drawn-out suspense); it didn’t have me thinking ‘Well, that was convenient…’; and it was well-written and wonderfully atmospheric – in short, gripping.

4/5 The perfect page-turner.

 

 

 

* Ham said that as soon as a character says something like “I love her” within the first few pages, you know ‘she’ is dead. As a result of this throwaway comment from Ham, I’m usually trying to solve crimes within the first ten pages of a book.

12 responses

  1. I very.much enjoyed Gilgamesh, unusual as I’m the opposite of a fan of historical fiction. I enjoyed its depiction of the SouthWest (of WA) and its evocation of the epic. And as you say, an excellent heroine.

    • Historical fiction isn’t an automatic choice for me either but this one was unusually appealing in its tone. I loved the parts on the farm and the brief but perfect descriptions of Edith’s walks between the farm and the hotel.

  2. So glad you loved The Dry! That Ham test is a curious concept; going to have to use that (I’m also typically disappointed)

    • Most memorably, the Ham test worked for Big Little Lies and Girl on a Train – I guessed what was going to happen very early on in both of those books.

      • I could definitely see that. I enjoyed Train more than Lies but they were both admittedly mediocre mysteries in contrast to their popularity.

  3. I myself find thrillers to “sound” really dorky on the page, but when I get an audio book narrated by someone who can add some terror and suspense into their voice, I don’t mind the occasional thriller. I especially liked Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.

    Your review has inspired me to write my own shortie review. I finished The Hate U Give last week and don’t feel like reviewing it, but also want to get something up on the blog.

    • When the number of reviews begin stacking up, I need a few quick posts like this – have to remind ourselves that it’s not a chore! Also, I don’t know about you but I find that if I don’t at least make some notes on a book straight away, the review is too hard to write weeks later.

  4. Pingback: Reading Challenges 2018 | booksaremyfavouriteandbest

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