Cathy and Rebecca have set a category for each week – there are no rules as such (although they suggest that 150–200 pages is the upper limit for a novella, and post-1980 as a definition of ‘contemporary’).
I’m going to use Novellas in November to whip through some of my towering TBR stack. I have lots to choose from. Here are the possibilities: Continue reading →
Second Place was my introduction to Rachel Cusk. I quickly became engrossed in the story and wondered why I had expected her writing to be impenetrable. Where had this impression come from? Other readers? Reviews? Her regular appearance on literature award lists? Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised – no, relieved – to find Second Place highly ‘readable’. No persistence required. Continue reading →
I rarely write standalone reviews for novellas, but Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer, has lingered in a way that I didn’t quite expect.
The story begins in Vegas, where ‘Joan’, is starting over – she buys a new dress; dyes and curls her hair; and begins smoking – all suited to a woman named ‘Joan’, she decides. She finds a job waitressing; allows herself to be distracted by the neon lights of Vegas; and does her best to forget the past, notably her relationship with a man named Jack.
She refuses to feel sad… but something happens to her physically. Ache is too soft a word.Continue reading →
When you’re young, and you’re making decisions about school subjects and careers, there are inevitably pressures. For some kids, their passions line-up with family or social expectations. Lucky them. For others, expectations can steer them away from what they’d really, really like to be doing. I think we all know of that person who desperately wanted to be a carpenter or an artist or in advertising, yet they come from a ‘family of doctors’ and suddenly find their Year 12 dominated by chemistry and biology rather than graphic design. Personally speaking, I traded a Forestry degree for Environmental Planning – I think I probably would have ended up in the same place regardless but I can’t deny that my mum’s concerns about my being posted as a park ranger somewhere remote, didn’t go unheard. Continue reading →