There’s always a risk with sequels, particularly when you love the bit that came first. And I enjoyed The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham – her signature blend of rural Australian noir, satire, and the lampooning of small-town politics was good fun. With Ham’s stories, there’s never any doubt as to who the ‘goodies’ and the ‘badies’ are – it’s the book equivalent of a pantomime, where you’re shouting “He’s behind you!”
01. Woohoo! Finally recorded a shelf cloud on Cloudspotter. Continue reading
I savoured what I’m sure will be a once-in-a-lifetime thing – a fabulous, darkly humorous novel about water entitlements.
The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham centres on farmer Mitch Bishop. Mitch comes from a long line of sheep and wheat farmers, however, Mitch fears the family’s farm, Bishop’s Corner, will end with him – a drought; the departure of his childhood sweetheart and his subsequent marriage to the scheming Mandy; his ageing father; and the ever-increasing demands of the State Water Authority, are all taking their toll. But water politics, new owners at the local pub, and Mitch’s closest friends have a way of changing things. Continue reading
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 – Continue reading
When I saw the author Rosalie Ham speak earlier this year, she mentioned that she never reads novels while she is writing one – the reason being, she becomes highly attuned to structure and spots plot tricks everywhere. She used the example of a novel beginning with a husband making mention that he loves his wife – Ham’s first thought is “Well, she’ll be dead by the end of this book!”
I was reminded of Ham’s comment as I slogged through 593 pages of Kate Morton’s The Lake House. It’s a dual mystery, yo-yoing between the 1930s and 2003 – there’s lots of complicating family secrets and missing (possibly dead) people. With Ham’s words in the back of my mind, Morton’s mentions of this, that and the other* were like beacons, alerting me to exactly how things would play out. Continue reading
Firstly, what’s the collective noun for a bunch of author talks? A glee? A yay? A make-Kate-very-happy? Anyway, in the past week, I’ve been to three – that deserves a collective noun.
Secondly, I have a half-a-dozen posts in my drafts folder about author talks I have attended. I never get to the ‘publish’ stage. Can’t really say why – I suspect that I leave it a week or so and then feel unsure about the fine detail of what was said – I wouldn’t want to misquote someone.
So, three author talks in one post – my favourite bits of what Rosalie Ham, Hanya Yanagihara and Jonathan Franzen had to say. Continue reading