The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham

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

The Stella Prize 2019 – longlist predictions

The Stella Prize 2019 longlist will be announced tonight.

The longlist is made up of twelve books, usually a mix of fiction and non-fiction, memoirs and short stories (all must have been published in 2018). Continue reading

The Lake House by Kate Morton

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

A glee of author talks

http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/country-living/the-dressmaker-author-rosalie-ham-calls-for-authentic-rural-storytelling/news-story/bb665b3bd4967e41c6d04f294537d862

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

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

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1. The Dressmaker film was superb. And the costumes were breathtaking. My friend Kate alerted me to this exhibition. Kate lives in a different state to me but we will find a way of seeing this together (road trip time?!).

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2. Much of the soundtrack for The Dressmaker was original but the Flower Duet from Lakmé was included – always one of my favourites. Continue reading