Monthly Archives: November 2010

Jasper Jones – Craig Silvey

My book club has had this novel in our sights for a while. We read Rhubarb and all enjoyed it. Craig Silvey not only tells a good story, but he puts words together in an interesting manner.

Here’s the blurb …

Late on a hot summer night in the tail end of 1965, Charlie Bucktin, a precocious and bookish boy of thirteen, is startled by an urgent knock on the window of his sleep-out. His visitor is Jasper Jones, an outcast in the regional mining town of Corrigan. Rebellious, mixed-race and solitary, Jasper is a distant figure of danger and intrigue for Charlie. So when Jasper begs for his help, Charlie eagerly steals into the night by his side, terribly afraid but desperate to impress.
Jasper takes him through town and to his secret glade in the bush, and it’s here that Charlie bears witness to Jasper’s horrible discovery. With his secret like a brick in his belly, Charlie is pushed and pulled by a town closing in on itself in fear and suspicion as he locks horns with his tempestuous mother; falls nervously in love and battles to keep a lid on his zealous best friend, Jeffrey Lu.
And in vainly attempting to restore the parts that have been shaken loose, Charlie learns to discern the truth from the myth, and why white lies creep like a curse. In the simmering summer where everything changes, Charlie learns why the truth of things is so hard to know, and even harder to hold in his heart.

This novel has a real sense of place. A small Western Australian town in the 1960s – with all that that implies;  racism, sexism, etc. You can almost feel the heat coming off the page.

The characters are beautifully written; Charlie trying to do the right thing, but hopelessly out of his depth; Jasper Jones, self-reliant he has dealt with the town’s racism for ever, if anything ever goes wrong he is suspected; Jeffery witty and resilient; and Eliza who seems so knowing and self-possessed.

There is an undercurrent of menace throughout this novel with occasional outbursts of violence. Corrigan is a town seething in it’s own juices.

This is a fabulous novel and I look forward to the next Craig Silvey novel.

Some more reviews …

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Filed under Recommended, Serious

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larrson

As there was so much hype about this novel (even Mr H read it or at least listened to it), I thought I should read it too.

I don’t think I’ll be reading two or three. It was too violent for me. I prefer to remain ignorant of all of the evil people do to one another.

Here’s the blurb …

The Industrialist
Henrik Vanger, head of the dynastic Vanger corporation, is tormented by the loss of a child decades earlier and convinced that a member of the family has committed murder.

The Journalist
Mikael Blomkvist delves deep into the Vanger’s past to uncover the truth behind the unsolved mystery. But someone else wants the past to remain a secret and will go to any lengths to keep it that way.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Lisbeth Salander, the enigmatic, delinquent and dangerous security specialist, assists in the investigation. A genius computer hacker, she tolerates no restrictions placed upon her by individuals, society or the law.

I am glad I read this – I feel slightly more informed when people discuss it. However, I don’t feel I can encourage or discourage anyone from reading it.

Here’s some other reviews …

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Filed under Miscellaneous

One Day – David Nicholls

I seem to be hearing quite a bit about this book and when it was described as ‘chick lit’ for boys I thought I had to read it.

Here’s the blurb …

You can live your whole life not realising that what you’re looking for is right in front of you.

15th July 1988 Emma and Dexter meet on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways.

So where will they be on this one day next year? And the year after that?

And every year that follows?

As I graduated in 91, the era that this story was very familiar to me – mixed tape anyone? On the surface the story was very simple; girl meets boy, girl likes boy, boy doesn’t seem as enthralled with the girl.  It opens in 1988 (St Swithins day) Dexter and Emma have hooked up and spent the night in Emma’s bed. It seems this could turn into something special, but university is over and Emma is going to change the world and Dexter is going travelling.

Every year we get an update on their lives and their relationship. Emma is lost, she has a string of dead end jobs (working as a waitress in a Mexican restaurant). Dexter, on the other hand, lands on his feet and becomes a famous television personality. We read about their relationships with co-workers (usually doomed) and their on going friendship. This novel is about how a person life changes over time and how relationships evolve.

Nicholls is a witty writer and I enjoyed reading this novel immensely. I think calling it ‘chic lit’ for boys is misleading because it is at times very sad (unexpectedly so).

More reviews …

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Filed under Fiction - Light, Recommended