Monthly Archives: August 2014

Lost and Found – Brooke Davis

Lost and Found - Brooke Davis

Lost and Found – Brooke Davis

This was our latest book club selection. There has been heaps of publicity – here and here and here. This novel is set in Western Australia and it is always quite nice to read something set in your home town plus it had reading group questions (that should help with the discussion).

Here is the blurb …

Millie Bird (aka Captain Funeral), seven-years old and ever hopeful, always wears red gumboots to match her red, curly hair. Her struggling mother leaves Millie in a local department store and never returns.
Agatha Pantha, eighty-two, has not left her house – or spoken to another human being – since she was widowed seven years ago. She fills the silences by yelling at passers by, watching loud static on the TV and maintaining a strict daily schedule. Karl the Touch Typist, eighty-seven, once used his fingers to type out love notes on his wife’s skin. Now he types his words out into the air as he speaks. Karl is moved into a nursing home but in a moment of clarity and joy, he escapes. A series of events binds the three together on a road trip that takes them from the south coast of WA to Kalgoorlie and along the Nullarbor to the edge of the continent. Millie wants to find her mum. Karl wants to find out how to be a man. And Agatha just wants everything to go back to how it was. They will discover that old age is not the same as death, that the young can be wise, and that letting yourself experience sadness just might be the key to life.

This was reasonably easy to read – although I did struggle to get to the end (I suspect that says more about me than the book). There are three main characters; Millie, Agatha and Karl and we hear from each of them in the telling of this story. I preferred Agatha and Karl to Millie – who seemed a bit consciously naive to me – and who wouldn’t like Agatha’s inappropriate shouting? There is quite a bit of death mentioned – all three characters have lost someone significant – so possibly not for the recently bereaved.

Another review …

http://www.theherald.com.au/story/2378731/books-brooke-davis-lost-found/

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And The Mountains Echoed –

And the Mountains Echoed - Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini

I have read A Thousand Splendid Suns (too confronting) and The Kite Runner (loved it), so when someone offered to pass this one onto me I thought why not?

The blurb …

So, then. You want a story and I will tell you one…

Afghanistan, 1952. Abdullah and his sister Pari live with their father and stepmother in the small village of Shadbagh. Their father, Saboor, is constantly in search of work and they struggle together through poverty and brutal winters. To Adbullah, Pari, as beautiful and sweet-natured as the fairy for which she was named, is everything. More like a parent than a brother, Abdullah will do anything for her, even trading his only pair of shoes for a feather for her treasured collection. Each night they sleep together in their cot, their skulls touching, their limbs tangled. 

One day the siblings journey across the desert to Kabul with their father. Pari and Abdullah have no sense of the fate that awaits them there, for the event which unfolds will tear their lives apart; sometimes a finger must be cut to save the hand. 

Crossing generations and continents, moving from Kabul, to Paris, to San Francisco, to the Greek island of Tinos, with profound wisdom, depth, insight and compassion, Khaled Hosseini writes about the bonds that define us and shape our lives, the ways that we help our loved ones in need, how the choices we make resonate through history, and how we are often surprised by the people closest to us.

This had all of the lovely things about Hosseini’s writing – the feeling that it could be a spoken story and stories of Afghanistan before all of the wars. I am not sure that I can succinctly say what this novel is about – families, what people will do for their families, how easy it can be to abandon family, but also how we make new families.

More reviews …

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/may/26/mountains-echoed-khaled-hosseini-review

http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/and-the-mountains-echoed-20130531-2ngt7.html

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