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Lola in the Mirror – Trent Dalton

Lola in the Mirror – Trent Dalton

I have read all of Trent Dalton’s works. I thought Boy Swallows Universe was fabulous.

I listened to this one, which might have been a mistake, because I think there were illustrations in the paper version? I am not sure.

Here’s the blurb …

Bighearted, gritty, magical and moving, Lola in the Mirror is the irresistible new novel from international bestselling author of Boy Swallows Universe and All Our Shimmering Skies , Trent Dalton.
‘Mirror, mirror, on the grass, what’s my future? What’s my past?’ A girl and her mother are on the lam. They’ve been running for sixteen years, from police and the monster they left in the kitchen with the knife in his throat. They’ve found themselves a home inside an orange 1987 Toyota HiAce van with four flat tyres parked in a scrapyard by the edge of the Brisbane River – just two of the 100,000 Australians sleeping rough every night. The girl has no name because names are dangerous when you’re on the run. But the girl has a dream. Visions in black ink and living colour. A vision of a life as a groundbreaking artist of international acclaim. A life outside the grip of the Brisbane underworld drug queen ‘Lady’ Flora Box. A life of love with the boy in the brown suit who’s waiting for her in the middle of the bridge that stretches across a flooding and deadly river. A life far beyond the bullet that has her name on it. And now that the storm clouds are rising, there’s only one person who can help make her dreams come true. That person’s name is Lola and she carries all the answers. But to find Lola, the girl with no name must first do one of the hardest things we can sometimes ever do. She must look in the mirror. A big, moving, blackly funny, violent, heartbreaking and beautiful novel of love, fate, life and death and all the things we see when we look in the mirror. All of the past, all of the present, and all of our possible futures. ‘Mirror, mirror, please don’t lie. Tell me who you are. Tell me who am I.’

Trent Dalton is very good at dialogue, I love the conversations the characters have. The body count is high in this novel (and it’s not always the people you want it to be). It is very grim.

A review.

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Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton

Cover image of Boy Swallows Universe
Boy Swallows Universe – Trent Dalton

This was a last minute decision made by my book club and, at first, it was impossible to find – in the end I bought it as a Kindle. Impossible to find because it was sold out everywhere. I am always a bit nervous about very popular books (and I have to say the title and the cover art weren’t helping)

Here’s the blurb …

A novel of love, crime, magic, fate and coming of age, set in Brisbane’s violent working class suburban fringe – from one of Australia’s most exciting new writers.

Brisbane, 1983: A lost father, a mute brother, a mum in jail, a heroin dealer for a stepfather and a notorious crim for a babysitter. It’s not as if Eli’s life isn’t complicated enough already. He’s just trying to follow his heart, learning what it takes to be a good man, but life just keeps throwing obstacles in the way – not least of which is Tytus Broz, legendary Brisbane drug dealer.

But if Eli’s life is about to get a whole lot more serious. He’s about to fall in love. And, oh yeah, he has to break into Boggo Road Gaol on Christmas Day, to save his mum.

A story of brotherhood, true love and the most unlikely of friendships, Boy Swallows Universe will be the most heartbreaking, joyous and exhilarating novel you will read all year.

I love it – found it compelling. The writing is beautiful and the characters are fabulous and sympathetically (and generously) written. I also enjoyed all of the Australian cultural references (sometimes it’s nice to read something that feels familiar).

Trent Dalton is coming to the Perth Writers Festival and I am looking forward to his session (just how much is autobiographical, did the red telephone ring?)

Below is an article about the writing of Boy Swallows Universe.

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