Wrong About Japan

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Read 20/09/2017-22/09/2017

Rating: 4 stars

My husband noticed this on the non-fiction shelves in the library. I like Peter Carey’s novels, and a memoir of how he and his teenage son became captivated by manga and anime and travelled to Tokyo to meet artists and directors in each industry sounded interesting. Continue reading

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Burial Rites

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Read 18/09/2016-22/09/2016

Rating: 4 stars

This is my second book from the Willoughby Book Club subscription I won earlier this year. It’s another good choice. I’ve had Burial Rites on my wishlist since it was published three years ago.

Before I even started reading, I loved the book. It’s a book to fetishise. I have the hardback edition, with its black tipped pages, its black book cloth, its deep purple end papers, and its raven feather illustrated book jacket. It says dark Icelandic nights. It says murder. It says misery.

The scene setting quote from the Laxdæla Saga before the prologue is delicious.

I was worst to the one I loved best.

The book is based on historical murders that happened in Iceland in 1828. The author includes letters written by officials involved in the case and court records to provide context and moves between third person observation of the key players in the story and first person testimony from the murderer Agnes Magnúsdóttir.

It was a strange book to read. I enjoyed it and wanted to read it quickly, but I found the intensity hard going at times. I had to have frequent rests from it. It was quite tiring. The reading equivalent of being stuck in a remote farmhouse in the wilds of Iceland in 1828, I suppose. Continue reading

The Glass Kingdom

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Read 12/09/2016

Rating: 4 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Olympic Challenge

I bought this book because I wanted to read something by someone I’d never heard of. It sounded like it might be grimly funny, in the mould of Chuck Pahlaniuk or Irvine Welsh. It also sounded very, very male, and very, very male books both fascinate and confuse me.

The two main characters run a sideshow stall in a travelling carnival. Ben is ex-army and trying to make money dealing meth. Mikey is a wannabe rapper, inclined to fight and supremely interested in women. He’s a bit of a caricature, but engagingly so. Ben is the more sober of the pair, the man with an actual game plan. Continue reading

The Natural Way of Things

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Read 26/06/2016-28/06/2016

Rating: 5 stars (but really 100 stars, 1000 stars, all the stars)

I want to say so many things about this book. I want to talk about it as allegory, as fact, as reportage, as fucked up fairytale. But equally I don’t want to say too much, because I don’t want to take away from anyone the experience I’ve just had. This book contains an important truth. It is brutal and grubby and horrifying. And yet it is gentle. It doesn’t bludgeon. It doesn’t preach. It just tells the truth.

I will try to write a review, then, without really writing a review. Continue reading

Rush Oh!

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Read 19/06/2016-23/06/2016

Rating: 4 stars

It has been a while since I read any Australian literature, but Shirley Barrett’s Rush Oh! caught my eye when it appeared on the long list for this year’s Bailey’s prize. I reserved it at my local library, and my turn to read it came around a couple of weeks ago. Continue reading