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Showing posts from March 28, 2021

‘The worship of ignorance. It’s an excuse, that’s all it is. It’s the excuse of rednecks and backwaters and corrupt governments the world over. The saddest thing is that people believe it. They get used to it. They accept whatever leftovers they’re given. And meanwhile the bastards at the top keep scooping the heart out of the place.”

  Blind, Geilston Bay. March 2021. Last Drinks  by Andrew McGahan A great example of a novel being driven by a character burdened by minimal character. In George Verney, disgraced journalist and former (forgettable) hanger-on of a few slippery and shady characters that constituted the outer circle of the corrupt elite governing Queensland in the crooked Bjelke-Petersen era. In framing the story around reformed alcoholic Verney, McGahan constructs a nailbiter of a story that unravels from both directions. Moving backwards and forwards through time and memory - and hazy recollections at that - Verney is drawn back into the world that he fled as it crumbled a decade earlier with the Fitzgerald Inquiry. If you're too young to remember that event, the Inquiry's official title was "the Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct", which will give you a sense as to what Verney was fleeing. An indictment on Queensland, this is a dar

“We notice the silence of men. We depend upon the silence of women.”

Early morning, Geilston Bay. March 2021. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire I had no idea what this book was about going in, which made it all the more surprising as I read it. Quite unlike anything I've read before, it resembles the kind of post-binge comedown you might expect to see once Alice stepped back through the looking-glass. Very dark and very funny, I really appreciated the sensibility that permeated throughout. The approach to gender identity and sexuality felt entirely natural and make this a fantastic portal to better understanding these kinds of issues. While I am certain that it would upset many who find such concepts a challenge, it would be fantastic for anyone looking to broaden their mind a bit! If the idea of magic portals, sugary fairylands, dancing skeletons, vampires, mad scientists and a search for a rather brutal serial killer does not disturb you, I could not recommend it more highly. ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐  

“Reading books will doom you to a life of fear and shame.”

  Breaking the waves. Bellerive Beach, Hobart. March 2021. The Plotters by Un-su Kim (translated by Sora Kim-Russell) This is the silliest book that I have read in a long while. I did enjoy it as the pacing was fine and plenty was happening. Still, I couldn't shake the feeling that it read like a far better version of that dreadful creative writing exercise by the Virginia Tech shooter that found itself on the Internet back in the day. The biggest flaw is a common one found in the genre. It is like the author has not really met or spoken with any women, so he's not quite sure how they work. However, he obviously means well and sees women as more pure and worthy in a debased world, which I guess is better than the way that it usually goes in these things. It's an action movie in book-form. I found the pretensions to something more meaningful hamfisted and a bit childish, but nothing worse than anything you'll find in the Matrix or John Wick. I can't quite figure wha

“They liked to drink: it was their hobby, or—said one of us—maybe a form of worship. They drank wine and beer and whiskey and gin. Also tequila, rum, and vodka. At midday they called it the hair of the dog. It seemed to keep them contented. Or going, at least."

  Being stalked by a pademelon. Pilchers Hill, Geilston Bay. March 2021. A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet After a slow start, I found myself relaxing into this rather beguiling and disturbing tale. It moves at a languid pace and sleepwalks into an ever-growing disaster. Like the collective elders in the book, it progresses as if in an alcohol or drug-induced fog. As the name suggests, there's some heavily allegorical work driving the narrative as we have echoes of Biblical text through an increasingly dystopic scenario. While the intergenerational tensions are played in a rather heavy-handed way, the global inaction on climate change does render the recourse to heavy caricature for the 'adults' and the decision to make the children and young people preternaturally wise and capable in the novel understandable. As ever, I find the American fixation on the upper and middle-class ennui and the absence of any poor or diverse voices depressing, but somehow it seems appropr