Author: Diane

The Drover’s Wife, Leah Purcell, Australia, 2019

The Drover’s Wife, Leah Purcell, Australia, 2019

My understanding is that Leah Purcell wrote a very successful play called The Drover’s Wife (2016), in which she starred in the leading role. She then reworked the play into a novel, most probably adding a lot of extra background information. I have not seen the play, but I am aware that it has won …

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One Hundred Years of Dirt, Rick Morton, Australia, 2018

One Hundred Years of Dirt, Rick Morton, Australia, 2018

A book filled with anger, often justifiable, One Hundred Years of Dirt falls somewhere between memoir and social treatise. Descriptions of the abuse, meted out first by Morton’s grandfather, George, and later by Morton’s father, Rodney, are interspersed with statistics and much research information touching on a variety of areas, such as alcohol and drug …

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The Reader, Bernhard Schlink, Germany, 1995 (English translation 1997)

The Reader, Bernhard Schlink, Germany, 1995 (English translation 1997)

When fifteen-year-old Michael Berg inadvertently meets Hanna Schmitz (a tram conductress), who is twice his age, he falls madly in love with her. During the months that follow, while balancing schoolwork and the expectations of his family (who are unaware of the relationship), he regularly meets with Hanna at her flat. After seduction and sex, …

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Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold, Stephen Fry, UK, 2017

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold, Stephen Fry, UK, 2017

This is a book to be read several times. It is a goldmine of information about the Greek myths and everything else as well. It is also a treasure trove when it comes to the origins of many English words and phrases. When I first began reading Mythos, I felt as though I should have …

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An Unusual Boy, Fiona Higgins, Australia, 2020

An Unusual Boy, Fiona Higgins, Australia, 2020

As with most of Fiona’s books, An Unusual Boy grapples with a contemporary issue: in this case, sexual abuse of children by children. Despite the confronting theme, the book is actually a ‘feel-good’ book, where everything eventually works out for the better. The situation at the end of the book is decidedly better than it …

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The Philosopher’s Daughters, Alison Booth, Australia, 2020

The Philosopher’s Daughters, Alison Booth, Australia, 2020

Centred around the unfortunate reality of inequality, The Philosopher’s Daughters is set at the end of the nineteenth century. Beginning in the conservative security of middle-class London, the story quickly spreads to the insecurity and the boundlessness of Australia. Life in Australia does not erase problems with equality – indeed, it manages to introduce more …

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The Only Story, Julian Barnes, UK, 2018

The Only Story, Julian Barnes, UK, 2018

Many, hearing of a relationship between a man of twenty and a woman of fifty, would raise their combined eyebrow and, citing moral, ethical or even cultural reasons, would most probably denounce the relationship. However, should the relationship be between a man of fifty and a woman of twenty, there would be a few who …

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Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart, UK, 2020

Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart, UK, 2020

Raw, real, depressing and beautifully written, Shuggie Bain, centres on a working-class family in Glasgow between the early 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s. It is an unedited picture of poverty and alcohol abuse, showing how the two things fuse together to eventually both direct and change people’s lives. Many of the people filling …

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Analfabeten som kunde räkna (The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden), Jonas Jonasson, Sweden, 2013

Analfabeten som kunde räkna (The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden), Jonas Jonasson, Sweden, 2013

Like Jonas Jonasson’s Hundråringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann (The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared) this is a delightful, totally impossible, story that manages to tie together South Africa, China, Israel and Sweden around the main character, Nombeko Mayeki. Nombeko begins life in one of the slums of Soweto …

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