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Search Results for 'Life after Life'

Kate Atkinson started her writing career with novels best described as social satire; you can read my review of one of them here. She then wrote a series of four books featuring Jackson Brodie, an ex-policeman turned private detective, though in my opinion, they are best characterised just as ‘novels’ rather than crime stories. You […]

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John Bray (1912-1995) was an Adelaide lawyer, classical scholar, and poet. From 1967-1978 he served as Chief Justice of the South Australian Supreme Court. He was born into the ‘Adelaide Establishment’, a loose grouping of families of wealth and influence in the small and intensely provincial city of Adelaide. His grandfather had been the first […]

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When children are born in Victoria they are wrapped in club-colours, laid in beribboned cots, having already begun a lifetime’s barracking. Carn, they cry, Carn … feebly at first while parents playfully tussle with them for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (And they are …) Hoisted shoulder-high at their first League […]

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In what feels like a big coincidence, but probably isn’t, my book club has chosen to read The Secret Life of Bees (2001) just the session after we had read Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. The apparent coincidence is that both these books deal with religion, civil rights and racism in rural America. It isn’t really a […]

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Ramona Koval is well known to Australian readers as a radio broadcaster with a particular interest in literature, having hosted the ABC’s former ‘Books and Writing’ program for many years. This book (2005) is a collection of interviews she did with a range of writers between 1996 and 2004, mostly at writers’ festivals, with a […]

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The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) is a work of creative non-fiction. It combines two narratives; that of Henrietta Lacks and her family, and that of the HeLa line of cells cultured from the cervical cancer that killed her. Rebecca Skloot is a skilled science journalist, but she also has a novelist’s capacity to […]

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The Canadian writer Yann Martel won the Man Booker Prize for literature for his book Life of Pi in 2002. His next book, Beatrice and Virgil: A Novel, was published in 2010. Beatrice is a stuffed donkey and a Virgil is a stuffed howler monkey; a writer, Henry, overcomes his writing block through an apparently […]

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Kate Atkinson describes A God in Ruins (2015) as a ‘companion’, rather than a sequel, to her 2013 novel Life After Life, which I reviewed here. It deals with a number of the same characters as the earlier book, but you can read them quite discretely. I had to go back and re-read a summary […]

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At first I thought this book wasn’t worth writing about. But then I read a favourable review in the Australian literary magazine Meanjin, which made me reconsider my response. I still don’t like it much, but concede that this may say more about me than it says about the book. The story is told in […]

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Ruth Ozeki is a Canadian-American writer and film maker; A Tale for the Time Being (2013) is her third novel. I decided to read it because the blurb on the back sounded interesting, only to find that it isn’t really about what it said there. Who writes this stuff? What I did find, however, was […]

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Any ordinary day, in Sales’s book (2018), is the day when something terrible happens to you, to someone you love, or even to strangers who are part of your broader community. After her own brush with death during pregnancy, she began thinking more deeply about how we come to terms with the fact that life […]

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This book, published in 2016, has an intriguing title. It is a French phrase used to describe twilight, where shapes become indistinct and it is impossible to tell the difference between a wolf and a dog. This makes it an uncertain and potentially dangerous time, and it is such a time that Blain chronicles in […]

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Being Mortal (2014) is a blend of memoir, research and comment, with a number of case studies which Gawande uses to make his point. The book’s subtitle, Illness, Medicine and What Happens in the End is a useful summary of the contents of the book but doesn’t give any clue to the emotional weight it […]

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Unreliable Memoirs was first published in 1980 and I read it around that time. It was reissued in 2015, which is perhaps how my book club came across it. Back in the 1980s, it was memorable if for no other reason than that my husband could not read it aloud without almost crying with laughter. […]

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Published in 2006, this book purports to be an account of the work of an American writer, speaker and philanthropist, Greg Mortenson, as per the subtitle: One Man’s Extraordinary Journey to Promote Peace … One School at a Time. It is a flawed book about a flawed man. But I found it inspiring. I say […]

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Published in 2008, this book won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2009. And deservedly so in my opinion. I recently reviewed the 2014 winner – Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch – and this one is, if not a better book, then without some of the flaws that made Tartt’s book so frustrating at times. I […]

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Questions of Travel (2012) won the prestigious Miles Franklin award in 2013, and has been highly praised by many reviewers – see for example this long review in the Sydney Review of Books, or this one from Frank Moorhouse in the Guardian. I read it for my book club, and though there are things to […]

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Where do I begin? The Goldfinch, which runs to around 770 pages, was published in 2013 and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, which recognizes distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.The judges called it ‘a book that stimulates the mind and touches the heart’. Sometimes I just wanted to […]

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The Last Explorer (2005) has the sub-title Hubert Wilkins – Australia’s Unknown Hero. And before reading this book I had never heard of him. As Nasht points out, even though he was born in South Australia, he hasn’t even been accorded the honour of a commemorative plaque on Adelaide’s historic walk. Yet Nasht makes a […]

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After reading some of Mitchell’s recent books, I’ve gone back to the beginning to read his first one, published in 1999. It’s probably just as well I enjoyed some of the later one before trying Ghostwritten, because without some understanding of his work, I doubt if I’d have got beyond it. I would probably have […]

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