Summer Reading

September 14, 2007 at 7:47 pm 2 comments

Now that the summer is ending (mercifully slowly – this weather is lovely!), here’s a quick catch up.

Lian Hearn, The Harsh Cry of the Heron

This is the fourth in a series, and they’ve all been wonderful. Set in a fantasy world reminiscent of medieval Japan, it is evocative and gripping and beautiful, and this book is my favourite yet. Don’t want to give too much away, but it’s just lovely. And she’s an Adelaide writer, hurrah!

Knut Hamsun, Hunger

One of my challenge reads, and more fun than I thought it would be, after the front cover glibly declared that it was one of the most disturbing books in existence. A young Nowegian hovers on the brink of starvation in nineteenth century Oslo, to proud to do much about it. It was disturbing, and the main character was difficult to like (I think this was the point), but I did find myself warming to him towards the end. There’s even the odd medieval reference, as he attempts to write a play set in the Middle Ages. It’s been compared with Dosteovsky, but is a little one dimensional in comparison.

Randolph Stow, Tourmaline

Read the previous post. What can I say? Bruce Clunies Ross says he has the linguistic equivalent of perfect pitch. I agree.

Randolph Stow, Visitants

Not good plane reading, because the perspective and voice switches every page and a half. Disturbing and compelling, and better on a second reading, when you know what’s going on. Set in the Trobriant Islands, it documents a gradual disintegration into madness against a backdrop of cargo cults and reports of alien star-ships.

A. J. Hassall, Strange Country: A Study of Randolph Stow

A thorough summary of everything Stow wrote, but rather bland, and ignores some of the most interesting aspects…

Nick Hornby, How to be Good

This one definitely is good plane reading. Deceptively light hearted, this is an essentially bleak appraisal of married life.

Mormonism for Dummies

I’m not about to convert, but I found this fascinating. Not sure about the regulation underwear, or whether God lives near a distant star, but did like the depiction of Eve as the brave, courageous founder of mortal life.

D.M. Cornish, Monster Blood Tattoo

Another Adelaide writer, who has created a world of monsters and sailing ships where things are not quite as they seem. Great fun. Can’t wait for the rest of the series.

And now on with the term! Stay tuned, posts here might become a little more frequent…

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Entry filed under: Knut Hamsun, Lian Hearn, Randolph Stow, Scandinavia.

Tourmaline Midnite

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Eva  |  September 15, 2007 at 4:18 am

    That medieval Japan series sounds awesome! What’s an Adelaide writer?

  • 2. meli  |  September 15, 2007 at 9:13 am

    heh – a writer who lives in Adelaide. where i come from. 🙂 her real name is actually Gillian Rubenstein, and she’s written tons of other books. but these medieval japan ones are lovely indeed.

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