Review: In Moonland – Miles Allinson

In Moonland

Miles Allinson

Scribe

ISBN: 9781925322927

Description:

‘A parent’s love for a child, you probably know this yourself, it’s pretty bottomless. It goes down into the guts of the world. But a child’s love for a parent is different. It goes up. It’s more ethereal. It’s not quite present on the earth.’

In present-day Melbourne, a man attempts to piece together the mystery of his father’s apparent suicide, as his young family slowly implodes. At the ashram of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, in 1976, a man searching for salvation must confront his capacity for violence and darkness. And in a not-too-distant future, a woman with a life-altering decision to make travels through a climate-ravaged landscape to visit her estranged father.

In Moonland is a portrait of three generations, each grappling with their own mortality. Spanning the wild idealism of the 70s through to the fragile hope of the future, it is a novel about the struggle for transcendence and the reverberating effects of family bonds. This long-awaited second outing from Miles Allinson, the multi-award-winning author of Fever of Animals, will affirm his reputation as one of Australia’s most interesting contemporary fiction writers, and urge us to see our own political and environmental reality in a new light.

My View:

A book that is literally in four parts.

And perhaps that makes reviewing this the hardest thing; the parts. I found the first section mildly intriguing, yes there is sadness, a mystery, a family experiencing relationship issues. I liked the writing in the first person – it felt a little like reading the protagonists diary – I enjoyed this style and the quirky characters encountered.

For me part two was the most interesting. The trip to India (fathers), the life in the cult, the “fly on the wall” experiences the author shares with you and that mystery, the shocking revelation … and others of family violence, abuse…. which leads us to part 3 – more of the discoveries of events in India told by bystanders or others involved. Memory is an interesting thing.” We’d made up our minds a long time ago, hadn’t we?  That was the agreement. You were my brother and that’s what you wanted. So I knew the script pretty well. I half believed it anyway, after all those years. I said my lines. I wasn’t bad…” p 198.

For me the first three sections were enough to convey the story, to expose some incredible secrets and to discuss generational violence, sins and secrets. The “hippy era” was very interesting. The reflections on those times illuminating. Section four didn’t really add much for me – either it could have been longer or not there at all…

All in all an interesting read with lots of surprises, a trip or two down a distant memory lane, a reflection of the 70’s  in Australia and India, a look at culture, religion, cults and families and all that dirty linen.

Review- In the Clearing – J P Pomare

In the Clearing

J P Pomare

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9781869713393

RRP $32.99

 

Description:

A stunning new psychological thriller from the bestselling author of Call Me Evie.

 

Amy has only ever known what life is like in the Clearing. She knows what’s expected of her. She knows what to do to please her elders, and how to make sure life in the community remains happy and calm. That is, until a new young girl joins the group. She isn’t fitting in; she doesn’t want to stay. What happens next will turn life as Amy knows it on its head.

 

Freya has gone to great lengths to feel like a ‘normal person’. In fact, if you saw her go about her day with her young son, you’d think she was an everyday mum. That is, until a young girl goes missing and someone from her past, someone she hasn’t seen for a very long time, arrives in town.

 

As Amy and Freya’s story intertwines the secrets of the past bubble up to the surface. This rural Aussie town’s dark underbelly is about to be exposed and lives will be destroyed.

 

 

My View:

What a great way to start the reading year!!  This book is intense, full of twists and surprises and you will be blown away by the reveal.

I loved J P Pomare’s prize winning debut – Don’t Call Me Evie – this new book however surpasses this with its creative storytelling, mystery and faultless writing. This is a read in one go type of book – it is captivating.

 

Post Script: Two Nights – Kathy Reichs

Loved, loved, loved this one!

Two Nights

Two Nights

Kathy Reichs

Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine

Bantam

ISBN: 9780345544070

 

Description:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller—featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

 

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

 

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing.

 

But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

 

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found?

 

It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons—because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.

 

 

My View:

Loved, loved, loved this one!

 

Staccato writing/pacing… sparse, intense, not a word wasted, I loved the pace, the style and the sublime twist. What a surprise! Though a fan of Reich’s Temperance Brennan series I think this new book might just about be my favourite from this author.  Maybe I am a little too comfortable with Bones and her cohorts, her storylines, her TV series… Two Nights is fresh, powerful and different.

 

A story of redemption, of facing your fears, of cults, of mind washing…of terror. This is a brilliant read – read with an open mind and no preconceived notions about the writing or the writer and you will enjoy this book. I hope this this is the start of a new series.

 

 

Post Script: Free To Be Tegan – Mary Grand

Free To Be Tegan

Free To Be Tegan

Mary Grand

Mary Grand

ASIN: B00UC9R1YM

 

 

Description:

‘You are dead to us’

Tegan, aged twenty seven, is cast out of the cult, rejected by her family and the only life she has known. She is vulnerable and naïve but she also has courage and the will to survive. She travels to Wales, to previously unknown relations in the wild Cambrian Mountains.

This is the uplifting story of her journey to find herself and flourish in a world she has been taught to fear and abhor.

Guilt and shadows from her past haunt her in flashbacks, panic attacks and a fear of the dark. However she also finds a world full of colour, love and happiness she has never known before. The wild beauty of the hills, the people she meets and the secrets slowly revealed by the cottage all provide an intriguing backdrop to Tegan’s drama.

 

My View:

I think the strength of this debut by Mary Grand is her ability to create locations with a very visual presence in this book of words. The settings of inner city London and rural villages in Wales are superb and take the reader on a very real journey.

Secondly it is obvious that the author has put a lot of effort into researching the psychology and influence of cults and the difficult road to recovery for those who have left or been ejected from these type of communities.

A love story, a heroic story of one woman’s road to recovery from the influence of a controlling and destructive cult, this work of fiction has almost the feel of biography.  My only criticism is that the recovery phase of the book seemed a little too short for what I imagine is an ongoing process.