Review: Every Time He Dies – Tara East

 

Every Time He Dies

Tara East

Tara East – self published

ISBN: 9780648581512

 

Description:

Daphne Lawrence is haunted. Two years ago, her fiancé died in a terrible accident, her mother passed away from cancer and she stopped speaking to her father. As an embalmer, Daff is used to the company of dead people, but she isn’t used to them talking back. In fact, Daff isn’t used to anything that could be considered woo-woo including, but not limited to: psychics, crystal, meditation, tarot cards, vision quests and coincidences. Too bad that’s everything she’s experiencing.

 

Daff is forced to confront her own long ignored grief when she discovers a haunted watch buried in the sand at Golden Beach. The problem is, her ghost has no memory of his former life or how he died.

 

As Daff seeks to discover the spectre’s identity, dangerous truths and hidden secrets are revealed. Soon, she finds herself in the middle of an on-going homicide investigation led by Detective Sergeant Jon Lawrence, her father. A story about grief, time and identity, Every Time He Dies will leave you wondering whether our dearly beloveds ever really depart.

 

My View:

A brilliant debut!

 

This is a multilayered, deeply moving narrative of redemption, forgiveness, identity, moving on, grieving, bikies, lies, mysteries and ghosts. What a fabulous read and oh so satisfying.

 

Tara East is a very visual storyteller; I watched this story play out in technicolour 3D in my head, the locations, very Australian, (is it coincidence that the most readable speculative fiction I have come across are based in/around Brisbane, Queensland?), the characters so vibrant (I love you Daff and Liam, well mostly Liam but Daff you are a very engaging protagonist) and the mysteries, intriguing.

 

I do hope that this is the start of a series, I can’t wait to read more about Daff’s adventures as she assist the newly dead on their quests.

 

Post Script: The Waiting Room – Leah Kaminsky

Compelling, moving and societally relevant.

 Cover The Waiting Room

The Waiting Room

Leah Kaminsky

Random House Australia Pty Ltd

Vintage Australia

ISBN: 9780857986221

 

Description:

Compelling, moving and memorable. Graeme Simsion. The Waiting Room captures the sights, sounds, accents and animosities of a country overflowing with stories. Dina is a family doctor living in the melting-pot city of Haifa, Israel. Born in Australia in a Jewish enclave of Melbourne to Holocaust survivors, Dina left behind a childhood marred by misery and the tragedies of the past to build a new life for herself in the Promised Land. After starting a family of her own, she finds her life falling apart beneath the demands of her eccentric patients, a marriage starting to fray, the ever-present threat of terrorist attack and the ghost of her mother, haunting her with memories that Dina would prefer to leave on the other side of the world. Leah Kaminsky plumbs the depths of her characters’ memories, both the sweet and the heart-wrenching, reaching back in a single climactic day through six decades and across three continents to uncover a truth that could save Dina’s sanity – and her life.

 

My View:

Compelling, moving and societally relevant.

Dina wasn’t there to see the ashes when the war ended, but she was born into a smoky after haze. She had never known war, but its tendrils gripped her from a young age, as she tried to make up for everyone her mother had lost. She had to be a good girl: fill her mother’s sadness with love.” In this instance Leah Kaminsky is specifically discussing the legacy of the Holocaust and the effects on the Jewish survivors, and in particular Survivors Guilt; she could however be talking about any people living in crisis, living with conflict, living in refugee camps, living with war or the survivors of war, in any region of our modern world. The effects of war and conflict are far reaching and disturbing, and time does little to ease the pain and burden of such actions.

 

Beautifully written, poignant, lyrical; “‘the dead were the lucky ones, you know.’ Her mother smoothes a few strands of hair back from her forehead. ‘After we were liberated, there was silence for a while.’ Dina imagines a soft sighing seeping up from the earth, melting into windless air. The murmuring of the dead. Their voices becoming a steady whisper that followed her mother everywhere.” Such sadness is articulately conveyed.

 

This narrative is intelligently written, haunting, evocative, explosive …unforgettable. There are lessons for us all to learn, for our politicians to hear and to note.

 

Post Script: Springtime A Ghost Story – Michelle de Kretser

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.

Springtime

Springtime

A Ghost Story

Michelle de Kretser

Allen and Unwin

ISBN: 9781760111212

 

Description:

A rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story from the Miles Franklin Award winning author.

 

Picking up her pace, Frances saw a woman in the leaf-hung depths of the garden. She wore a long pink dress and a wide hat, and her skin was a creamy white. There came upon Frances a sensation that sometimes overtook her when she was looking at a painting: space was foreshortened, time stood still.

 

When Frances met Charlie at a party in Melbourne he was married with a young son.

 

Now she and Charlie live in Sydney with her rescue dog Rod and an unshakeable sense that they have tipped the world on its axis. They are still getting their bearings – of each other and of their adopted city. Everything is alien, unfamiliar, exotic: haunting, even.

 

Worlds of meaning spin out of perfectly chosen words in this rare, beguiling and brilliant ghost story by Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning writer Michelle de Kretser.

 

 

My View:

Evocative, bemusing and beguiling.

 

When you pick up this delicate and graceful short story – published in a hard back, with a jacket, with internal colour plates, printed on paper that has a decidedly decadent feel, you will get more than a few surprises.

 

Firstly the quality of this publication is exquisite and the prose compliments this; the writing (and colour plates) are beautiful and evokes memories of trips I have made to Sydney and the walks I took past many resplendent and dignified older style homes with magnificent established gardens. Next I get a sense of the author’s playfulness; in the title – which really creates confusion – if you are expecting a tale of horror and things that go bump in the night – you will have chosen the wrong book – for this is a ghost story with a difference – a gentleness and a little twist to amuse, the author has manipulated both the reader and the genre.

 

There is a playfulness in the competitive descriptions and comparisons of the two cities, Sydney and Melbourne that locals will appreciate and if you do not have local knowledge you will appreciate the internal chaos created by the unfamiliar compared to the stability of the familiar; feelings experienced when moving homes, cities, states or changing relationships or jobs.

 

This book of eighty five pages has substance and finesse. I can see the author smiling as she writes her words. I found this experience entertaining, somewhat amusing and certainly not what I was expecting – Michelle de Kretser has given me an experience created by words.