#FridayFreebie ; The Lost Summers of Driftwood – Vanessa McCausland

 

The Lost Summers of Driftwood

Vanessa McCausland

Harper Collins

ISBN: 9781460757680

 

This is such a gently written yet revealing read – for your chance to win a copy of this thought provoking read, answer this question – how did Karin write a note to her family? ** Giveaway for Australian residents only and kindly supplied by Harper Collins Publishers Australia.  **

 

Winner randomly selected on 17th January 2020

 

 

**Veronica is the lucky winner – check your emails please.**

Post Script: Wimmera – Mark Brandi

Powerful, evocative, once you read you cannot unread.

 

Wimmera

Wimmera

Mark Brandi

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733638459

 

Description:

In the long, hot summer of 1989, Ben and Fab are best friends.

 

Growing up in a small country town, they spend their days playing cricket, yabbying in local dams, wanting a pair of Nike Air Maxes and not talking about how Fab’s dad hits him or how the sudden death of Ben’s next-door neighbour unsettled him. Almost teenagers, they already know some things are better left unsaid.

 

Then a newcomer arrived in the Wimmera. Fab reckoned he was a secret agent and he and Ben staked him out. Up close, the man’s shoulders were wide and the veins in his arms stuck out, blue and green. His hands were enormous, red and knotty. He looked strong. Maybe even stronger than Fab’s dad. Neither realised the shadow this man would cast over both their lives.

 

Twenty years later, Fab is still stuck in town, going nowhere but hoping for somewhere better. Then a body is found in the river, and Fab can’t ignore the past any more.

 

Wimmera is the 2016 Winner of the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger (UK).

 

 

My View:

Powerful, evocative, once you read you cannot unread.

 

I guess you can say I am intuitive, I can read people (mostly) or maybe read moods is a better explanation – a survivor’s skill, an empathetic skill. I notice things, things that can make me feel uncomfortable, little things, an attitude, a facial expression, often  something intangible, a prickling of the skin… a niggling feeling that something isn’t right, a warning, a take care or get out of here kind of thing. Reading this book I was on high alert, all my intuitive cells were screaming – NO!!! Get out.

 

My intuition was not wrong.

 

The prologue sets the scene for a very intense read. A discarded wheelie bin, lid screwed down tight. The imagination starts to process many scenarios…none of them good.

 

The tension continues to build, by page seventy I was pretty sure what was going on or about to. I put the book down and had a little break. A few days later I picked up the book and continued. With subtle hints, oh so subtle, this authors says so much – this is such powerful writing!

 

Powerful, dark, intense, painfully exquisite writing. Less is more.  Once you read you cannot unread. Brilliant!

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Useful – Debra Oswald

 Can you transform a useless life into one to be valued? You will be compelled to find out in this character driven exploration of life.

Useful

Useful

Deborah Oswald

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780670077823

 

 

Description:

Sullivan Moss is useless.

Once a charming underachiever, he’s now such a loser that he can’t even commit suicide properly. Waking up in hospital after falling the wrong way on a rooftop, he comes to a decision. He shouldn’t waste perfectly good organs just because they’re attached to his head. After a life of regrets, Sully wants to do one useful thing: he wants to donate a kidney to a stranger.

As he scrambles over the hurdles to become a donor, Sully almost accidentally forges a new life for himself. Sober and employed, he makes new friends, not least radio producer Natalie and her son Louis, and begins to patch things up with old ones, like his ex-best mate Tim. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of him.

But altruism is not as easy as it seems. Just when he thinks he’s got himself together, Sully discovers that he’s most at risk of falling apart.

 

 

My View:

Slowly you are drawn into this compelling study of life: lives filled with wasted opportunities and regret…lives soured by experience, by envy, lives stifled by choices that are no longer embraced and I am not just talking about the protagonist Sullivan Moss…most of the characters in this book have deep regrets about some part of their lives which is preventing them from enjoying living in the now. But don’t get me wrong this is not a dour wallowing in loss, bitterness and mid-life crisis kind of read, it is about rejoicing in one man’s attempt to turn his life around and the implications this turn around has on all those around him. You, the reader will really want Sullivan Moss to succeed on his quest. You become his biggest fan and supporter and will urge him on to a better life; to transform, to become useful.

 

This novel is written with a healthy dose of the classic Australian sense of humour – plenty of opportunities to laugh at oneself and situations so crazy they are almost slapstick .This is a very visual book, perhaps Ms Oswald’s successful screen writing career is at influence here? Amid the laughter many contemporary issues are deftly introduced and are open for discussion; wealth V happiness, asbestos risks/contamination, working women/childcare/ORGAN DONATION/suicide/midlife crisis…..this book has a lot to offer is what appears, at first glance, to be a light hearted read. A great book club read.

 

Post Script: All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Towes

A breath taking account of love and loss and grief and relationships told with heartbreaking honesty.

All My Puny Sorrows

Miriam Toews

Faber and Faber Ltd

Faber & Faber

ISBN: 9780571305285

 

Description

 

A funny, serious and heart felt new novel about the biggest question of all.

 

Yolanda is conflicted. Her sister Elf has battled depression for her whole adult life, and is in a psychiatric ward under permanent observation after attempting suicide – again.

 

Yolanda has always looked up to Elf as her talented and beautiful older sister. She loves her with a fierce passion and wants to believe in the possibility of a future together, one in which Elf gets better. But it’s looking unlikely and Yolanda has to decide; if the person you love is tired of living, is it kinder just to let them go?

 

All My Puny Sorrows (a line from a Coleridge poem) is written out of Miriam Toews’s personal experience and is, in some ways, a grown-up version of A Complicated Kindness, the novel that catapulted Toews to her bestselling status in Canada. This story allows Toews’s beguiling narrative voice – her easy, snappy, darkly comic intimacy – to sing through.

 

 

My View:

 

Raw, this book has left me feeling raw, my emotions exposed and jagged. A stunning read of momentous importance – never have I read this side of the story of depression and mental pain told so truthfully and meaningfully; told with so much realism. The conversations reflective of real feeling and passions, of real not imagined hurt and pain. The pain of depression is eloquently exposed, the flesh teased back, the nerves exposed. Such love and such wonderful memories are shared with the reader, this author has guts.  I admire her words, her ability to succinctly express the gamut of feelings we all feel, we all hide, we sometimes share. And the telling feels so personal, a conversation just between you and me; you touch my heart and my soul and my own buried grief. I send you hugs.

 

Everyone should read this book.