Post Script – The Rosie Effect – Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2)

The Rosie Effect

Graeme Simsion

The Text Publishing Company

ISBN: 9781922182104

 

 

Description:

THE ROSIE PROJECT WAS COMPLETE BUT I WAS UNPREPARED FOR THE ROSIE EFFECT.

 

GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world’s most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.

 

Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.

 

Then Rosie told me we had ‘something to celebrate’, and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.

 

I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.

 

The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.

 

And of losing Rosie forever.

 

My View:

You must read The Rosie Project before embarking on this novel otherwise nothing will make any sense. I am a fan of the original title – it was fun, quirky, poignant and unique, at the time, however I don’t think follow up is quite in the same league; it felt a little laboured, was a little too much “tell and not show” (though I must admit there were a few brilliant slap stick/ comedic visual moments) and the characters however didn’t have quite the same appeal as in the Rosie Project.

 

I found the character, Rosie, a little two dimensional in this narrative – maybe because mostly we did not hear her view point just a few negative comments or expletives. In this novel Rosie becomes more of the stereo type of the pregnant woman; needy, grumpy, tired… and in her relationship with Don she comes across as brash, sour (with a foul mouth), selfish…angry and shows little empathy or love for the unique individual that is Don Tillman, whom she accepted for his quirkiness in The Rosie Project – disappointing. The Rosie in this book did not equate with my perception of Rosie in the first novel. Don’s friends’ however were a little more interesting and engaging.

 

Overall a little laboured, a little too many contrived situations to illustrate Don’s “special needs” and not enough interaction between Rosie and Don. Maybe my expectations were a little too high – I did so enjoy the first book.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Amnesia – Peter Carey

 Not a read for me.

Amnesia; Peter Carey

Amnesia; Peter Carey

 

Amnesia

Peter Carey

Hamish Hamilton

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9781926428604

 

Description:

It was a spring evening in Washington DC; a chilly autumn morning in Melbourne; it was exactly 22.00 Greenwich Mean Time when a worm entered the computerised control systems of hundreds of Australian prisons and released the locks in many places of incarceration, some of which the hacker could not have known existed.

 

Because Australian prison security was, in the year 2010, mostly designed and sold by American corporations the worm immediately infected 117 US federal correctional facilities, 1,700 prisons, and over 3,000 county jails. Wherever it went, it traveled underground, in darkness, like a bushfire burning in the roots of trees. Reaching its destinations it announced itself: THE CORPORATION IS UNDER OUR CONTROL. THE ANGEL DECLARES YOU FREE.

 

Has a young Australian woman declared cyber war on the United States? Or was her Angel Worm intended only to open the prison doors of those unfortunates detained by Australia’s harsh immigration policies? Did America suffer collateral damage? Is she innocent? Can she be saved?

 

Peter Carey’s masterful new novel, AMNESIA.

 

My View:

It took me a little time to engage with this narrative – I thought the first few chapters were rather hard work and I felt a bit mislead by the blurb (which purported a tale about espionage and cyber terrorism – when ok – that was in the mix but not really not the main emphasis of the book, not what I thought this book was about) and the recommendation on the cover by Carmen Callil says:”…I laughed and laughed, too.” Sorry I saw this as rather a bleak and down beat narrative, and definitely no sense of humour deployed here, no ray of sunshine at all. So I was confused, this was not the book I was expecting.

The intro was laboured… then it started to flow… a little. But did not engage me.

I think that Carey used this narrative to remark on a few contemporary issues- the power of the press, freedom of speech/print, commentary on the White Australia policy and its wider effect on the community, racial prejudice in general, bullying and relationships. Mostly however I felt cheated; the writing was down beat, the characters weren’t very likable and narrative had no uplifting moments and was not the book I thought I was going to be reading. On the positive side – this is the first book by Carey that I have read where the book reads as the words are typed – I didn’t have to try and work out hidden meanings, metaphors; visual or otherwise- it was what is was – I think, maybe… or did I miss something? This one was not for me.

 

Post Script: When The Night Comes – Favel Parrett

Evocative. Transforming. Gentle. Powerful.

When the Night Comes

When the Night Comes

Favel Parrett

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733626586

 

Description:

The hauntingly beautiful story of a young girl transformed by the power of kindness from award-winning author Favel Parrett.

 

Running away from the mainland was supposed to make their lives better. But, for Isla and her brother, their mother’s sadness and the cold, damp greyness of Hobart’s stone streets seeps into everything.

Then, one morning, Isla sees a red ship. That colour lights her day. And when a sailor from the ship befriends her mother, he shares his stories with them all – of Antarctica, his home in Denmark and life on board. Like the snow white petrels that survive in the harshest coldest place, this lonely girl at the bottom of the world will learn that it is possible to go anywhere, be anything. But she will also find out that it is just as easy to lose it all.

For Isla, those two long summers will change everything.

Favel Parrett delivers an evocative and gently told story about the power fear and kindness have to change lives.

 

My View:

This is a beautifully written book – I loved the language, the style, the characters, the setting … the realistic optimism this work conveys. This narrative reminds me that there are kind, gentle, thoughtful, sensitive people in the world and if you think hard enough you will be able to identify some in your own life that have eased the way for you; these are remarkable people and this book pays homage to these memories.

 

Ms Parrett takes you on a journey – literally and figuratively – we journey with the crew of the MS Nella Dan – a ship that is home to so many, filled with extraordinary characters, where we learn you don’t have to be related to be part of a family. We journey with Isla as she is shown a different path, one of light and inspiration and happiness through storytelling, thoughtfulness, inclusivity and kindness.

This is a beautifully executed book that takes you to new places and adventures- Antarctica, Hobart Tasmania, Denmark and the classroom – where we are reminded that some teachers do make a difference. I loved the descriptions of the of foreign landscapes in this book – in particular the description of the snow kestrels is haunting and evocative, the “little angels come down from the sky and fly around you…I closed my eye and dreamt of falling snow that turned to pure white birds. I watched each snowflake fly away one by one, and I wished I had wings so that I could go with them. I wish that I could follow.” Beautiful.

Post Script: Foreign Soil – Maxine Beneba Clarke

Brutal. Raw. Jagged. Insightful.

Foreign Soil

Foreign Soil

Maxine Beneba Clarke

Hachette Australia

ISBN: 9780733632426

 

Description:

In this collection of award-winning stories, Melbourne writer Maxine Beneba Clarke has given a voice to the disenfranchised, the lost, the downtrodden and the mistreated. It will challenge you, it will have you by the heartstrings. This is contemporary fiction at its finest.

 

Winner of the Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award 2013.

 

In Melbourne’s Western Suburbs, in a dilapidated block of flats overhanging the rattling Footscray train-lines, a young black mother is working on a collection of stories.

 

The book is called FOREIGN SOIL. Inside its covers, a desperate asylum seeker is pacing the hallways of Sydney’s notorious Villawood detention centre, a seven-year-old Sudanese boy has found solace in a patchwork bike, an enraged black militant is on the war-path through the rebel squats of 1960s’ Brixton, a Mississippi housewife decides to make the ultimate sacrifice to save her son from small-town ignorance, a young woman leaves rural Jamaica in search of her destiny, and a Sydney schoolgirl loses her way.

 

The young mother keeps writing, the rejection letters keep arriving…

 

 

 

My View:

Ms Clarke writes with a passion that explodes on the page. This collection of short stories, is, for the main part brutal and savage and for me the experience was mind opening… many of the circumstances described here are familiar, we have seen something like this on the TV or heard on the news but have become desensitised to and have switched off or ignored. Here you cannot ignore the story; the style and the intensity of the writing will ensure these narratives stay with you long after you finish turning the pages.

 

If I was recommending this book to you I would suggest you start from the middle or towards the end as I found the authors voice to be easier to read than in the first few stories (the first few are spoken with accents that I am unfamiliar with and I really had to study the words to understand some of the conversations.) For me this was a distraction to the purpose of the prose but that speaks to my experiences or lack of. I think some of these stories should be told not read for best effect.

 

Regardless of where you start reading, just start. These are voices that need to be heard. Ms Clarke has delivered a brutal and honest message that might at times be uncomfortable to read but is worth the effort.

Read Along With Me – The Indies 2015 Shortlisted Titles

I have decided to set myself a reading challenge – to read the books shortlisted by the Independent Books Sellers –  for the The Indies Book Awards 2015. I don’t know that I will  able to read all before the winners are announced but I will  give it a try!  A few I have read in the recent past…some are now sitting on my kitchen table expecting to be picked up and loved very soon. Join me and post your reviews. Read one …or one category or read them all.

More info here:

 

THE INDIE BOOK AWARDS 2015 SHORTLIST ANNOUNCEMENT

 

Every December the 170+ independent Australian booksellers that make up Leading Edge Books take stock of the year in books and nominate their favourite Australian titles for the Indie Book Awards shortlist. The shortlist falls into four categories – fiction, non-fiction, debut fiction and children’s and YA books.

 

The Indie Book Awards shortlists for 2015 are as follows:

 

FICTION SHORTLIST:

When the Night Comes by Favel Parrett (Hachette Australia)

Amnesia by Peter Carey (Penguin Books Australia)

Golden Boys by Sonya Hartnett (Penguin Books Australia) 

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion (Text Publishing)

 

NON- FICTION SHORTLIST:

This House of Grief by Helen Garner (Text Publishing)

Bush by Don Watson (Penguin Books Australia)

Where Song Began by Tim Low (Penguin Books Australia)

Cadence by Emma Ayres (ABC Books, HarperCollins Publishers Australia)

 

CHILDREN’S & YA SHORTLIST:

The 52-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (illus)(Pan Macmillan Australia)

Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Australia)

Withering-By-Sea by Judith Rossell (ABC Books, HarperCollins Publishers Australia)

Laurinda by Alice Pung (Black Inc. Publishing)

 

DEBUT FICTION SHORTLIST:

Lost & Found by Brooke Davis (Hachette Australia)

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clark (Hachette Australia)

The Strays by Emily Bitto (Affirm Press)

After Darkness by Christine Piper (Allen & Unwin)

 

Judges from the Leading Edge group of booksellers will select the Indie Book Award winner of each category and the Indie Book Awards overall winner is voted on by the Leading Edge group as a whole.

 

The Indie Book Awards category winners and the Indie Book Awards overall winner for 2015 will be announced at an event in the Sydney CBD on Wednesday 25 March.