Taking on a literary classic is by no means easy, but Adelaide emerges triumphant. Her novel-within-a-novel is a poignant, richly feminist tribute to Wuthering Heights that deserves a place beside it on the shelf.
When Jean and Linda from Newtown Review of Books offered me the chance to review Debra Adelaide’s The Women’s Pages, I was delighted. Not only because I was enchanted by the idea of this book, but also because it gave me the perfect excuse to do something I’d been daydreaming about for a long time – reread Wuthering Heights.
I genuinely adored The Women’s Pages and was absolutely thrilled to see it longlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize. Here’s a link to my review – and, as always, my eternal thanks to Jean and Linda for their editorial genius.
It’s been a while between blog posts. There’s so much to write, so much to read…but where to begin? And where to end? The other day, I reread ABR’s November edition, in which Kerryn Goldsworthy, named Critic of the Month, writes about the qualities of a fine critic…
Clarity, of vision and style. Fearlessness, which is not the same thing as aggression, vanity, or bumptiousness. A sense of humour, including about oneself. The refusal to get into a rut, and indeed the ability to recognise and avoid a rut.
I’m still working on all of these things. That last one in particular.
So, yes. Although I’ve said it before – more soon.
One moonless night a few of them snuck down to the beach.
‘Come and see,’ a young farmer from Shepparton said. ‘There’s sparks in the water.’
The phosphorescence surrounded them, silver flecks of light that surged and streamed and made James and the others boyish in the night. They lost themselves in the fire-lit water, floating and dipping and splashing, holding up hands to watch the light slip off their blackened fingertips. As long as James lived he would never forget the night the sea was silvered with the white sparks. Then a bullet slapped the water and they crept back to the trenches. Before he tried to sleep in his earth-bed, James saw a shooting star and formalised the wish he’d carried with him from home: to stay alive and kill no man.
My review of Jenny Ackland’s debut novel, The Secret Son, is featured over at Newtown Review of Books today. If you’ve got a moment, why not make your way over to NRB and have a read?
Sometimes at dusk the family would sit outside the shop and stare at the wheatbin. The last caws of crows stretched with the fading light. Dusk is a crushing time for a dying town. If dawn surprises and mocks with hopelessness, the suggestion that light might lift it all, then dusk is worn out and can’t be bothered taunting. Crow’s breath, the maintenance workers called it, enough to singe the bin’s whitewash. And when that goes, this town will sink under the murk.
Hey, look – it’s a new review!
Just last week, I shared my thoughts on John Kinsella’s “chilling, funny and captivating” short story collection, Crow’s Breath over at Newtown Review of Books. I’d love it if you’d go and have a read.
My thanks, as always, go to Linda and Jean from NRB for hosting me.
Today you’ll find me over at Newtown Review of Books, writing about The Abyssinian Contortionist, David Carlin’s biography of Ethiopian-born circus performer, Sosina Wogayehu. I loved writing about this book as much as I loved reading it (spoiler alert, sorry), so I’d love it if you clicked here and had a look at my review. There’s a video of Sosina performing for Circus Oz that’s definitely worth watching!
(Huge thanks to Jean and Linda from NRB for having me!)
In other news, today is Thomas Hardy’s birthday and Hardy fan and scholar, Justin-Paul Sammons is launching The Wessex Cycle – a reading project spanning two years (and seven months!) in which he’ll be re-reading Hardy’s works. If you’d like to join in, head over to the Wessex Cycle blog and sign up. I’m a huge Hardy fan, so I’m definitely in! Expect to see a few posts about Thomas Hardy over the next two years, seven months…
Plus, there’s another reading project I wanted to mention, although I’m a little late. Jane Rawson, author of A Wrong Turn at the Office of Unmade Lists is encouraging people to read as many books as possible during June and July to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. The Just Read Marathon began yesterday and goes through until the 31st of July – and it’s such a brilliant idea, I’m seriously considering joining in even though I’m already a couple of days behind. Here’s the official Just Read site.
I’ll have more Emerging Writers’ Festival updates very soon, but in the meantime, thank you and welcome to everyone who’s visited Book to the Future for the first time in the past couple of days. Grab a cup of tea and settle in – I hope you like it here! Feel free to get in touch.