Past, Present and Future is the fortnightly series of posts in which I invite a very special guest to grab a cup of tea and come time travelling with me. I ask someone bookish to tell me about a book from their past, the book they’re reading now, and a book they’re planning to read soon. Hence the name – past, present and future.
It seems pretty much everyone’s talking about this fortnight’s guest, Julie Proudfoot. She’s the author of The Neighbour – one of four novellas published as a part of Seizure’s second Viva la Novella competition. Here’s what Julie’s been reading.
I love a good exploration of the psyche, especially by Australian women, with that essence of Australia that you won’t find anywhere else: honesty and courage. The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead, anything by Charlotte Wood, Kate Grenville, Margo Lanagan, and, always Elizabeth Jolley. I used to wonder about those layers of personality and emotion that Jolley put into her characters, what did she draw on? And now, after her passing, and new stories about Elizabeth Jolley have surfaced, it all makes sense.
I was lucky enough to interview her once for an American magazine. My instructions were to interview high profile authors. When I snapped the Elizabeth Jolley interview I was super excited (this WAS in the Eighties) but when I put it to the editors their response was that nobody in America had heard of her. So they didn’t print it. I have it on my blog now, and the most blissful part about it all was that due to Jolley’s hectic schedule at the time we ended up doing the interview by letter. (She wasn’t a fan of email.) Her assistant was on holiday so she hand-wrote the letter with the answers, and I still have that now. Anyway, did I cry the day she passed…
I can’t speak of the past without a nod to the first book I ever loved. It was given to me by my Nanna. Nanna would purchase a huge pile of tumbling books every Christmas that she placed on a trestle table for all the cousins to choose from, and we’d take it to her for her to write in. The one I love is The Rabbits’ Wedding. I love rabbits, have had many as pets, and I always weep like a sooky at weddings.
This very minute I’m in deep with Anna Krien’s Night Games. I’m reading it for Kirsten Krauth’s book club. I’m only four chapters in, and already I’m feeling uncomfortable. It’s about sex, consent and power within sport. The book centres on a rape trial after an incident that occurred during celebrations after an AFL Grand Final. We all know the kind of story; we’ve cringed as they’re displayed on our screens. It reminds me of Helen Garner’s The First Stone the way it teases out the issues that no one wants to talk about; a powerful theme. I don’t want football ruined by this stuff, but it needs to be exposed.
I’m also reading three books for a panel I’m chairing at the Bendigo Writers Festival in August entitled Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon: Kirsten Krauth’s just_a_girl, Jenny Valentish’s Cherry Bomb, and Nicole Hayes’ The Whole of My World. Each is sweet, gutsy and loveable in its own way – the books and the authors!
Dawn Barker’s Fractured waits patiently on my tall to-read pile, and I’m so looking forward to it, but I need to get on it quick because her second book has just been released. I love a good psychological analysis and that’s what I’m led to believe Fractured is, among other themes.
Genna De Bont’s Privacy is waiting on my Kindle, it’s based in country Victoria, and I love that about it. The blurb says it all to me:
For readers of thought-provoking literary fiction, this is a novel that challenges the boundaries between snooping and surveillance.
…how can you not read that?
Okay, also in my future is a book that is an interactive app. Annabel Smith’s third book, The Ark, is due out in September. It’s to be published not only as an e-book, but as an interactive app. What will this mean? Who knows, but I’m looking forward to finding out, come on September!
Last month I picked up The Loud Earth by Elisabeth Murray at The Novella Prize event at the Emerging Writer’s Festival. Elisabeth began her reading by saying ‘I’m going to lower the tone of the room now,’ with that I was hooked! I was lucky enough to chat with Elisabeth afterwards and sign each other’s books, which has to be one of the coolest things for writers to do.
I’ve opened up Murray’s book, and pulled out a sentence or two to show off, and if this is anything to go by we’re in for a ride.
…I heard her moving about, small movements that I
had taken for granted so many evenings but that could have brought me to tears. Then silence. The storm was brutal and I didn’t want it to end. It was keeping her here. It was tying her hands behind her back and gagging her with cloth…It got late. There was all this silence in the house. The blood on the floor. It was dark and they wanted me.
Julie Proudfoot’s first novel, The Neighbour, was recently published and announced as winner of the Seizure Viva La Novella Prize 2014. She will be appearing at The Bendigo Writers Festival this year as chair of the panel, Girl You’ll Be a Woman Soon and will also be hosting the official launch of The Neighbour, a free event, all welcome. Julie blogs at http://proudfootblog.com/ and you can follow her on twitter @ProudMumbles
Thanks Julie! All of these books sound excellent. Here’s a link to the Bendigo Writers Festival website, where you can find out more about Julie’s panel (I wish I could go!).