Book Review: Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman

Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman

Following years of unrequited love, an out-of-work school teacher takes matters into his own hands, triggering a chain of events neither he nor his psychiatrist could have anticipated. At once a psychological thriller and a social critique, Seven Types of Ambiguity is a story of obsessive love in an age of obsessive materialism. 

COMMENTS

Beautifully written. The writer has a brilliant turn of phrase. For our little book club though, this book was a struggle.  We found its volume a little overwhelming and struggled to connect with any of the characters.  We liked the premise; we liked the way the story was told from each character’s point of view and how new pieces of the puzzle were revealed with each person as they told their version of the story.  We also found it fascinating that two people could be in the same situation and both see it so very differently.  However, towards the end of the novel, the changing of views, brought with it a lot of repetitiveness and it felt cumbersome. 

Overall, we would recommend this to readers who have time to read and are not reading to a deadline.  As even with an extension, many of our readers still struggled to get this one finished.

READ BY

6.5/10 – Cultcha Club Book Club

 

Book Review: The Wife Drought

The Wife Drought by Annabel Crabb

Book Summary

‘I need a wife’

It’s a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it’s not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It’s a potent economic asset on the work front. And it’s an advantage enjoyed – even in our modern society – by vastly more men than women. 

Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain.

But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don’t men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that – for men – still block the exits? 

The Wife Drought is about women, men, family and work. Written in Annabel Crabb’s inimitable style, it’s full of candid and funny stories from the author’s work in and around politics and the media, historical nuggets about the role of ‘The Wife’ in Australia, and intriguing research about the attitudes that pulse beneath the surface of egalitarian Australia.

Crabb’s call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that’s long overdue. 

Continue reading

Book Review: Salt Creek

Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar

Book Summary

Some things collapse slow, and cannot always be rebuilt, and even if a thing can be remade it will never be as it was. 

Salt Creek, 1855, lies at the far reaches of the remote, beautiful and inhospitable coastal region, the Coorong, in the new province of South Australia. The area, just opened to graziers willing to chance their luck, becomes home to Stanton Finch and his large family, including fifteen-year-old Hester Finch. 

Once wealthy political activists, the Finch family has fallen on hard times. Cut adrift from the polite society they were raised to be part of, Hester and her siblings make connections where they can: with the few travellers that pass along the nearby stock route – among them a young artist, Charles – and the Ngarrindjeri people they have dispossessed. Over the years that pass, and Aboriginal boy, Tully, at first a friend, becomes part of the family. 

Stanton’s attempts to tame the harsh landscape bring ruin to the Ngarrindjeri people’s homes and livelihoods, and unleash a chain of events that will tear the family asunder. As Hester witnesses the destruction of the Ngarrindjeri’s subtle culture and the ideals that her family once held so close, she begins to wonder what civilization is. Was it for this life and this world that she was educated? 

Continue reading

Book Review: Nine Perfect Strangers

Nine Perfect Strangers

Liane Moriarty

Summary

The retreat at health and wellness resort Tranquillum House promises total transformation. Nine stressed city dwellers are keen to drop their literal and mental baggage, and absorb the meditative ambience while enjoying their hot stone massages.

Watching over them is the resort’s director, a woman on a mission to reinvigorate their tired bodies and minds. 

These nine perfect strangers have no idea what is about to hit them.

With her wit, compassion and uncanny understanding of human behaviour, Liane Moriarty explores the depth of connection that can be formed when people are thrown together in… unconventional circumstances. 

Comments

While some of our readers liked this book, the majority felt this one fell a little flat unfortunately. 

We were looking forward to this read, considering we loved ‘Big Little Lies’ and ‘The Husband’s Secret’ amongst her others, but were left a little disappointed.

We found it a very slow start and a bit repetitive with some characters hard to engage. 

For those of us who did enjoy this book,  they likened it to a good holiday, on-the-beach read.

Read By

Cultcha Club 6/10

Book Review: Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Working Class Boy

Jimmy Barnes

Book Summary

The time I have spent writing this book has caused me a lot of pain. Sometimes because of what I have remembered about my childhood and sometimes because of what I couldn’t remember. It is funny how your mind blocks things out when those things can hurt you. There are a lot of things I wish I didn’t remember…

A household name, an Australian rock icon, the elder statesman of Ozrock – there isn’t an accolade or cliche that doesn’t apply to Jimmy Barnes. But long before Cold Chisel and Barnesy, long before the tall tales of success and excess, there was the true story of James Dixon Swan – a working class boy whose family made the journey from Scotland to Australia in search of a better life.

Working Class Boy is a powerful reflection on a traumatic and violent childhood, which fuelled the excess and recklessness that would define, but almost destroy, the rock’n’roll legend. This is the story of how James Swan became Jimmy Barnes. It is a memoir burning with the frustration and frenetic energy of teenage sex, drugs, violence and ambition for more than what you have.

Raw, gritty, compassionate, surprising and darkly funny – Jimmy Barnes’s childhood memoir is at once the story of migrant dreams fulfilled and dashed. Arriving in Australia in the Summer of 1962, things went from bad to worse for the Swan family – Dot, Jim and their six kids. The scramble to manage in the tough northern suburbs of Adelaide in the 60s would take its toll on the Swans as dwindling money, too much alcohol, and fraying tempers gave way to violence and despair. This is the story a family’s collapse, but also a young boy’s dream to escape the misery of the suburbs with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to join a rock’n’roll band and get out of town for good.

Comments

This Book gives the reader a warts and all insight into the lives of the poor and underprivileged in our country and the resilience of those like Jimmy Barnes who overcome their circumstances. This could be a depressing read but Jimmy’s sense of humour shines through.

After several attempts to document his early life as a ten pound Pom who arrived in Elizabeth in South Australia as a pre-schooler, until he left home at seventeen, he finally managed to tell his amazing story.

This is more than an autobiography; for Jimmy it was a therapeutic journey through very hard times. He has included several pages of contact details for help and support organisations to encourage those who may need help.

Shocking but realistic true portrait of growing up in Glasgow, amazing survival & black humour!

Read By

Dundas Readers – 6/10