Folly by Alan Titchmarsh
- Though it was a bit slow in the beginning – a little boring. Glad it had a happy ending.
- The outline of the story was good, but found it hard to understand the finer details of the story, a little confusing.
- Thought it was a good book because it was British, but thought it was a little odd because the characters were still estranged after almost 50 years.
- Found the book quite interesting once the story unfolded. It was a story about lost chances and consequences.
- Liked the story so far – hasn’t finished the book.
WE WOULD RECOMMEND THE BOOK
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
A well-attended meeting of 12 members ensured there were a variety of opinions on most questions, but there was general agreement that the book was enjoyable and amusing. Some found it ‘shallow’.
Not many could name our Prime Ministers from Federation on, let alone the recent Prime Ministers of many other countries.
The group accepted the comment ’30,000 years of ocean-going seacraft’, citing Heyerdal’s Kon Tiki expedition as an example.
We felt that reading this book could have influenced how visitors (and we ourselves) experienced Australia, and agreed it does add to your enjoyment of a place you are visiting.
One member whose husband’s profession took them around Australia in three-monthly moves was most definite that you can’t properly experience a country by just touring. This was a rather superficial look at Australia. Bryson’s comments on Uluru were instanced.
We thought Bryson himself relied too heavily on his researchers, whom he himself reported as being sometimes varied in their facts.
Empire Day by Diane Armstrong
The book was easy to read and gave a good picture of life in the late 1940’s in Sydney. The issues that refugees face on arriving in a new country are universal and are still confronting individuals and society. Because of the multitude of characters, there were lots of subplots and so was not as in depth as it could have been. In many cases, the characters are quite stereotypical.
The kind of lifestyles depicted resonated with several members, whether through location (having lived in Bondi Junction) or having a refugee experience/ background, themselves.
Book Title – Love Song by Alex Miller
Seeking shelter in a Parisian cafe from a sudden rainstorm, John Patterner meets the exotic Sabiha and his carefully mapped life changes forever. Resonant of the bestselling Conditions of Faith, Alex Miller’s brilliantly realised novel tells the deeply moving story of their lives together, and of how each came undone by desire. Strangers did not, as a rule, find their way to Chez Dom, a small Tunisian cafe in Paris. Run by the widow Houria and her young niece, Sabiha, the cafe offers a home away from home for the North African immigrant workers at the great abattoirs of Vaugirard who, as with Houria and Sabiha themselves, have grown used to the smell of blood in the air. When one day a lost Australian tourist, John Patterner, seeks shelter in the cafe from a sudden Parisian rainstorm, a tragic love story begins to unfold. Years later, while living a quiet life in suburban Melbourne, John Patterner is haunted by what happened to him and Sabiha at Vaugirard. He confides his story to Ken, an ageing writer, who sees in John’s account the possibility for one last simple love story. When Ken tells his daughter this she reminds him, ‘Love is never simple, Dad. You should know that.’ He does know it. But being the writer he is, he cannot resist the lure of the story. Told with all Miller’s distinctive clarity, intelligence and compassion, Lovesong is a pitch-perfect novel, a tender and enthralling story about the intimate lives of ordinary people. Like the truly great novelist he is, Miller locates the heart of his story in the moral frailties and secret passions of his all-too-human characters.
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Book Title – The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville
The Lieutenant is the profoundly moving tale of a young soldier’s arrival in Australia on the First Fleet and the extraordinary friendship he develops with the local Aboriginal people. Daniel Rooke, soldier and astronomer, arrives in NSW in 1788. He sets up his observatory away from the main camp to begin the scientific work that he hopes will make him famous. Aboriginal people soon start to visit his isolated promontory, and a child named Tagaran begins to teach him her language. A genuine friendship forms, and Rooke has almost forgotten he is a soldier when a man is fatally wounded in the fledgling colony. The lieutenant faces a decision that will define the course of his entire life.
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