Category Archives: Gilling Tom

Dreamland by Tom Gilling

DATE FINISHED: July 28th, 2012 

RATED: ***

SYNOPSIS:  A seven year relationship has washed up to nothing, a career in journalism has been equally lacking in impetus. When Nick, against his better judgment, agrees to lie about a speeding ticket to get an old friend off the hook, he has no idea just how much the incident will change his so-so life. The speeding ticket turns into a fatal hit and run, and with no evidence of his innocence, Nick takes to the road and picks up a stranger’s identity en route.

THOUGHTS:  My main reason for picking up this book was the author – he wrote the wonderfully light historical novel Miles McGinty, and I hoped he might bring a similarly light touch to this mystery thriller, Read more of this post

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TBR – latest additions:

The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson

Has actually been sitting on my bookshelf for a while, but is in danger of being read before too long due to some new discoveries with similar themes/backgrounds that have recently caught my attention.  In this story, Bartholomew Fortuno is one of Barnum’s collection of sideshow ‘freaks’.

The Devil’s Footprints by John Burnside

Not really sure quite how much I want to read this one, but with A Summer of Drowning unexpectedly entering my list of all-time favourites it would be foolhardy not to at least try one of his earlier novels (with the exception of The Dumb House which I read and did not enjoy – despite a promising premise – about 15 years ago).

Among the Wonderful by Stacy Carlson

Another Barnum-based tale of personal transformation.

The Romance of the Thin Man and the Fat Lady by Robert Coover

One of Penguin’s recently issued Mini Modern Classics Series (£3 each), the title of this one says it all.

Dreamland by Tom Gilling

This looks completely different to Gilling’s last novel (Miles McGinty) but I loved that one so much that I must try this one, upon discovering it exists.  More of a thriller, but I’m always trying to find a crime novel that I might like so maybe this one will fit the bill…?

Past the Shallows by Favel Parrett

Another well-reviewed Australian discovery – sounds like a coming-of-age kind of story – this one is not published until the end of August.

Little People by Jane Sullivan

Along with three of the first four titles on this list, there is a Barnum connection in this story of General Tom Thumb as his troupe tours Australia (neatly dovetailing with another of my pet themes).

Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany

From the reviews, I am not certain I will like this one, but I enjoyed Tiffany’s first novel Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, so I am interested to see how she has developed.  And I loved the cover of this book, so had to splash out on the hardback.

The Habits of the House by Fay Weldon

This was released in June & I can’t believe I’ve only just heard of it!  But as I have a bit of a hit & miss relationship with her (review of Kehua) I will probably wait for the paperback.

The Hanging Garden by Patrick White
The Solid Mandala by Patrick White
The Vivisector by Patrick White

These are on the ‘maybe-maybe not’ pile, and will be largely dependent on how I get on with A Fringe of Leaves.  The Hanging Garden was unfinished at the time he died so already interesting from that perspective.

Lighthousekeeping by Jeanette Winterson

DATE FINISHED: June 22nd, 2012 

RATED: ****

SYNOPSIS:  Orphaned Silver is apprenticed to lighthousekeeper Pew, and in the darkness of the lighthouse she finds stories hang in the air like seaspray. From Pew she learns about Babel Dark, the minister son of the man who built the lighthouse, and his own haunted tale of love and duality. And eventually Silver follows the trail to find a love of her own.

THOUGHTS:  Winterson’s musical prose weaves back and forth through time, painting vivid pictures of darkness and light, past and present but avoiding extraneous detail: a watercolour wash of dreamlike images. Read more of this post

English Passengers by Matthew Kneale

DATE FINISHED: May 27th, 2012

RATED: **** 

SYNOPSIS:  A Manx smuggling ship sees its way out of a tight spot by offering itself up to charter. When the initial plan to offload its travellers fails dismally, Captain Illiam Quilliam Kewley eventually concedes that the only way out of his current conundrum is indeed to take his ragbag assortment of English Passengers all the way to Tasmania, on their doomed-to-failure plan to discover the original Garden of Eden. As their lengthy journey commences, the story is interspersed with the narrative of Peevay, who provides the voice of the aboriginal in an also-doomed fight against the colonial invasion. Eventually the two stories collide.

THOUGHTS: Kneale uses multiple narrators to advance his story, shifting every few pages between different voices.  Surprisingly, this works, as Kneale has a gift for characterisation, Read more of this post

Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster

DATE FINISHED: October 5th, 2011             

RATED: *** (3.5)

SYNOPSIS:  9 year old Walt is plucked from the streets of St. Louis by the mysterious Master Yehudi, and promised that he will be taught how to fly. At a farm in Kansas, Walt is put through a tortuous 33 step program but his sharp wit sees him through, and after he stops fighting, realises that for the first time he is in the midst of a family that loves him. But with flight achieved and showbusiness stardom beckoning, is the future really as bright as it seems?

THOUGHTS:  On one level, I really enjoyed this book. Walt and Master Yehudi are great characters, and the story sucked me in immediately. Read more of this post

Neverendings e-zine #1: Antipodean fiction

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Click here for FREE neverendings e-zine of reviews ( titles as listed below) & further reading suggestions

 

  • Oscar and Lucinda – Peter Carey
  • The Potato Factory – Bryce Courtenay
  • Strandloper – Alan Garner
  • Miles McGinty – Tom Gilling
  • The Bone People – Keri Hulme
  • Snake – Kate Jennings
  • Sixty Lights – Gail Jones
  • Remembering Babylon – David Malouf
  • Pobby and Dingan – Ben Rice
  • Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living – Carrie Tiffany

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Lists are not intended to be all-encompassing, but representative of books I have personally read and enjoyed.  Feel free to post further reading suggestions in the comments, as I will update the list with my future reading.  I will also link reviews as I re-read & they are added to the site.