Category Archives: Hospital Janette Turner

Snake by Kate Jennings

DATE FINISHED: July 25th, 2012 

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS:  This is the story of a marriage between polar opposites, dissatisfaction snaking through it from the start.  Rex is a solid man of earth, accepting of disappointments, and simply looking to settle into his own corner of land.  Irene is flighty as the air and soon resentful of the man and life she has tied herself to.  As the children grow up, Rex and Irene grow further apart under a scorching, suffocating sun.

THOUGHTS:  This deceptively simple story is built up through a chain of vividly realised images – the stark landscape, the hollow lives, the hope and the melancholy. Read more of this post

Oops – almost forgot the April Retrospective!

A summary of the books I read in April (which turned out to be an excellent month!), with links to reviews:

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki – 4/5
A surprisingly touching and thought-provoking ‘retrospective’ of a career conman – not at all what I expected.

Small Island by Andrea Levy – 4/5
Re-read as this was the book I chose to give away for World Book Night. A very warm & rewarding story of immigrants settling in London after the war; far more satisfying than the author’s more recent The Long Song.

The Manual of Darkness by Enrique de Heriz – 3.5/5
The story of a magician who must come to terms with a sudden blindness. Lots of interesting aspects.

JOINT BOOK OF THE MONTH: 
The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson – 4.5/5
Annie and Buster (Child A and Child B) have grown up playing integral roles in their parents’ performance artwork. As young adults they are trying to find their own places in the world; but when their parents suddenly disappear, everything is once more thrown into disarray. Really enjoyed this.

Was by Geoff Ryman – 4/5
The ‘true’ story of a little girl called Dorothy Gale, growing up in a bleak Kansas of the 1870s, and the repercussions over the next century and beyond. Several intertwining stories; a fascinating read.

JOINT BOOK OF THE MONTH: 
Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital – 4.5/5
A small town in the Australian outback (once the home to an enigmatic, charismatic stranger called Oyster, and his followers) holds more secrets than you might imagine. A claustrophobic, and beautifully written story – one of my longest-standing TBRs, it was definitely worth the wait!

The Angel of Brooklyn by Janette Jenkins – 3.5/5
The Angel of Brooklyn is the star of Coney Island until she is whisked away by Lancashire Lad Jonathan, to the small village of Anglezarke. When all the men from the village sign up to do their bit for ‘the Great War’, tensions rise among the women they leave behind. It’s a light-ish read that didn’t quite hit the mark for me, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon – unfinished
I got hold of a paperback copy of this (one of my longest-standing TBRs) in case it was the heft of the hardback copy that was putting me off.  I read & enjoyed a couple of chapters but it has once more been consigned to the future TBR pile.  Just not in the right frame of mind for this one, currently

Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital

DATE FINISHED: April 26th, 2012

RATED: **** (4.5)

SYNOPSIS:  Outer Maroo is a town on the edge of nowhere, not found on any map.  Outer Maroo is suspicious of strangers, and holds a secret beneath its suffocating, rainless sky. One stranger, Oyster, one day found his way beyond the town’s defences, and Oyster’s Reef brought even more strangers into the fold. But the secrets grew, too, and eventually the strangers grew fewer again.

THOUGHTS:   Despite the vast openness of the Australian outback, Oyster projects an intense claustrophobia. Read more of this post

stepping into a story

“I know only too well the extent to which maps are magic systems.  I know all about the hocus-pocus of precision instruments and of time.  To put this another way, stepping into a story or constructing a map are much the same thing; and both are like tossing a stone at a window: the cobwebby lines fan out from the point of impact in all directions at once. “

from Oyster by Janette Turner Hospital

Will I ever read these books?

 I collect books.  If it looks interesting, for whatever reason, it finds a home on my shelves.  Usually, eventually, I get around to reading it.  Sometimes, a particular interest may have passed, or something no longer appeals, so I remove it from the shelf & pass it onwards (unread books are sad and lonely creatures: far better to find a new and loving home).  But there are some books which I really do want to read, but somehow never quite have the impetus to pick up and…read.  Some I have started and put back to try again at another time; others have not even made it that far.  But I definitely do not want to move them on.

Although I have no intention of making a resolution to read my languishing books asap (books should only be read when the time is right, for best results!), I thought that making a note of them for myself might somehow nudge them closer to their time.  The current books I have in this category are: Read more of this post