Monday, September 27, 2010

Freedom: A Novel, Jonathan Franzen

I cannot rave enough about Freedom, it is absolutely brilliant. Franzen has produced another insightful family drama with characters and relationships that continue to resonate long after I turned the last page. Walter Berglund is a bike riding environmental lawyer, and Patty rebels against her high profile Democrat family and chooses to devote herself to her children rather than pursue a career. Both try to create a perfect world for their children but of course mistakes are made. Richard the enigmatic musician and Walter’s best friend is a constant presence (and source of friction) in their lives. At times funny, at times tragic but always totally engaging. Freedom is a testament to Franzen’s literary genius and is destined to become a modern classic.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Our Tragic Universe, Scarlett Thomas

From the author of the brilliant, physics-inspired sci-fi-ish novel The End of Mr Y comes Our Tragic Universe. Looking at it one way, not a lot happens in this book. But if you look at it at a certain angle a whole mess of ideas (some unfinished and others half-realised) come spilling out. The protagonist, Meg, is struggling to write her ‘proper’ novel – instead distracted by the formulaic genre novels she churns out to pay for her rather meagre existence, which amounts to a damp flat in Devon with her unemployed (and quite frankly rather whingy) boyfriend Christopher and her dog B (who is very intelligent) and a cast of brilliantly curious characters (including a mysterious Beast). Lit up in lights, screaming at her for attention is the uncomfortable (but pleasurable) truth about the kiss Meg shared with the handsome, older, curator of the local museum (and how she mostly wishes it would happen again). Thomas leads us down one-way streets, to dead ends, leaves one three-page, involved philosophical musing to head off down another. She explores the mechanics and methods of writing – the ‘storyless story’, the death of the author, metafiction – as well as philosophy, Zen Buddhism, poltergeists, magic, ships in bottles, fame and whether or not we’re actually all living in some kind of fictional Second World without ever knowing it.

What happens in Our Tragic Universe is what happens after Meg reads a book she thinks she’s supposed to review and it turns out hadn’t ever sent it to her to review in the first place.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September Bookclub : Jasper Jones

The bookclub book for September is Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey (Allen & Unwin)
Wednesday 29th September at 8pm and we meet at Corner Shop, on the corner of Ballarat and Canterbury streets, Yarraville.
Jasper Jones is highly acclaimed, and was one of our favourite books of 2009. We are offering all customers 10% off Jasper Jones for the month of September.

Overall Winner, Indie Book of the Year Award 2009
Winner, Indie Book of the Year 2009 - Fiction
Shortlisted, Miles Franklin Literary Award 2010
Shortlisted, 2010 NSW Premier's Literary Award - Christina Stead Prize for fiction
Shortlisted, 2009 Western Australia Premier's Literary Award (Fiction)