Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Fable of all our Lives

The fable of all our lives, Peter Kocan (Fourth Estate)

If you start Peter Kocan's (author of The treatment and the cure and Fresh fields) latest novel in the morning, you will find that by the time you look up and around for perhaps a cup of tea or something to eat, it will already be late in the afternoon, or perhaps even time to watch Margaret and David on a Wednesday night.

The fable of all our lives is the story of Tait, a poet who has received a prestigeous arts grant and set up his house in a small rural town and begun to integrate himself into the tight-knit community. He is also freshly released from a ten-year stint in an institution - where he was serving his life sentence for a crime we are not privvy to at the novel's open.

There are characters galore - they truly make this novel. Some quirky, others frightening, all are fascinating. Tait also explores writing, history, philosophy. It's the perfect novel - intelligent but packed with the intricacies of life - for a long Sunday reading.

And from the publisher's website:
With a rich array of characters, and a potent blend of passion, lyricism and comedy, The Fable of All Our Lives will pose for readers the same question it poses for its protagonist: to what and to whom do we choose to belong?

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Howard Jacobson has won the prestigeous Man Booker Prize* for his novel The Finkler Question.

from the publisher's website:

Julian Treslove, a professionally unspectacular and disappointed BBC worker, and Sam Finkler, a popular Jewish philosopher, writer and television personality, are old school friends. Despite a prickly relationship and very different lives, they've never quite lost touch with each other - or with their former teacher, Libor Sevick, a Czechoslovakian always more concerned with the wider world than with exam results.
Now, both Libor and Finkler are recently widowed, and with Treslove, his chequered and unsuccessful record with women rendering him an honorary third widower, they dine at Libor's grand, central London apartment. It's a sweetly painful evening of reminiscence in which all three remove themselves to a time before they had loved and lost; a time before they had fathered children, before the devastation of separations, before they had prized anything greatly enough to fear the loss of it. Better, perhaps, to go through life without knowing happiness at all because that way you had less to mourn?
Treslove finds he has tears enough for the unbearable sadness of both his friends' losses. And it's that very evening, at exactly 11:30pm, as Treslove hesitates a moment outside the window of the oldest violin dealer in the country as he walks home, that he is attacked. After this, his whole sense of who and what he is will slowly and ineluctably change.
The Finkler Question is a scorching story of exclusion and belonging, justice and love, ageing, wisdom and humanity. Funny, furious, unflinching, this extraordinary novel shows one of our finest writers at his brilliant best.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Sun Bookshop staff review of this remarkable book.

*He gets 50,000 pounds for winning this prize. That's around $80,000...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Book Signing Saturday 9th October

Brad "Johnno" Johnson, former captain of the Western Bulldogs, will be at the Sun Bookshop on

Saturday the 9th (that's tomorrow, folks!)

at 9.30am

Come along and celebrate the launch of his memoir

Johnno: Bulldog Through and Through

(Michael Joseph Publishing)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Australia's fiction

Bereft, Chris Womersley (Scribe)

It is 1919. The Great War has ended, but the Spanish flu epidemic is raging through Australia. Schools are closed, state borders are guarded by armed men and train travel is severely restricted. There are rumours it is the end of the world. In the NSW town of Flint, Quinn Walker returns to the home he fled ten years earlier when he was falsely accused of an unspeakable crime. Aware that his father and uncle would surely hang him, Quinn hides in the hills surrounding Flint. There, he meets a mysterious young girl called Sadie Fox, who encourages him to seek justice — and seems to know more about the crime than she should. A searing gothic novel of love, longing, and revenge, Bereft is about the suffering endured by those who go to war and those who are forever left behind.

Dead Man’s Chest, Kerry Greenwood (Allen & Unwin)

Travelling at high speed in her beloved Hispano-Suiza accompanied by her maid and trusted companion Dot, her two adoptive daughters Jane and Ruth and their dog Molly, The Hon Miss Phryne Fisher is off to Queenscliff. She'd promised everyone a nice holiday by the sea with absolutely no murders, but when they arrive at their rented accommodation that doesn't seem likely at all. An empty house, a gang of teenage louts, a fisherboy saved, and the mystery of a missing butler and his wife seem to lead inexorably towards a hunt for buried treasure by the sea. But what information might the curious Surrealists be able to contribute? Phryne knows to what depths people will sink for greed but with a glass of champagne in one hand and a pearl-handled Beretta in the other, no-one is getting past her.