Swedish authors are incredible. If you haven’t read a book by a Swedish author, do yourself a favour – buy one and read it immediately. I was first introduced to Swedish authors when I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. It took […]
Month: November 2018
Whether you are going all out and hiring a venue and catering and the whole shebang, or if you are doing something at home with a budget, your baby shower can still ooze fabulousness, instgrammableness and loveliness! I have always loved hand-making as much as […]
Lists are my favourite. I have mentioned that several times. Lists give me direction. Lists allow me to plan. Lists let me know when I have achieved things. I have several notebooks that I use specifically for list-making. Planning a baby shower, it turns out, […]
I am a huge Jane Harper fan. Huge. Sitting alongside Kate Morton, Holly Ringland and Liane Moriarty, Jane Harper is not only one of my favourite authors, but she is one of my favourite Australian female authors. These women are who I look up to, their work is what keeps me going when my motivation waivers or my confidence drops. These are the women whose careers I respect and aim for and admire.
Jane Harper burst onto the literary scene with the 2016 best-selling The Dry, and then followed it up with the 2018 hit Force of Nature. These two titles completely changed how I see the Australian landscape, both the physical and the mental. The way that Jane Harper was able to capture the entire Australian psyche between the covers of her book is something well beyond my own comprehension. She managed to completely dissect and celebrate this country whilst reminding us of its power, its expanse and its unforgivable nature.
Unlike its two predecessors, The Lost Man does not involve Aaron Falk – the detective we were first introduced to in The Dry. Though I do love the Aaron Falk character (and ay have a slight crush on him that I don’t understand), The Lost Man completely held its own without him. Following the Bright family, we are taken the furthest into the Australian outback that Harper has taken us before where we are thrown right into the action with the death of one brother and the confusion and grief that brings his remaining two brothers.
What follows is a wonderfully descriptive mystery of figuring out how Cameron Bright met his demise way out near Stockman’s Grave. We are taken to the far corners of the Australian outback and introduced to the inner workings of a small, country town. Not only that, but the brilliant and suspenseful edge of the family drama that weaves its way through the book is in a class of its own. The Bright family’s dynamics are expertly examined, with the added intrigue and stress around what it is like for the farmers and property owners who are way ‘out bush’. The Lost Man grants us access to an Australian life that many of us will seldom know and with that in mind, Harper is educating us about our own people. And I love it. Harper’s writing brings more atmosphere than should be possible with the written word, proving for the third time around that she is absolutely a force to be reckoned with.
There is always a risk when reading a thriller, a family-drama or a mystery novel. I find that even if I am thoroughly enjoying the book, there is a niggling voice in my head wondering whether or not the major twist, the reveal, the conclusion will be worth it. I want shocking. I want unpredictable. I want to be saying, “Oh my god, yes.” When it comes to Jane Harper, however, there is absolutely no risk. The mystery stays with you right until the very last page, even when everything has been solved and sorted and pieced together. I finished this book with the same enthusiasm and excitement with which I started it, and that is rare.
Even though the descriptive language is constant, and for any other writer would be overkill, each and every sentence is necessary and relevant. Nothing is left behind. There has been a huge surge in the domestic/family drama and sexy thriller genre ever since Girl on the Train, but Jane Harper’s works stand completely on its own not only in the Australian market, but internationally as well. It is so rare that this country, its population, its vast land and its uniqueness are captured in a way that pays homage to its reality.
Enter, Jane Harper.
Well – we made it! I am 28 weeks today, marking the start of the third and final trimester. THE HOME STRETCH. All things considered, I am feeling pretty good! I definitely feel heavier and getting on and off the lounge and in and out […]
Where do I even begin?! Seriously. This year may have been hard, and challenging, and completely gut-wrenching at times, but it has also been rewarding and the most life-changing, transformative period of my life. And, I do feel that Summer 2018-19 is going to be […]
I first came across The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society when I was working in Angus & Robertson in Chatswood. It was a new release and I remember reading the back of it and feeling immediately drawn to the main character, Juliet Ashton. She is a witty writer stumped by a sever case of writer’s block. Out of the blue, she receives a letter from one Dawsey Adams of Guernsey – by chance he’s acquired a book Juliet once owned – and, emboldened by their mutual love of books, they begin a correspondence and she is introduced to the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society and its members (a colourful bunch). Juliet, emboldened and inspired by their letters opts to visit the island of Guernsey, a trip that completely turns her life upside-down.
I don’t know how I didn’t realise it before, as I flicked through the book many times during my shifts at Angus & Robertson, but the book’s story is told in its entirety through letters. Normally, I steer extremely clear of books that aren’t comprised of simple chapters – the odd letter here and there I don’t mind, but I have never been able to stick with a novel that isn’t just plain ol’ storytelling. Until now.
Not only am I madly in love with the edition that I have of Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society which I picked up second-hand from Gertrude & Alice in Bondi, but I really enjoyed this story and the way it was told – at least for the first 60-70% of the book..
Overall, I think that the book was intriguing, interesting and really beautifully compiled. Readers are actually able to derive a lot of detail from the letters which I wasn’t expecting, and the story flows really well. For me though, I need all the other text around the letters and the dialogue to really grasp a story. I have always been told that I am a very descriptive writer, and maybe that is what I subconsciously look for in a book as well. I love reading about the intricacies of an English garden, or the sound of waves crashing against a cliff face or in-depth descriptions of the way someone looks. I felt that that was missing in this book. The voice of a narrator allows for unbiased descriptions, allowing for the reader to completely control the imagery the words evoke for them whereas I found that I couldn’t picture things as they were described when it was with the voice of one of the characters. Towards the end of the book I also found that I was skipping letters from the characters whose storylines I found boring.. which isn’t a great sign.
I won’t end on a negative note though. I really loved the character of Juliet and how sassy she was. I found that I could relate to her whilst also wanting some of her traits to be my own. I also found myself very invested in her relationships with the men around her, and loved that I didn’t know who she was going to end up with. I also really want to acknowledge how different this book is, it is unlike anything I have ever read before and that deserves mentioning. For a book that had a lot of things working against it for me personally (letter form, historical setting, references to war – none of which I enjoy reading about), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society was a beautifully written book, and I want to comment on the ending, but I won’t for fear of ruining it for those of you want to read it.
Yesterday, as some of you may have seen on instagram, I had to go into hospital to have the Gestational Diabetes Test. Taken from Diabetes Australia, “Gestational diabetes mellitus (sometimes referred to as GDM) is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Most women […]