Good Reading : July 2009
general fiction word of mouth The Lost Boys am de Brito a an expert on th s author of the blog All Men are Liars and provocative, high-profile columnist, de Brito has carved out a niche as thirty-something male a p col A angst. This, his first novel, ploughs a similar path. It’s a coked-up, quasiautobiographical look at why refusing to grow up isn’t quite how J M Barrie imagined it. Growing up with an uncle who introduced porn to Kings Cross and a B-list celebrity father who knows every dealer in the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, Ned’s life at 15 revolves around getting Rhyming Life and Death Amos Oz R D A writer Amos Oz invites us into the mind of an anonymous fictional author for just one night. We I follow the centr w u an fo central character from a café to a public reading of his latest novel, and from there to a brief liaison with Rochele, a professional reader, and finally to his hotel room. Throughout this short journey he continually invents personalities and experiences for the people he encounters, sometimes slotting himself into their fictional lives through his imaginings. A Day and a Night and a Day y Glen Duncan will reward those who stay with it. Carefully structured around a Socratic-style di T wi w dialogue in a torture chamber etween Augustus Rose and hi his tormentor, Harper, the narrative seamlessly shifts in time and place as Rose escapes his torment by retreating into memory. He returns to his childhood and especially to his memories of the big romance which ‘turned out to be the thing his life had been waiting for’. Duncan takes us forward, too, to seam images of Augustus as a mere shell of a man seeking solitude on a bleak Scottish island. As the torture escalates, he builds his is a dark and confronting novel which n Rhyming Life and Death acclaimed Israeli laid, getting drunk and surfing with his shifty mates. Twenty years later, not much has changed – booze, bongs and babes remain the raison d’etre for Ned and the ‘friends’ he’s grown to hate. A cornucopia of early-morning kebabs, drugs, swearing at the footy, porn, cab rides home from drunken one-night stands and Sydney class-hate, The Lost Boys is a bit too monotone to achieve its apparent goal of being a kind of bogan Rabbit, Run. It won’t be for everyone – I don’t think I could quote a full sentence; Good Reading is a family magazine after all. But there’s a real honesty here and de Brito’s caustic view of masculinity is often uncomfortably familiar. ★★★ Picador $22.99 Reviewed by Daniel Herborn The novel is strongly character driven. All of the characters are skilfully drawn and all of them contribute to a fascinating study of loneliness and human frailty. What little plot there is concentrates on the question of truth or fiction surrounding the supposed seduction of Rochele by the central character, which adds an air of mystery to the novel. Rhyming Life and Death is an absolute literary triumph. The writing style is fluent and concise, and has apparently not suffered in the slightest in the translation from the original Hebrew to this English version. It’s a book that invites reflection, and readers who enjoy character-centric novels will be captivated. ★★★★ Chatto and Windus $35.00 Reviewed by Colin Field an intriguing sense of the shape of this man’s life and teases out a range of philosophical issues and tensions relating to faith and reason, and the distractions and ironies of life in the new millennium. So too does he tackle the meaning of power and the rise of terrorist movements, with the respect Augustus and Harper have for each other despite the circumstances forming one of the deeply uncomfortable central arteries of the book. A Day and a Night and a Day is ultimately a gripping read, intensely cynical and nihilistic and packed with psychological insights. In its dark mission to strip a human being back to see what, if anything, remains of him, it twists ever so slightly into something akin to a life-affirming story. ★★★ Simon & Schuster $34.99 Reviewed by Sally Denmead THE NEW LEADER IN Large Print Books ReadHowYouWant Great new titles from UQP available in large print! The Kiss of Saddam by Michelle McDonald Made in Queensland by Ross Fitgerald, Lyndon Megarrity, and David Symens Find these new Australian large print titles and thousands more at www.readhowyouwant.com.au All books should be available in any format needed, at publication for a fair price.