Good Reading : March 2006
52 goodreading ı MARCH 2006 readers’ reviews Here’s a selection of some of the reviews you sent in to us. Keep them coming to: firstname.lastname@example.org Grand Ambition Joe Cinque’s Consolation Maisie Dobbs Lisa Michaels Sceptre $20.95 Reviewed by Lyn Shorter First time novelist Lisa Michaels blends true adventure into an exhilarat- ing, believable and engaging work of fiction. In 1928, Glen and Bessie Hyde set out on their honeymoon to run the rapids of the Grand Canyon in a home-made boat. Swept up by America’s obsession with feats of daring, they hope to set records (fastest time and first woman). Chapters switch between the reality of the journey from the perspective of the newlyweds, and those awaiting news of their progress. At the same time the writing cleverly drifts between present action and past history to show what drives these two individuals, creating a powerful immediacy. Seventy-five years later, in today’s ‘been there, done that’ world with very few ‘firsts’ left for intrepid adventurers, this compelling story of a dangerous and exciting journey still manages to sweep you along with it. Helen Garner How I Live Now Meg Rosoff Jacqueline Winspear John Murray $20.95 Reviewed by Alison Taylor Picador $30.00 Reviewed by Mark Young Puffin $16.95 Reviewed by Carrie Comfort This novel explores the changing fortunes of Daisy, a 13-year-old New Yorker who has been sent to England for the summer to stay with her dead mother’s family. An only child, she falls in effortlessly with her tribe of cousins, who roam the idyllic countryside with a freedom unimaginable to a New Yorker. Daisy experiences a mael- strom of new feelings, some of which, like her unnerving and instantaneous bond with cous- in Edmund, disturb her.The ante is upped by the temporary departure of Daisy’s aunt.This affects the young people little, until the unexpected outbreak of a nameless and faceless war dismantles the seemingly unconnected outside world. Only then do the teenagers realise how much their inde- pendent existence depends on the predictability of the world outside their gates. The events unfold with an almost dreamlike quality which underlines the vulner- ability of adolescence, which Rosoff captures poignantly. Helen Gar ner’s analysis of the 1997 killing of Canber ra student Joe Cinque by his girlfriend, Anu Singh, reveals the tension between law and ethics. Garner interviews many of the key players from the subsequent murder trial, including the judge and the victim’s fam- ily. One of the key questions Gar ner explores is the extent to which a duty of care has implications for our system of law. Her encounters with Justice Crispin and the Cinque family are just some of the profound engagements that emerge from this har rowing investigation. Gar ner uses a keen under- standing of her own emotional perspective to unravel the ethical knots from this real-life tragedy. These are ambitious targets, and in achieving them she delivers a literary documentary about suffering and wickedness in our times. If you enjoy Elizabeth George or Anne Per ry, you will love Maisie Dobbs. Maisie Dobbs starts her working life in ser vice to her benefactor Lady Rowan in post-World-War-1 Britain. With the aid of Mr Maurice Blanche, Lady Rowan helps Maisie become a respected psychologist and investigator. From the first word to the last this is a gripping story, not to be put down, encompassing romance, the strong bond between father and daughter, friendships and the value of the spoken and unspoken word. Winspear deals brilliantly with the issues of horrific injury, mental anguish, death and those seeking to control as Maisie investigates a ‘retreat’ established to house retur ning war-wounded heroes who no longer feel they belong. A great deal of research has gone into this book and it shows.