Good Reading : October 2005
44 goodreading Here’s a selection of some of the reviews you sent in to us. Keep them coming to: firstname.lastname@example.org Sleeping Dogs Alex Jackson: Closing Out Nine Parts of Desire Sonya Hartnett Puffin $16.95 Reviewed by Mitchell Jordan Published a decade ago, Sonya Hartnett’s novel Sleeping Dogs received widespread praise from crit- ics, adults and teenagers alike. At Bonaparte, an isolated caravan park run by the peculiar Willow family, there is no five-star treatment for passing guests, most of whom quickly shy away from the desolate and eerie surrounds. But when Bow Fox, an artist with an inquisitive nature, ar rives and shows no inten- tions of leaving, the life of each member of the Willow family is uptur ned. Hartnett tells a tragic story of morality, innocence, and family loyalty turned inwards to become as rotten as a worm-ridden apple. Her characters are sharp, her language even sharper. She fires words like bullets in this simple yet explosive tale of what happens when ivory tower isolation is interfered with. Sleeping Dogs is a novel that will continue to speak to readers of all ages for decades to come. Pat Flynn Annie’s Box Randal Keynes Geraldine Brooks readers’ reviews Doubleday $22.95 Reviewed by Tessa Wooldridge UQP $16.95 Reviewed by Nicholas Wilcoxson Year 9, Maroochydore HS Fourth Estate $22.95 Reviewed by Barbara Harradine The subtitle of this book is Charles Darwin, his daughter and human evolution. Darwin and his wife Emma had ten children, eight of whom lived (Annie died at the age of ten after a distressing illness). After his voyage with the Beagle, Darwin settled down with his family and his absorbing studies of geology, plant, sea life, birds and animals. While he did not publish The Origin of the Species until 30 years after his Beagle voyage, he published books and papers on a great many related subjects. He was a remarkable man with a love of poetry and a love of lear ning, a social creature who visited and enjoyed discussions with many of the great men of Victorian society. A fascinating read, well-researched and written by Randal Keynes – a great- great grandson of Charles Darwin. This is a great adventure story. Alex Jackson – AJ – is a teenage boy on the Sunshine Coast. He and his girlfriend of two years, Becky, help each other through Year 10. AJ is a skater and loves to surf. He wants to be a good son, boyfriend, and adult but he finds it very hard, as many things don’t go his way. Then he gets picked to go on tour with the Zen skate team, which opens his eyes to adulthood, love and responsibility. Closing Out is a great book for teenagers, they will relate to it and find it so exhilarating they won’t be able to put it down. Widely-known as the author of the novels Year of Wonders and March, Geraldine Brooks honed her writing skills in the world of jour nalism. For six years she was Middle East correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, and dur- ing that period spent much time probing the lives of the women she encountered. Nine Parts of Desire, her first book, tells the stories of these Muslim women – soldiers and queens, students and homemakers, belly dancers and Western converts. Throughout the tales Brooks highlights anomalies, cruelties and injustices (as they appear to her Western eyes) in the treatment of women in the Middle East.To a non-Muslim Westerner there is certainly much that seems harsh and restrictive. However, the overwhelming impression is of the generous openness offered to Brooks by all kinds of women, who gave her gifts of friendship, hospitality and insight.