Good Reading : April 2008
Addition Toni Jordan This book should be called addiction.That’s what Grace Vandenberg has: an addiction to counting that has taken over her life. Every step, every object, every meal, every routine is measured, added or timed. Grace justifies her counting as a way of acknowledging the value of each moment lived.The problem is life is slipping her by in a haze of numbers. On leave from her teaching job, Grace rarely ventures out of the house except for cake (at 10:30am every day) and shopping (at 8:45am on Saturdays). One thing she hasn’t counted on is Seamus O’Reilly, a man with incredibly sexy hands and a decidedly unordered existence. Around him, Grace’s numbers scatter and her calculated world unravels. Addition is a strange equation. Laden with numbers and scientific factoids, Toni Jordan’s debut novel should be more difficult to read. Instead, it’s an empathetic journey, both heartbreaking and hilarious, as we muddle with Grace through falling in love, group therapy with the Germaphobics and the side-effects of anti-depressants. Something about this heroine is a fictional marvel, having equally complicated relationships with the inexplicably saintly Seamus and her long-dead hero, the brilliant but eccentric scientist Nikola Tesla. However you calculate it, Addition is a pleasure. ★★★★ Text $29.95 Reviewed by Elizabeth McIntyre What Was Lost Catherine O’Flynn It’s hard to believe that this is a first novel. O’Flynn writes with the assured confidence of a veteran, and her book is funny and profound, intriguing and emotionally satisfy- ing. It begins in 1984 with the story of Kate Meaney, a ten-year-old would-be detective, who haunts the local shopping centre – a newly-built suburban wasteland in England’s grimy city of Bir mingham – with her ‘Top Secret’ notebook and her assistant, Mickey the toy monkey, observing suspects. Then one day Kate disappears, and her neighbour’s son Adrian is under suspicion. He too then disappears. Twenty years later, Adrian’s sister Lisa is working in a record store in the same shopping centre when Kurt, a security guard at the centre, sees the blurred image of a little girl with a toy monkey on the CCTV monitors. Shortly afterwards, Lisa finds a toy monkey in one of the deserted security corridors. And so the mystery of what happened to Kate all those years ago begins to surface, slowly rising from the murky depths of the misnamed Green Oaks shopping centre. Out of the soulless altar to mammon and the sad, lonely people who haunt it O’Flynn has woven a wonderful, life-affir ming tale. 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Change of Heart JODI PICOULT ** AUTHOR TOUR IN MAY ** Out this month from Allen & Unwin Purchase specially marked novels and receive another book free!* *terms and conditions apply, for more information visit www.vividﬁction.com.au And coming in May. . .