Good Reading : October 2008
my say DIRECTOR: MICHAEL GOW DESIGNER: ROBERT KEMP LIGHTING DESIGNER: JO CURREY PLAYHOUSE • QPAC 13 OCT–1 NOV 2008 Tue 6.30pm, Wed-Sat 7.30pm Matinees: 1pm Wed and 2pm Sat Book Now QTIX 136 246 or online www.qldtheatreco.com.au Tickets: $39-$59 • Under 27: $27 CAST: PAUL BISHOP, TIM DASHWOOD, PENNY EVERINGHAM, JANE HARDERS, BRYAN PROBETS, FRANCESCA SAVIGE, GEORGINA SYMES, LEO WOCKNER Assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. QUEENSLAND THEATRE COMPANY PRESENTS October in the book industry means Christmas is approaching and if you visit your local bookshop you’ll find booksellers tail up and head down, opening box upon box of new releases.This is the beginning of an onslaught of books and many publishers save up their big authors for this busy time. I spent a very pleasant afternoon recently with a number of prominent Sydney booksellers, who took a well-earned long lunch.We were invited to Susan Duncan’s house in Lovett Bay, Pittwater (a calm and beautiful part of Sydney) for lunch. Susan lives in a beautiful house which is accessible only by boat. After a short ride in a pink water taxi we trailed up the many steps leading through the bushy path to the house which sits among very tall and straight gum trees.These majestic trees envelop the house, seeming to protect it from the world. Breathless from the climb, I stood on the veranda taking respite and sucking in the atmosphere. Looking through those beautifully smooth, mottled trunks to the calm water of Lovett Bay made me think about those who live there.With only 13 houses in the bay, all backing onto a national park (which means living with the fear of bushfires), this is a place you dream about – but you might think twice about actually living the dream. If you’ve read Susan’s first book, Salvation Creek, you’d know this really was her salvation.The book won the 2007 Booksellers Choice Award, and deservedly so. I found Salvation Creek compelling, upsetting, down-to-earth and searingly honest, amusing, inspiring and – as Maggie Tabberer puts it – gutsy. Gutsy is such a good word for Susan Duncan, who seemed to have it all before suddenly having her world turned upside down by the death of her brother and husband in quick succession followed by breast cancer.This is a book from the heart. Susan is just like you, or a neighbour or a friend. She is welcoming, natural, and eager to chat about you, not about her. Food, wine and people are important in her life. She finds humour in so many things and is seeking to live for every second. Better to die doing something rather than in bed, as she says. Her new book Salvation House is published this month and sits at the top of the pile at my bedside. I’m even more enthralled as the house Susan lives in also belonged to Dorothea Mackellar, the much loved Australian poet. Since you last heard from me I’ve added another classic to my read list, The Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger. I can see why this book is a rite of passage for so many. As much as I appreciated the book I found myself waiting for something to happen. But maybe that was the point. As you may have read in ‘your say’ this month a reader has been kind enough to send me a book she loves. It’s not one I’ve heard of before so I’m keen to give it a go. I look forward to sharing it with you. I’d love to hear what you’re reading too!