This is a clear-eyed memoir of growing up in Australia (1935-75) with two exquisite points-of-view. The first is her evocative description of the physical geography of an 18,000-acre sheep station, 500 miles west of Sydney. The bush ethos, the virtue of loneliness and hardship, is a marked feature of her early life, along with the profound isolation (no other children as playmates).The second point-of-view comes after the death of her father and her relocation with her mother to Sydney, where she is introduced to rigid class structures and the minimal role of women in education. This is a masterpiece of place and memory.
Ferguson has written a very enjoyable mystery-thriller. There are four principal characters: an Interpol officer pursuing a mysterious “finder” who locates lost treasures, plus a jaded travel writer and a photojournalist. One of the joys of this entertaining story are the locations: the southern-most island of Japan, New Zealand, and the Australian outback. So, a winning combination of memorable characters with exotic locations. Ferguson’s writing blends wit with adventure; highly recommended.
The concluding book of the Don Tillman Trilogy finds Don, Rosie and their 11-year old son Hudson relocating to Melbourne. Hudson’s school observes some social troubles and requests an autism assessment. This stimulates Don’s formidable problem-solving abilities, the Hudson Project, to aid Hudson in acquiring skills to fit in. The story addresses important questions: is labelling useful in terms of identity; should people on the autism spectrum adjust their behaviour and thinking to match neuro-typical norms? And there is bullying and a confrontation with an anti-vaxxer parent. Overall, a compelling read, with humour and psychological insight into the complexity of human behaviour. Highly recommended.
Perhaps predictably, this library book was chosen from the new releases bookshelf entirely based on the brilliant title. The story takes place in rural Australia in the 1960s, with two vivid characters: Tom, a farmer, has been abandoned by his wife,
Rand Hannah, an Auschwitz survivor who has a dream of operating a bookshop in a small town. Theirs is an unlikely romance, a complicated relationship to be sure. The combination of complex issues in a wonderful setting is intoxicating.
A fascinating book set in three time periods: 1630s in Holland, 1958 in New York, and 2000 in Sydney. The story divulges impeccable information on art and art forgery, provided in the context of a mystery of how an original painting and its forged copy come to be reunited. Thanks Amy for giving me this book.
The Golden Age is a Convalescent Hospital for children with polio in Western Australia (1949-1959). This is a remarkable and compelling story of children forced to endure a wicked disease, an experience that makes some of the children wiser than adults. This is also a story of how children with a dread disease are treated by children, by their parents and by society at large. There are radiant and touching moments in this splendid book – highly recommended.
A chance purchase in the Auckland Airport became a very satisfying mystery. An apparent murder-suicide is presented in the context of a small town in Australia 500 km north of Melbourne, with the added complexity of a cold case from the past. The context of how heat and continuing drought and mystery affects the psychology of a place and people both individually and collectively is presented very well – a very good read.
Another sad story about the consequences of lies and guilt, set in Western Australia in the 1920s.