LIFE’S BUSY, AND YOU MAY NOT HAVE GOT TO READ ALL THE GOOD STUFF RELEASED IN 2017. HERE ARE SOME HOLIDAY STARTERS…
The e aweso awesome e reads eads you may ay have missed this year
1 LINCOLN IN THE BARDO, by George Saunders
The winner of this year’s Man Booker Prize, the most prestigious award in fiction writing, Lincoln In The Bardo is Saunders first novel after a number of acclaimed short story collections.
Set at the outset of the American Civil War, it takes as its starting point the sickness and death of President Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son Willie, and the President’s subsequent grief. What follows thereafter is a sometimes supernatural rendering of Willie’s post-life, trapped in a transitional realm – the “bardo”.
Told in multiple voices, the language and its rhythm are at first hard to comprehend but slowly, Saunders mastery of his method has drawn you into the shadow world of spirits and unsettled souls.
2 CITY OF CROWS, by Chris Womersley
Australian writer Womersley sets his novel in 17th Century Paris, where the Plague has already claimed three children of widow Charlotte Picot. She decides to flee to the countryside but on the road, her remaining child, Nicholas, is taken by slavers and she must make a deal with a woman claiming to be a witch in order to get help.
As in some of Womersley’s other work such as Bereft, the intersection of reality, magic and the occult is not always clear in a Gothic-minded, highly engrossing work.
3 FIRST PERSON, by Richard Flanagan
The first novel from the Tasmanian writer since he won the Man Booker prize in 2014 for The Narrow Road To The Deep North, First Person tells the story of penniless young writer, Kif Kehlmann, who is hired to ghost write the memoir of a notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl.
The germ of the story comes from Flanagan’s own experience as a struggling writer back in 1991, when he was approached by a publisher to ghost write the memoir of notorious fraudster John Friedrich. Where truth and fiction diverge is at the heart of the story.
4 MEN WITHOUT WOMEN, by Haruki Murakami
One of Japan’s leading literary lights, Murakami examines modern masculinity in seven stories which feature lonely hearts and late-night bars, baseball and the Beatles.
While outwardly stoic, Marukami’s men are lonely, their predicaments heightened by an emotional disconnection from the women around them. Without judgment, Marukami masterfully sheds light on the interior logics and psychological states of his protaganists, told with a wry and understated humour.
5 THE GOLDEN HOUSE, by Salman Rushdie
A novel set in New York, spanning the election of Barack Obama as US President through eight more years until a garish figure called ‘The Joker’ is about to take the top job. Wonder who he’s based on?
The story is narrated by Rene Unterlinden as he observes the world of his neighbours, the somewhat mysterious Golden family – Nero, the wealthy patriarch, and his three sons. The travails of Nero and the boys provide the impetus of the novel, as each remakes or searches for identity, with the backgrounded political landscape making it clear America is also in the midst of a search for identity.
6 THE THINGS THAT MAKE US, by Nick Riewoldt
Recently retired after a stellar career in the AFL that saw him play more than 300 games with St Kilda in the top flight, Nick Riewoldt ended his career acknowledged as one of the toughest and most talented forwards to play the game.
Along the way, Riewoldt lost his sister Maddie to the rare disease, aplastic anaemia, in 2015, her passing marked by the annual “Maddie’s Match” played between St Kilda and Richmond to find a cure for the disease.