Book re­views

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - PLANNER -

In 1966, 22-year-old Richard Gold­stein per­suaded New York’s Vil­lage Voice edi­tor the news­pa­per needed a rock critic, and pro­ceeded to write about all the ma­jor play­ers at the time: Dy­lan, Warhol, Mailer, Len­non, the Stones, Hen­drix and the Beach Boys. He took part in Martin Luther King’s peace march on Wash­ing­ton, but was so ex­hausted he dozed through the “I have a dream” speech. He stayed at the Grate­ful Dead’s house in Haight-Ash­bury and fol­lowed The Doors and Ja­nis Jo­plin on tour. The au­thor stresses that this fas­ci­nat­ing ac­count of the sex, drugs and rock’n’roll of the era is not a his­tory, but per­sonal rec­ol­lec­tions of ex­cit­ing times — the Vel­vet Un­der­ground did play at his wed­ding and the hon­ey­moon was at the Mon­terey Pop Fes­ti­val. There’s no false mod­esty re­gard­ing what the au­thor sees as his part in it all, but it does give the lie to the “if you can re­mem­ber the ’60s you weren’t there” line. Kit Galer


Les­lie Parry Ha­chette, $30 This is a thrilling car­ni­val gothic, set in New York and Coney Is­land at the end of the 19th cen­tury. All the el­e­ments you might ex­pect are here — a lu­natic asy­lum, or­phans and foundlings, sideshow freaks, opium dens, way­ward girls and seedy water­side bars. Three main char­ac­ters take us through events: some­time street boxer “Dog­boy” Syl­van, who finds s an aban­doned baby; car­ni­val artist Odile, who is search­ing for her miss­ing twin sis­ter; and Al­phie, who wakes up in a lu­natic asy­lum with no idea how she got there. Each time a char­ac­ter takes up the tale, more se­crets are re­vealed and the threads that connect them are drawn tighter. The sto­ry­telling is richly de­tailed and at­mo­spheric, with dark, com­plex char­ac­ters who draw you in. A cou­ple of plot mo­ments don’t work, but they’re a mi­nor de­tail in a vi­brant, creepy, riv­et­ing jour­ney. Corinna Hente


Philip Kerr Ha­chette Australia, $30 Wel­come to the 10th visit to the morally am­bigu­ous world of Bernie Gun­ther, a for­mer Ber­lin po­lice de­tec­tive, con­scripted into Hitler’s SS. How does a de­cent man sur­vive in such an en­vi­ron­ment? Does bring­ing a lit­tle good into such an evil world jus­tify see­ing Gun­ther as a hero? This episode be­gins in 1942 when the cracks are start­ing g to show in Nazi supremacy, then moves to 1943 when de­featd f t looms large. Joseph Goebbels sum­mons Gun­ther to help en­sure the beau­ti­ful actress Dalia Dres­ner ap­pears in his next movie. The mission takes Gun­ther to the sec­tar­ian hor­rors of Yu­goslavia and the covert in­trigues of a neu­tral Switzer­land. He finds a path through it all but is far from un­scathed, and must weigh the con­se­quences of stay­ing alive against car­ry­ing out the ques­tion­able wishes of Nazi gen­er­als. How to stay on the right side of Goebbels and keep your in­tegrity? Barry Reynolds

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.