BOOK CLUB

OUT­BACK IN­TRIGUE/LOVELESS BACH­E­LOR’S AD­VICE TO BLOKES/A HEART-WRENCH­ING TALE/A STORY THAT HITS THE RIGHT NOTES

Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - READ -

THE LOST MAN Jane Harper PAN MACMIL­LAN AUS­TRALIA, RRP $33

Jane Harper’s best-sell­ing debut novel The Dry took Aus­tralia by storm in 2016. The first in the Aaron Falk series, it thrust Harper into the spotlight. Even be­fore it was re­leased, ac­tor Reese Wither­spoon had bought the film rights and the book won the Vic­to­rian Pre­mier’s Award for an un­pub­lished man­u­script. If you liked The Dry, you’ll love The Lost Man.. This piece of out­back noir opens with the dis­cov­ery of a body on a remote Queens­land cat­tle sta­tion be­side the head­stone of the stock­man’s grave, a site of lo­cal leg­end. The body is that of Cameron Bright, the loved owner of the sprawl­ing prop­erty. His aban­doned car is found sev­eral kilo­me­tres away, stocked full of food and wa­ter and with no ap­par­ent me­chan­i­cal prob­lems. Po­lice sus­pect the fa­ther of two suc­cumbed to the rigours of manag­ing a 3500sq km prop­erty. But a blast from the past forces the fam­ily to re­assess ev­ery­thing. Harper, who spent four months in out­back Queens­land, paints the men­ac­ing land­scape bril­liantly.

SHEL­LEY HAD­FIELD

VER­DICT: Grip­ping

THE HONEY BADGER GUIDE TO LIFE Nick Cum­mins PAN MACMIL­LAN AUS­TRALIA, RRP $30

For­mer Wal­laby and re­cent Bach­e­lor Nick “Honey Badger” Cum­mins speaks a lan­guage many Aussie blokes love. He’s a bit of a rough nut and uses a horde of unique phrases that un­doubt­edly draw a laugh. He’s even got his own the­saurus, dubbed Badger­saurus, dot­ted through­out his lat­est book so read­ers can adopt his many turns of phrase. Af­ter leav­ing two girls heart­bro­ken in the fi­nale of the Chan­nel 10 series, his mo­tives for join­ing the show were ques­tioned. This book had to be re­jigged be­fore it hit the press to re­move “love” from the ti­tle be­fore the fall­out of the show was re­vealed. For any blokes out there want­ing to know the ba­sics on how to be a de­cent fella, Cum­mins cov­ers it all. From tips on how to seize the mo­ment, be ad­ven­tur­ous, chival­rous and even ways to han­dle the heat in the bed­room, he’s on to it. As for his time on the show, Cum­mins ad­mits he strug­gled with it, but he doesn’t have any re­grets.

SO­PHIE ELSWORTH

VER­DICT: Be true to your­self

THE SUR­VIVORS Kate Fur­ni­vall SIMON & SCHUS­TER, RRP $33

A mother’s love for her daugh­ter is put to the test but is never in doubt in this heartwrench­ing tale set in a dis­placed per­sons camp at the end of World War II. Among the melt­ing pot of sur­vivors from the Nazi reign of ter­ror that tore apart Europe are Pol­ish re­sis­tance fighter Klara Janowska and her daugh­ter Alicja, who have trekked thou­sands of kilo­me­tres to restart their lives. But their hopes are dealt a blow when Klara dis­cov­ers a dan­ger­ous fig­ure from her past in the camp. Can both sur­vive with the se­crets they share but hope to keep hid­den? This work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion ex­plores the of­ten for­got­ten sub­ject of how sur­vivors coped af­ter WWII, hav­ing lost their old lives and fam­i­lies and en­dured un­speak­able suf­fer­ing in their fight to stay alive. This is a well-writ­ten, grim but ever hope­ful story of re­silience, se­crets, love and the highs and lows of hu­man­ity in the shadow of death and de­struc­tion.

CA­RINA BRUCE

VER­DICT: En­gag­ing

LOVE IS BLIND Wil­liam Boyd VIK­ING, RRP $33

Brodie Mon­cur bears a strik­ing re­sem­blance to Robert Louis Steven­son, but whereas Steven­son was a renowned writer, the hero of this lat­est out­ing from Boyd ( A Good Man in Africa, Any Hu­man Heart) is a piano tuner. The story fol­lows Mon­cur at the turn of the 20th cen­tury from his home in Scot­land to Paris, St Peters­burg and other ex­otic lo­ca­tions in his work as a tuner for var­i­ous mae­stros, and his flights south to ease the symp­toms of his tu­ber­cu­lo­sis. He is a fre­quenter of broth­els who finds him­self in love with Rus­sian singer Lika Blum, in an echo of the life of An­ton Chekhov, an­other writer Boyd ad­mires. It is a con­di­tion that ren­ders Mon­cur the vic­tim of a blind ob­ses­sion and forces him to take fur­ther flight. This has all the el­e­ments that make read­ers want to find out what hap­pens next and shows again what a great sto­ry­teller Boyd is.

BARRY REYNOLDS

VER­DICT: Note­wor­thy

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