BOOK CLUB

DEVIL WEARS PRADA: A SE­QUEL / IN STITCHES WITH THE MAS­TER OF SATIRE / MOD­ERN FAM­ILY TIES THAT BIND AND BEND / DE­TEC­TIVE WORK IN THE GRIM CITY

Life & Style Weekend - - RELAX -

WHEN LIFE GIVE YOU LULULEMONS Lauren Weis­berger HARPERCOLL­INS, $29.99

Lauren Weis­berger is best known for her best­seller The Devil Wears Prada, which was turned into a Hollywood film. Her lat­est novel re­turns to those glam­orous New York roots, this time cen­tring around Emily Charl­ton, Mi­randa Pri­est­ley’s erst­while first as­sis­tant. Emily, as ca­reer-driven and stylish as ever, is now a con­sul­tant to the stars, spe­cial­is­ing in swoop­ing in when an im­age dis­as­ter is afoot. Daunted by the loss of yet an­other client to a so­cial me­dia savvy mil­len­nial, she re­treats to Green­wich, Con­necti­cut, home to stylish yummy mum­mies and her old­est friend, Miriam. Throw in an­other friend of Miriam, Karolina Hartwell, a se­na­tor’s wife with a ru­ined rep­u­ta­tion and a life in tat­ters, and the scene is set for Emily’s ca­reer revival and Karolina’s re­venge. This sat­is­fy­ing mix of sex, scan­dal, PR dis­as­ters and the lives of the rich and rest­less is all too easy to race through, prefer­ably with a glass of wine in hand. Even if the de­signer la­bels and Hollywood par­ties are re­moved from the ev­ery­day reader’s life, it’s not hard to find some­thing to re­late to, whether it be baby shower eti­quette or par­ties where friends turn into prod­uct-shilling sales­peo­ple.

VICTORIA NU­GENT

VER­DICT: Pure glit­terati es­capism

CA­LYPSO David Sedaris HA­CHETTE, $30

US satirist David Sedaris has never had to look far to find some­thing to write about. His quirky and ec­cen­tric fam­ily, plus his un­con­ven­tional daily life, have been mined to great depths through­out his ca­reer, pro­vid­ing plenty of com­edy gold. Ca­lypso sticks to the same for­mula and is burst­ing with Sedaris’ bril­liant ob­ser­va­tional hu­mour. With mid­dle age upon him, Sedaris buys his first beach house, the Sea Sec­tion, and it’s there the odd­ball Sedaris clan de­scends. On these hol­i­days, Sedaris re­flects on ev­ery­thing from hav­ing a nui­sance tu­mour re­moved and his de­sire to feed it to his favourite snap­ping tur­tle, to his Fit­bit ob­ses­sion. But it’s the ban­ter with his sis­ters that leaves you in stitches. When talk­ing ghosts with sis­ter Amy, she notes spir­its can at­tach them­selves to any­thing. “That’s why a lot of peo­ple won’t wear vintage cloth­ing.” Asks David: “Dry-clean­ing doesn’t kill them?” “They’re not bedbugs, they’re ghosts.”

PAUL HUNTER

VER­DICT: Laughs keep com­ing

FIVE YEARS FROM NOW Paige Toon MICHAEL JOSEPH, $30

In the tra­di­tion of David Ni­cholls’ One Day, Five Years from Now fol­lows the lives of two young peo­ple, re­vis­it­ing them ev­ery five years to chart the ups and downs of their re­la­tion­ship. Vian and Nell meet as five-year-olds when Vian’s mum and Nell’s dad start liv­ing to­gether. Born just days apart, they fast be­come in­sep­a­ra­ble. They are best friends and share a bond like brother and sis­ter. But then cir­cum­stances wrench them apart at 10.

Nell stays in Corn­wall, while Vian moves to Aus­tralia. When the pair are re­united at 15,

Vian has be­come Van and it is clear that’s not the only thing that’s changed, the pair no longer see­ing each other as brother and sis­ter. Toon grew up be­tween Aus­tralia, Bri­tain and the US. Her novel is im­mensely read­able and full of heart, though it doesn’t quite work as well as One Day. Hav­ing each chap­ter set five years apart was quite re­stric­tive.

SHEL­LEY HAD­FIELD VER­DICT: Roller­coaster

INTO THE NIGHT Sarah Bai­ley ALLEN & UNWIN, $33

In this sec­ond in the se­ries, De­tec­tive Sergeant Gemma Woodstock has moved from her child­hood and moth­er­hood home in coun­try NSW to Mel­bourne as a mem­ber of the homi­cide squad. She has left her son in the care of his fa­ther to go some­where where she can be anony­mous and not have grown up with the vic­tims or per­pe­tra­tors of crimes she’s been called to in­ves­ti­gate. But not only is she now a mem­ber of a much big­ger team, the pres­sures be­come more po­lit­i­cal than per­sonal, es­pe­cially when a well-loved young ac­tor is killed while film­ing a street scene in Spring St. There are no Sher­lock Holmes de­duc­tions (or in­duc­tions) to the solv­ing of crimes here, just the metic­u­lous, slog­ging po­lice work of state­ments and in­ter­views. And there are no hero­ics, ex­cept those of peo­ple try­ing to cope with lone­li­ness, loss and alien­ation that go with liv­ing in the big city. This is a to­tally dif­fer­ent en­vi­ron­ment to The Dark Lake, the first novel by Bai­ley. But it is nonethe­less pow­er­ful as Woodstock at­tempts to make sense of her own life while keep­ing open the com­part­ment of the brain that solves crimes.

BARRY REYNOLDS

VER­DICT: Caught in the act

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.