Thursday, 5 November 2015

Notes from Eve Abbey ~ November 2015

I had trouble starting the latest Pulitzer Prize winner for Fiction...

 – All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – mainly because it seemed too dense – too many details but I did come to revel in this fine book. The author took ten years to finally finish this so take the time to enjoy it. There are two contrasting stories: one about a blind girl whose father works in the Museum of Natural History in Paris where he is in charge of all the keys, and another about a boy and his sister living in an orphanage attached to the mining community in Essen. Their stories finally meet in the small town of St. Malo which was almost totally destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of the Second World War. Marie-Laure has unwittingly become the keeper of a precious stone hunted by the Nazi treasure seekers, while Werner has become a fabled fixer of radios, uneasily serving his Nazi commanders.

Many people at home enjoy the afternoons on ABC Radio listening to Richard Glover’s cheerful approach to life, as well as his columns in the newspapers. He has written a thoughtful and amusing memoir called Flesh Wounds in which he recalls his life growing up with an uncaring mother who is also deceiving every one about her own identity. Quite remarkable really that he has turned out such a well-adjusted, cheerful and amusing person. Many thanks go to his loved wife, scriptwriter and author Debra Oswald. Dare I say “this is a nice book”?

I did enjoy The Waiting Room by Melbourne writer Leah Kaminsky. This is mostly set in Israel where the main character is both a mother and a doctor. Her uneasiness in living daily with the threat of some sort of attack is multiplied by her anxiety for her small son. Her days are also interrupted by the voice of her dead mother, once a holocaust survivor, and now giving her daughter regular advice. Will she remain in Israel with her loved Sabra husband or will she return to Melbourne?

Famous Irish writer John Banville has a new novel out called The Blue Guitar. His books are always finely written and this time you could call the work a “stream of consciousness”. Oliver, the narrator and main character was once a successful artist but now has returned to the small town which was his childhood home. He confesses to a secret delight in stealing small things but stealing his friend’s wife is not so small! The novel covers just one year, the current year in Oliver’s life, told as he writes on a large jotter in the kitchen.

Are you enjoying the television detective series called Vera? I am. The stories come from some of the novels written by Anne Cleeves. I recently read, and enjoyed, the latest in the Vera series, which is called The Moth Catcher. These stories are all set around Newcastle in County Durham and I was happy to note there was not much blood and gore! A friend tells me that the stories Anne Cleeves has written which are set in the Shetland Isles are especially good so I have ordered the first two in the series – Raven Black and White Nights. They are being reissued just now, no doubt as a result of the success of the Vera TV series. I noticed that The Moth Catcher is dedicated to “Brenda with Thanks” so I assume this to be Brenda Blythen who plays Vera on TV. My friend tells me that it is worth reading the Shetland series in correct order as things happen in the lives of the characters.

Keep well,


Buy these books at Abbey's (131 York Street Sydney) ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

Abbey's ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

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