Melbourne | Member Since 2012
A marvellous swag of characters who intertwine in a plot that would have lost me if not for its sharply incised protagonists. You'll love the journey.
Evocative, powerful and gripping. Tragedies so easily slip into our lives and leave us wondering how.
Beautiful, precious book. A real and brave story but so gemlike, shining with wisdom and humility. Amid the mingled stories of two women, a teenage girl writing about her life being bullied at school in her diary and and middle-aged ex-New Yorker suffering writer's block, are so many ideas and themes: age, fate, Japanese Zazen practice, suicide, war, quantum physics, and honesty ... All carried along. beautifully in the powerful and authentic voices of the young woman and her older reader.
The author's reading voice is mesmerising.
You'll love this story. Like all beautiful things, it is an endless surprise.
Ellen, the central character of this delightful, funny and elegant story, is refreshingly different. Caught in a relentless self-awareness that therapists must find so hard to shrug off, she is charming, disarming and sometimes very funny. Here are people who, like so many of us, try to live good and careful lives, but run adrift without really knowing why. But Ellen collects herself and presses on, finding a way through with her mix of philosophy, restraint and willingness. The very wholesomeness of her expectations keeps us taught with fear of their failure.
The stalker in this story, Ellen's opposite, is skilfully and compassionately drawn and remarkably real and familiar to us as readers. Who among us has not been at least some way down the path of the stalker? We are taken into her world of pain and injustice but not left to find our own way out.
Many levels of emotion, humour and philosophical exploration in this clean, gracious story,
Virginia Duigan's lovely prose and vivid expression carried me through the lives of this small group of old school creatives for whom art means obsession and self-focus and love means all or nothing. Her scheming characters left me feeling little joy, but I was drawn into their world by Duigan's skilful handling of the story as it unfolds. The central theme - of the biographer as both an observer and alchemist in the lives of those he or she portrays --is a fascinating one. The end was a satisfying one, but I wanted to like these troubled, intense group of artists much more than I did.
No one really wants to read about life in a concentration camp, but Jodi Picoult takes us and holds us there with a gripping narrative that weaves several story lines together.
It is the story of identify that focuses on a woman with a birthmark that makes social interaction excruciating for her. She embarks on a journey of self discovery when she encounters an old man who seems harmless, but is not. He asks her to kill him and, she discovers, he has good reasons to want to be dead. In turn, she has good reasons to want him dead. But it turns out she has just as many good reasons to keep him alive.
Here, the multiple storyline structure has a valid and welcome purpose - it's not a stylistic vanity. Picoult's multiple protagonists provide the reader with relief from the tougher parts of this narrative and the story lines all arrive elegantly in a plausible authentic place in a satisfying conclusion.
This is a courageous story about the grey areas between good and bad, about where our own shortcomings and petty jealousies can lead us. It is about siblings and families and rivalries and finding some kind of purpose in our lives. And it also about just how sadly the wars that we embark upon as nations can impact, distort and destroy human lives.
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