Last Man in the Tower by Aravind Adiga

Adiga’s first novel, The White Tiger won him the esteemed Man-Booker Prize in 2008. It was a compelling and confronting, cynical and violent portrayal of the caste system, corruption and business in modern India. This, his second novel embodies many of the same themes but with more gentleness and humour. His cast of characters are the inhabitants of the Vishram Society tower block of flats in Mumbai, scheduled for demolition. A hefty payout, and extra “sweeteners” are on offer from the ailing property developer who is determined to leave his mark and prove his rise from the poverty of his village birthplace before ill health carries him off. The “Last Man” is “masterji” a retired “pucca” school teacher who is finally the only resident to refuse the enticements. This is a social satire and a grim portrait of the different reactions of basically good people to circumstance. Adiga’s writing has many moments of beauty and his depiction of his characters and the urban landscapes Mumbai is fascinating and memorable.

Review by Sue

Eona by Alison Goodman

Alison Goodman’s sequel Eona continues the path readers were left with in the first novel Eon. Eona flows through a series of rapid events which leave you grasping for time in the real world as you are continually carried away throughout her journey to become the woman and dragoneye she longs to be.  The character Eona is tested by every turn of the page as she finds herself in a desperate battle to control her abilities and discovers the consequences from the actions she makes with them. Eona is an extremely well written novel and highly anticipated after the nearly 2 year-long wait, but it is definitely worth it. It is full of magic, romance, fighting and surprises. Eona is not one to miss.

Review by Karine

Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Yvonne Woon creates a mysterious mist-shrouded world out of Gottfried Academy where the story follows a teenage girl, Renée, who is forced to board there after the unfortunate death of her parents. Finding Gottfried peculiar and strange Renée finds herself in a tangling storyline where all the peices are scattered only to be put back again. This novel sets your mind on edge with riddles and languages as you follow Renée as you begin to suspect the supernatural. With the incorporation of elements of Latin and philosophy, Woon makes it all run smoothly and easy to understand and most importantly all the more enjoyable for the history lesson she subtly gives her readers.

Review by Karine

The Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon

The Carrier of the Mark is Leigh Fallon’s first novel and it is most definitely promising! Set in Ireland Fallon incorporates the its history and legends throughout the novel. The story follows Megan Rosenberg who moves to Ireland with her father. While settling in, she hears whispers and experiences some odd occurrences all circulating around the mysterious family, the DeRises. One of the children, Adam DeRis captures her immediate attention with his gruff yet gorgeous exterior with Megan feeling an impeccable pull between them. Throughout the novel Megan discovers she is one of the ‘Marked Ones’, a group of four individuals who can harness the elements. With a mix of  Twilight romance and Mortal Instruments action, The Carrier of the Mark takes you on a journey of a powerful and gifted person who will do anything to protect the ones she loves.

Review by Karine

Tweed and so much whiskey…

Putting a book into a customer’s hands is not an activity one does offhandedly, so to speak, especially when that customer is well-read, discerning and someone you see and chat with on most days. Apart from the errant suggestion here and there, we have a pretty good relationship; he reads my proffered suggestions and whilst handing me my workday coffee, lets me know what he thinks of them.

Today I put two such books into the said hands… the first, Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance and second, The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan. They are both written by male authors, both published in England, one has a werewolf in it, the other a strange adolescent. Both narratives are cinematic, one deliriously action-packed and full of throw-away philosophical aphorisms on the angst of the werewolf lifestyle, the other a languid feast of the senses, shot in long uncut sequences where not much happens and noone really says much. The smell of tweed and Egyptian cotton has never mixed so well with the reek of blood and so much whiskey.

I guess in the next little while as I saunter up to his counter to order my coffee, I’ll find out whether the mix was as heady for him as it was for me.

Check out the authors’ photos, can you guess which one wrote the werewolf book?

Post by Myoung

 

 

The Happiest Refugee wins 2011 Indie Awards.

INDIE AWARD 2011 WINNERS ANNOUNCED. Monday night, at their annual Conference, Australia’s independent booksellers announced The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (Allen & Unwin) the winner of the Indie Book of the Year Award 2011, as their favourite Australian book from the past 12 months.

The individual category winners, in Fiction, Debut Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s, were also announced. From these four category winners the independent booksellers selected the best of the best – The Indie Book of the Year for 2011.

The category winners were:

Best Fiction, Bereft By Chris Womersley (Scribe)

Best Non-Fiction, The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (Allen & Unwin)

Best Debut Fiction, Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer

Best Children’s Book, Mirror by Jeannie Baker (Walker Books).

According to Simon Milne, General Manager of Leading Edge Books, the awards organiser, “The Happiest Refugee was chosen by an overwhelming number of independent booksellers as their Book of the Year.  Last year was an important year for non-fiction, and this is the first time a non-fiction book has won this Award.   Anh Do’s story – of his family’s struggle to reach Australia, and the life they have created since then –  touched booksellers and readers alike”.  One of the booksellers describes it this way:  “Anh’s story will reach into every heart of every reader who is fortunate enough to be absorbed from page one.  The story of the family, their hardship and the love and humor that gets them through put this book on a par with A. B. Facey’s A Fortunate Life. I hope lots of Australians get to read his book and appreciate Australia through Anh’s eyes.”

Independent booksellers have a well-earned reputation for being the ones to spot the next-big-thing and The Indie Awards is one to watch.   Previous Indie Book of the Year winners are Breath by Tim Winton andJasper Jones by Craig Silvey, which both went on to national and international acclaim.

Winner of Alex Ross Competition

Congratulations to Julia for winning our “Rest is Noise” competition. Julia has won two tickets to see Alex Ross and the Australian Chamber Orchestra play some serious Modernist/Classical music in Canberra! She chose “Earth Cry” by Peter Sculthorpe as her favourite recording of the twentieth century because it “creates as original a response to the Australian landscape as Patrick White did in Voss.” Enjoy the show!