In April 2015 I answered a tweet from the NSW Writers Centre seeking interest from potential book reviewers. I found I enjoyed the review process, because it made me think about a book from different angles.
- Firstly, there’s me as the primary reader: What did I get from the book and would I recommend reading it to others?
- There are those who will read my review: What can I tell them about the book to entice them to read it, without spoiling their enjoyment of doing so?
- And then there’s the writer: What was his or her goal in writing the book and how did they set about achieving it?
I have since written a number of reviews, posted on NSW Writers Centre blog and published on TallAndTrue.com.
Selection of Book Reviews
The following is a selection of my book reviews. I hope you enjoy reading them – more of my writing can be found on TallAndTrue.com.
In the summer of 1952, Kip and his older brother, Tommy, find the entrance to a cave hidden in the hills above the family farm in the central north of Tasmania. The boys take every opportunity to explore their secret place, pushing further and deeper into it, never telling their parents about its existence, always lying about what they have been doing with their spare time. It is now 2002 and middle-aged Kip has returned to the Mole Creek cave, from where 50 years ago he ran back to the farm without Tommy.
It is October 1998 and Chasca Broderick has rushed home to the USA from her work with the War Crimes Tribunal in Sarajevo to attend her grandfather’s funeral. Theodore Broderick had been a lawyer, an eminent legal academic, an adviser to presidents, a Supreme Court Justice, and a defence attorney at the Nuremberg Trials .
Vu Tran’s debut novel, Dragonfish , opens with a letter from a mother to her daughter, with whom she has lost contact. She recounts the first night of their escape from communist Vietnam, in a small, overcrowded boat, soon to be wracked by ‘thirst and hunger, sickness [and] death’. The mother confesses she had not wanted to leave behind her homeland and husband, and that she blamed her daughter for having done so.
Portland Jones’ debut novel, Seeing the Elephant , is set in 1962, when a small contingent of Australian soldiers, called the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam (AATTV), were sent to Vietnam, under the leadership of the CIA, to help the Americans train South Vietnamese soldiers and villagers to fight the North Vietnamese Communists and Viet Cong insurgents.
Patrick White won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1957 for Voss. A year later Randolph Stow won the award for To the Islands . He was 22 years of age and had already published two novels, A Haunted Land (1956) and The Bystander (1957) and a collection of award-winning poems, Act One (1957).