Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This book investigates how people cope with the unspeakable. The character Eleanor is an authentic and lonely person who isolates on schedule. She slowly moves into the world of other people when a neighbour needs her help. “I was glad to help, glad to be moving away from Mummy-related conversation. There were various chores MrsContinue reading “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman”

The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Herman Hesse.

Set in the future around 25 AD this allegory is told from an historian’s perspective. It focuses on the 23rd Century and the main character is Joseph Knecht. Set in Castalia, the story is revealed through documents written by Knecht’s contemporaries. Further insight is gained through poems and short stories written by Knecht. Castalia isContinue reading “The Glass Bead Game (Magister Ludi) by Herman Hesse.”

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

This is a coming of age story about an Italian middle-class girl called Giovanna. She lives in Naples and the story opens with her questioning the unconditional love her father has bestowed on her. She overhears her parents talking. Her father blames her failing grades on her transformed likeness to ostracized Aunt Vittoria.  This propelsContinue reading “The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante”

The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby.

Bauby, experiences a stroke at the age of 43. He is in the prime of his life, on the editorial staff at Elle and has two small children. After waking 20 days later, he could only blink his left eyelid. Suffering what is called locked-in-syndrome he dictates this novel through blinking this eye. The beautyContinue reading “The Diving-Bell and the Butterfly by Jean Dominique Bauby.”

My Brother Jack by George Johnston

Each read of this fifty-six-year-old classic reveals more nuances about the Australian identity. Set in post-war Melbourne suburbs, this seminal piece is a retelling by David Meredith of his life. His mother is a nurse who houses Gallipoli invalids including Meredith’s father. Suffering PTSD, he is a brutal alcoholic who displays unpredictability and weakness. TheContinue reading “My Brother Jack by George Johnston”

Stories: The Collected Short Fiction by Helen Garner

Monkey Grip, Helen Garner’s first novel, is raw. The portrayal of single mother Nora and heroin addict Javo’s life is now cemented as a classic. Written in 1977, it started her long career. She delves into authentic experiences of Australian life and disregards writing rules. She has mastery of the short story form.  In 2017Continue reading “Stories: The Collected Short Fiction by Helen Garner”

The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz

Told through the eyes of 15-year-old Beth, living in rural Canada, this novel is an intense sensory experience set during World War Two. She befriends the local Indian kids and the rich spiritual and natural world they share enables her to survive the sexual abuse and increasing violence her PTSD suffering father imposes on her.Continue reading “The Cure for Death by Lightning by Gail Anderson-Dargatz”

The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber

This book contends with the question of what makes us human by taking us through the history of philosophical ponderings from Descartes to Martin Luther King, from Hermann von Helmholtz to Nietzsche. The authors step us through their theory regarding the purpose of reason and why it developed in humans. Examples demonstrate why we workContinue reading “The Enigma of Reason by Hugo Mercier, Dan Sperber”