22 April, 2012

The Hearing Trumpet by Leonora Carrington (1976)

I just smile and shake my head every time I think of this extraordinary book. The plot? A woman in her nineties is bundled into a rather bizarre nursing home and manages to trigger something like the apocalypse. Carrington, who died just last year, was a surrealist artist who lived much of her life in Mexico and The Hearing Trumpet is packed with symbolism where nothing is quite as it seems. But that doesn't get in the way of a rollicking read that builds to a crescendo unlike anything else I've ever read. Absurd, fantastic and very much recommended.

03 April, 2012

The Broken Shore by Peter Temple (2005)

Well now he's gone platinum with the Miles Franklin he's hardly overlooked, but this book simply deserves a wider audience. The Broken Shore is most often described as a crime novel, but it's not really. Yes, Detective Joe Cashin is the flawed heir to Upfield's Bony, but it is in the depth and craft of Temple's characters, his deft dealing with politics and race, his sense of place and just the quality of his spare turn of phrase that make this one of the must-read novels of Australia today.