Seven Poor Men of Sydney, by Christina Stead

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

seven-poor-men-of-sydney As you can see from the lyrical opening lines from her first novel, Seven Poor Men of Sydney, Christina Stead had vivid memories of her favourite places in Sydney, even though she had fled Australian parochialism some years before her final revision of the novel for publication in 1934.  But although she came from a middle-class background, she also had vivid memories of the deprivation she had witnessed, and the first chapter paints a poignant picture of childhood poverty with her depiction of the childhood friend of her central character, Michael Baguenault:

Annie Prendergast lived with her family in part of the house.  The little girl was thin, with black eyes and hair.  She scratched her head and body all the time, and always smelled of ingrained dirt.  In the corners of the house bats flew, swallows dropped mud and dung from every beam, and from all the cracks of the great…

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Coach Fitz, by Tom Lee

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Coach Fitz is the debut novel of Sydney author Tom lee – and it’s seriously good fun.  Serious in the way that the novel depicts the very serious business of running while also satirising the ‘wellness’ and ‘self-improvement’ industries, while the sly mockery of self-obsession reminded me of Dave Hughes and his deadpan delivery of comedy that punctures self-importance.

The narrator Tom is a narcissistic young man wholly absorbed in over-analysing his own obsessions.  When the novel opens he is hoping to get over his most recent failure with girls (Alex, in London) by improving his body-image (an obsession since adolescence), so he engages the services of an eccentric coach to help him improve his marathon performance.  Coach Fitz is an expert in psycho-babble, and her unique take on running is that training should involve mindfulness about the running tracks.  Readers familiar with the city of Sydney will enjoy the detailed (and quirky) descriptions of…

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I am done

chopkins2x3

Chattering mind,

You’re so unkind

I want to sleep

But thoughts are deep

You wake me up

And fill my cup

With bitter dregs

You wake me up

In a hot, hot sweat

You make me worry,

Make me fret

Chattering mind

(You know the kind)

So, stop it now

Just flip the switch

Turn it off

Without a hitch

Don’t look back

Don’t feel the lack

Or else you’ll face

A day without grace

Bleary-eyed

And mumbly-mouthed

From chattering mind

That tells us lies

And leaves us numb

Chattering mind

I bid you, leave

And let sweet peace

Be my guide

Let this ride

Be over now

I am done

I am done

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Ever Yours, C. H. Spence, edited by Susan Magarey, with Barbara Wall, Mary Lyons and Maryan Beams

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

There isn’t any way that I will have completed reading Ever Yours by Catherine Helen Spence in time for Bill’s Australian Women’s Writers Generation 2 (AWW Gen2) Week at The Australian Legend and anyway it’s been reviewed by a proper historian (Janine, at The Resident Judge of Port Phillip), so instead I’m going to risk Bill’s wrath by discussing why this book is worthwhile research reading for authors of historical fiction here in Australia. (Bill doesn’t care for historical fiction: he’d rather read texts written at the relevant time).

But those of us who enjoy historical fiction as an activist’s tool for bringing untold stories to light, (see here if you need convincing), want it to be both authentic and illuminating.   Research needs to be thorough and it needs to come from diverse sources.  This very day I was discussing the authenticity of the girls’ curriculum described in Louise…

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Work in Progress – Unraveling the Veil

D. Wallace Peach Books

A new trilogy is taking shape, about half of the first draft already tapped into the laptop. I’ve given myself through March to get the story down. Then rewriting and revisions and loads of editing.

Below is the first scene, a sneak peek that’s subject to change, but it’s a start. Don’t hold me to it, but the working title of the series is Unraveling the Veil.

***

Kalann il Draak, the First of Chaos, aimed his cannons at the Veil. From the eastern sun to the western moon, the curtain of light spanned the mountains, banishing him to the forsaken waste that stretched north beyond the known lands. The silver wall shimmered, undulated with elemental power, the essence of matter. Its energetic core bound the illusory world together with the strength of goblin steel.

He would destroy the rippling wall that divided him from his kingdom, shatter the…

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Book Review: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Undercover Binge Reader

This is the second book in the young adult fantasy series Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. There are five prequel novellas published together in The Assassin’s Blade which you can read my review for here and my review for the first book here. After the prequels there are seven main works including this one, and the 7th and final book was just published.  This is my first read through of the series and I’m excited to see what all the fuss is about – and that I don’t have to wait for any new releases and can binge through them all!

From the throne of glass rules a king with a fist of iron and a soul as black as pitch. Assassin Celaena Sardothien won a brutal contest to become his Champion. Yet Celaena is far from loyal to the crown. She hides her secret vigilantly; she knows…

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