A pushmi-pullyu book: The Way of All Flesh

Anyone who knows me, or this blog, knows that I’m a sucker for historical fiction. Since I picked up Alias Grace many (many) moons ago, I’ll always choose historical fiction over any other genre. So I was a warm target for The Way of All Flesh by Ambrose Parry. Set in the 1840s, it fuses the medical world of Edinburgh with a series of violent crimes against women to produce an unusual historical crime novel.

Despite many 5 star reviews, publicity for the book seems overly reliant on the kudos of its authors. ‘Ambrose Parry’ is a pseudonym for a collaboration between the renowned Scottish author Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman, a consultant anaesthetist. But does it work?

 

‘Very good and very colourful’: Monster Party

Today is Indigenous Literacy Day – a national celebration of Indigenous culture, stories, language and literacy. It’s also the day that The Indigenous Literacy Fund is especially encouraging the rest of Australia to raise funds and advocate for more equal access to literacy resources for remote communities. It kicks off a month of fundraising to literally fill the bookshelves of children in remote communities who otherwise have little access to books. There’s a number of different ways you can do your bit, so head over to their website to learn more.

Today is also the day that Master Seven and I read Monster Party, a book illustrated by kids from the Rawa Community School situated in the Great Sandy Desert in Western Australia. This is a gorgeous book – the pages are really vibrant and the illustrations are so beautifully textured they seem almost three-dimensional. The authors and students have produced a delightful book.

Read on to see my penetrating questions, and Master Seven’s incisive answers about the fabulous book Monster Party.

Ambitious and Astonishing: Homegoing

Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing is hugely ambitious in every way a book can be – it tackles the history of the slave trade, the story stretches across 400 years, it alternates its setting between two continents and has a different central character for each chapter. Given this scale of ambition, the book doesn’t always hit its mark, however it is a powerful, haunting read that will stay with me for years.

A Woman’s Place?: The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka

Earlier this year I went to a book talk in which Clare Wright was part of the panel. I tried for the best part of an hour not to like her – she was hugely articulate, funny, intelligent and attractive. [Gahhhh!] I couldn’t sustain any genuine dislike though, she was just too darn charismatic. I resolved then to read her award-winning account of the Eureka Rebellion:  The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. It’s a tome, but the most entertaining tome I’ve read in ages.