“Dog Boy” by Eva Hornung

Ramochka is just four years old when his mother and uncle abandon him. After remaining hidden in a cupboard for days, fearful that they will return and scold him, he ventures outside to look for food and company. What he finds is a dog, who leads him safely through the city and into her home. Alongside her own pups, she cleans him, suckles him and makes him a part of her own family.

Like Ramochka, the reader is at first walking in the dark. Although dogs are by no means an unusual companion, the depth that Ramochka is immersed into the lives of this pack of wild dogs is so foreign, and at times uncomfortable to read. Hornung does an incredible job building this relationship from scratch, as we bear intimate witness to Ramochkas gradual transition to dog from human. Continue reading

Australian Women who Write

In response to a comment I received on an earlier post I’ve decided to write a blog post about Australian women who write. It has been an issue that has already stirred a lot of debate this year (see arguments surrounding the newly created Stella Prize and Meanjin’s Tournament of Books), but by request I wanted solely to focus on some books by Australian female authors that either are or have been on my reading list recently and I hope to one by one write a review for each of them to start shifting the imbalance in my own blog. Continue reading

“House of Sticks” by Peggy Frew

In Peggy Frew’s debut novel, House of Sticks she displays a keen understanding of the mistakes and indecisions that make up a life, and explores just how fragile that life can be.

Bonnie is uneasy in her life. Looking around her it seems that everyone wears their roles more comfortably than she does. This feeling is one that will grab readers, it is the kind of connection and shared understanding that most people long for in a book, the sense that somebody, somewhere has felt the way that they do. Continue reading

“The Night Circus” by Erin Morgernstern

The Night Circus fits neatly together with books like The Time Traveller’s Wife and Water For Elephants, not so much linked by theme, but by the feeling that they have managed to capture something quite special and ethereal.

The book starts mysteriously, and plants a great many seeds to mysteries that are only fully revealed in the last moments of the story.

Although this is ultimately a love story, it has dark undertones and more than an air of magic that pulls it away from being a romance. Continue reading

“Blood” by Tony Birch

“Will you be ready for it, Jesse? When the storm comes? You remember what I’ve told you. Sometimes you can stay out of trouble, and other times you have to step up.”

In a book that is compelling and real, Tony Birch has captured the issues facing Australia right now.

Veering across a dusty, parched landscape “Blood” follows thirteen-year-old Jesse and his sister Rachel as they are tugged from home to home by their unstable mother Gwen. Jesse shies away from the notions of home and family, avoiding disappointment, while Rachel clings to it, desperately trying to find something solid. As the clouds gather, waiting to unleash a flood over the barren landscape, these two characters race towards an uncertain end, praying that something will save them. Continue reading