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Love in the Years of Lunacy
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Love in the Years of Lunacy

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  78 ratings  ·  26 reviews
A moving, tender and compelling story of forbidden love set amid the devastation of war from the award-winning author of Dreamtime Alice.

Sydney, 1942. Pearl is eighteen, beautiful and impetuous. She plays saxophone in an all-girl jazz band at the Trocadero and occasionally sits in on underground gigs with her twin brother Martin, who also plays the sax. On one such evening...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Atria Books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Michael
I admit historical romance is not something you’d expect me to read but I’m all for literary exploration, so I thought I would give this Australian novel a go. Love in the Years of Lunacy is a typical story of forbidden love, set in war time Sydney. Eighteen year old Pearl is an alto sax player in an all girl jazz band that one day meets African American and jazz legend James Washington and quickly fall in love. While Australia didn’t have any laws to prevent them from falling in love or marryin...more
Alison
I read this for our ABC Radio bookclub - and chose it because I love all of Mandy Sayer's stories. She writes with style and places the reader right in the action. I know Kings Cross because of Mandy Sayer. Knowledgelost asked if the Townsville reference I mentioned saves the book - I believe it is the whole point of the book.
Most people can't suspend their disbelief about Pearl disguising herself as a man to go to New Guinea. I believe that shouldn't be read literally, but with a view on being...more
ALPHAreader
A famous (and fictional) Indigenous crime writer has discovered a series of biographical tape recordings made by his favourite aunt, who died one year ago. Pearl paved the way for Australian jazz, and in her time she was lauded as a revolutionary musician – both for introducing the blues to Aussie shores, and for being a formidable female saxophone player.

The writer presses play on her recorded memoirs, and is transported back to Sydney in 1942...

American GI’s are in Sydney, helping to guard aga...more
Robin
I don't often give a book 5 stars, but I enjoyed this one so much I had no choice. It's got everything - a great love story which is pivotal to the narrative, real, empathetic characters, beautiful writing, lush, visceral description and a brilliant sense of place, and last but not least, a rollicking good adventure story, which mimics the sex act by ramping the tension up so high in the second half of the book that you almost can't stand it. AND to boot, a surprise twist at the end.

The only asp...more
Ella
Oh my...
I didn't think this book would be this bad - I know Mandy Sayer has written other books, and I know they have been very well received! But this book... wow. I could barely get through it.

The first thing that hit me when I began reading the Prelude was the remarkably amateur writing style, something I certainly had not been expecting from an experienced author. I remember reading one particular block of information from the character of the nephew regarding his racial heritage, and mental...more
Denise
A beautiful story of a love affair between a young Australian woman and an African American soldier stationed in Sydney during World War II. The first half was brilliant, the second half was highly improbable, and I would have preferred the main character Pearl's story to have been told in first person. But overall, I enjoyed it immensely and would love to see it made into a feature film.
Ragna
Original and moving. Even though the story was unlikely, weird and silly and wasn't in my usual area of interest, it was a page turner.
Sally Williams
Silly, silly silly.

****SPOILERS****

She dresses as a man! The oh, so beautiful Pearl is able to convince other men in close quarters that she's a bloke when she puts on a uniform and goes on a troop ship to New Guinea?
Shakespeare might get away with it, but not a 'realistic' historical novel. The men on those troop ships wandered around with nothing on, it was so hot. Poor Pearl, bound breasts, rugged up in full uniform, unable to shower or go to the toilet. And Pearl couldn't fire a gun, so ho...more
Kristin
This was so phenomenal I think it has to have 5 stars. I loved everything about it. The way it was framed as a man listening to tapes recorded by his deceased aunt, the way her story built and changed like a jazz song (she was a jazz musician), the exploration of American vs. Australian racism (plus being black in America vs. Australia and the nature of interracial relationships), seeing World War II from the Australian perspective and what it was like fighting in Pacific jungles, the treatment...more
OOSA
Matters of the Heart

When Pearl, a white female jazz saxophonist, and James, a black American GI, begin a love affair in war gripped Sydney in the 1940s, one already knows this is going to be a hard fought love story. In the midst of dealing with the times and a budding forbidden love, James is shipped off to fight in New Guinea, and Pearl is determined to reunite with her love.

Mandy Sayer’s “Love in the Years of Lunacy” was an intensely interesting love story that will tug at your heart. The li...more
Pauline
What could happen? Well, anything, really. Mandy believes this, and Pearl believes it too. That's jazz, man. Go with it.
Reyna Grande
The novel had a great start. It moved a good pace and the characters were interesting and engaging. And the lyricism was lovely when the author described music and playing the sax. Halfway through the book, however, things started to slow down and there came a point when the reading became arduous. Then after all the ordeal the protagonist went through, the ending was a terrible disappointment. Also, I wasn't totally convinced about the way the author framed the story (with the 'nephew' listenin...more
Newtown Review of Books
Love in the Years of Lunacy is the story of a young white Australian woman, Pearl Willis, who plays alto saxophone in the all-girl big band at the Trocadero night club, and her love for James Washington, a black American GI and a hugely talented musician. Read full review here: http://newtownreviewofbooks.com/2012/...
Paula
Interesting take on WWII in Sydney Australia in 1942. Pearl plays saxophone in a an all girl band and also plays underground gigs with her brother who to plays the sax. Pearl meets a black GI and falls in love. I think you kind of have to expand your imagination but all in all a good read.
Catherinne
I recommend reading this book to my friends - my book cover was different then what shows on this website - but anytime I can read from a author who is from another continent I am also learning their language and their history!
Susan
Not great literature, but a good story and quite engaging. A different slant on the WWII stuff I've been reading a lot of. Stretching the verisimilitude here but still exciting reading.
Gee
This was a surprising book - but that's what you read for I guess. Mandy Sayer certainly evoked a Sydney of the past and a main character I found I kept liking more as I read on.
Sarah
I have many things to say about this book. I'll need some time to organize my thoughts.
Liz
I really enjoyed this book, the characterization and events did not disappoint.
Ruth Bonetti
A wonderful book that portrays the WW2 years in Sydney. What a twist at the end!
Anthea
A breathtaking story of love. And of strength. And of prejudice. And of war.
ebook
Nov 22, 2012 ebook marked it as to-read
Australia, fict, ww2
Elizabeth Borden
Very silly, but I liked it.
Christina Borgoyn
Christina Borgoyn marked it as to-read
Sep 07, 2014
Twl Newtown
Twl Newtown marked it as to-read
Aug 15, 2014
May Anderson
May Anderson marked it as to-read
Aug 09, 2014
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