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Nine Days

3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  494 ratings  ·  103 reviews
Winner of Australian "Indies" Fiction Book of the Year 2013.

#5 in Kirkus Review's Best Historical Fiction Book of 2013 list

One family. Nine momentous days. An unforgettable novel of love and folly and heartbreak.

It is 1939 and Australia is about to go to war. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business—your own and everyone else's—as usual. And yo
Paperback, 245 pages
Published August 22nd 2012 by Text Publishing (first published August 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Dale Harcombe
Nine Days

Toni Jordan

Text Publishing


RRP $29.99 AUD

I found it very hard to rate this book out of five stars, and ended up coming down somewhere between three and four stars, probably edging closer to four than three, so four it is. As a writer, there were things I really admired. One was the voice or should I say voices. The book starts off in the voice of 15 year old Kip from the working class Westaway family in Richmond. The day he is given a shilling by Mr Husting is a momentous day fo
Nine Days by Toni Jordan

It is 1939 in Richmond, a working class suburb of Melbourne, Australia.
Men and boys are enlisting to go to war and the general mood is restlessness in this neighborhood where everybody knows each others' business and a certain class distinction is tacitly determined by how far up the hill of this street you happen live.

The story follows the lives of one family, the Westaways, and the lives of a few people close to them who's own lives are in some way touched by knowing th
Lisa Walker
‘Nine Days’ is a departure from romantic comedy for Toni Jordan, whose two previous novels ‘Addition’ and ‘Fall Girl’, I both read and loved. ‘Nine Days’ was inspired by the photograph on the cover, which was taken during World War Two, and shows a young woman farewelling a soldier on a train station. Around this image, Jordan has built a story from the point of view of nine different but interrelated people, recounting a significant day in their lives.

This is not historical fiction, the stories
Nine Days is the third novel by Australian author Toni Jordan and was inspired by a photograph from the State Library of Victoria’s Argus newspaper collection of war photographs. Starting in pre-war suburban Melbourne, it tells the story of the working-class Westaway family over the following seventy years. Each of nine characters has a devoted chapter in which they narrate the details of their particular life-changing day: thus Nine Days. As each chapter unfolds, significant details are added t ...more
"Alec,you must know this. People disappear. They just go puff.Thin air. Every time you see someone, you never know if you're seeing them for the last time. Drink them in, Alec. Kiss them. It's very important. Never let anyone say good bye, even for a little while, without kissing them." Quite a way into this book, which I must admit was a slow starter for me, this quote stopped me in my tracks. Toni Jordan has delivered quite an emotional punch, in a very clever way. Each chapter written from th ...more
I was delighted to discover this new book from Toni Jordan because it’s a departure from her two previous romantic comedies, signalling that Jordan is an author who’s interested in experimenting with different styles of writing. I enjoyed both the Miles Franklin shortlisted Addition and Fall Girl (see my review) but Nine Days is historical fiction with cross-over into the present. Like the ‘rom-coms’, it also tackles social issues. Nine Days is a poignant exploration of the ties that divide and ...more
Alexandra Daw
Nathaniel Hawthorne is credited with having said "Easy reading is damn hard writing."

Toni Jordan has worked as a copywriter, amongst other things, which has no doubt helped her wordsmithing and this is indeed an easy read. Toni says in her acknowledgements at the back of this novel, "I'm not one of those writers who have ideas banked up like circling planes awaiting their turn to land. My creative brain is more like a desert across which the odd ball of tumbleweed occasionally rolls." You would
A surprising book, an appealing story, and an introduction to an author I will be reading again. I loved the central device: nine characters each describing (in first person) a pivotal day, a day that completely changed their lives. The days are not presented in order, and that makes it a bit of a puzzle: I like the way each chapter (day) is named for each character, without any hint of time or relationship. We are left to make the connections ourselves, and for me that added an extra level of i ...more
Natasha Lester
I loved this book. Jordan has such a talent for writing a book that is easy to read - I read this in just a few days - but one that is still intellectually stimulating and that contains some beautiful writing. When I began reading, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it - the book is told from the perspectives of nine different people and I had trouble engaging with the second voice in the book, Stanzi, but after that I was absolutely seduced. I especially liked the way that Jordan shows us the ...more
Emma Makes
I recently joined The Digital New Zealand Fan Club - a Tumblr where people who love searching the historical content on Digital NZ share their favourite finds. Scrolling through pages of old photos I often wonder about the stories behind the photos.

Author Toni Jordan had a similar experience before writing Nine Days; while searching through the State Library of Victoria’s Argus Newspaper Collection of Photographs she came across the photograph now shown on the cover of her novel.

She says, “The p
Simone Sinna
This book moves away from her first two (Addition previously reviewed here, and Fall Girl which I believe is in a similar style but I haven’t read it yet). It was inspired by the photo that features on the cover, of a woman being hoisted on someone’s shoulders in order to be able to kiss a uniformed man hanging out of a departing train. We don’t know exactly the connection until near the end: Ms Jordan has developed a complex family and circumstances that finally come together in current time bu ...more
Sep 15, 2012 Sue rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who like historical fiction, and who enjoy multiple points of view novels.
Nicely structured story spanning 7 decades and three generatios of a working class Melbourne family. The title refers to nine days in the main characters' lives, one day per character, in which a decision or action they take defects the course of their lives. For my full review, please see Whispering Gums:
I really liked this. When I saw it in the bookshop today with one of those 'women's weekly love it or get your money back' stickers, I have to admit I questioned my judgement as they are not the kinds of books I tend to like - but seriously Nine Days is so beautifully crafted, I stick by my initial response. Definitely my favourite Australian novel this year...
Mij Woodward
An enjoyable read. Lighthearted, yet more serious in places, and poignant.

Not my usual heavy-duty historical fiction, but very moving in some parts, and I got a feel for how it must have been for some during WWII.

What I really loved was getting to know the different members of this family. There are nine chapters corresponding to nine days, one for a different family member, set at different times during the 1900's and early 2000's.

One could see how unique each person was. There was not a one-sh
Helen McKenna
Set across decades and generations of the same family, Nine Days tells the story of nine different days, one for each character. Some of the stories overlap, others are quite separate - but each links the character to a common thread, the Westaway family home in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond.

Spot on in it's sense of time and place, Nine Days swtiches seamlessly between a wide range of different characters both male and female, aged from teenage to elderly. I found the different POV easy to fo
I loved this book and found it a compelling read. It takes place during World War 2 which I've always found an interesting period in which to set a story. Each chapter is written from the point of view of one of the family members, during one day which changes the course of their life, and reveals as much about the other family members as it does about them. It's a great way to do well rounded characters, as each character is seen from several points of view. Fortunately Ms Jordan has the skill ...more
A brilliant book which tells the story of nine different days (at different times) that profoundly affect the lives of people in a family. Set in and around the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, each chapter is a self-contained story, told in the voice of the subject. The stories occur at different times, ranging over 70 years, from World War 2 to the present. Whilst self-contained, each story connects with the others. The stories end at the climax of the event described, so you're left to determine ...more
Rezension – Von Fotos, Münzen, Ketten und Blechdosen, die Dein Leben verändern

In ‚Neun Tage‘ geht es, wie der Titel schon vermuten lässt, um die Ereignisse von ganz bestimmten Tagen. Tagen im Leben der Familie Westaway. Westaway – Away in the West – verschwunden in der Kriegszeit und doch zusammengeführt. Ein überaus passender Name und dies gleich zu Beginn. Zum Inhalt selbst werde ich nicht viel preisgeben, da bereits die Kurzbeschreibung eine eindeutige Richtung vermuten lässt.
Die Geschichte
I had a very hard time getting into this read since jumping time periods tends to baffle me - UNTIL I got a handle on the story line. Excellent voices for each person, despite my irritation with the young kid at the end & the voice of Charlotte. I actually missed the whole idea that it was literally nine days until reading these reviews after the fact. However, I did have an inkling of the disasters to come to this family. I was caught up in each personal story & the grief felt for Conni ...more
Faye Barron
Starting in 1939, and spanning 70 years, in 9 chapters we learn from 9 people relating life changing events in their lives. These characters, bar one, are all part of one working class Melbourne family. From each of the character's revelations we become witnesses to a compelling family saga - hopes, dreams, passions, disappointments, hardships, tragedy and love.
This book was 'book of the week' at a library I visited. The plot is cleverly put together by the author - all in only 245 pages.
Nine Days is actually quite a simple story although using so many narrative voices and moving back and forth in time makes it more complex and quite challenging to read. Some of the nine family members who tell the story are more successful than others and I was sometimes frustrated when a character's voice disappeared from the narrative. However, despite these quibbles this is an enjoyable cross-generational Australian story.
Laura Armstrong
It wasn't that I didn't like this, I did, it's just that there was great potential for it to be more engaging if the connections between people were a bit less explicit. The narration was interesting but always changing between characters meant it was harder to care too much about any one person. That said it is well written and very easy to read, and I liked it enough to pass it along to other people.
I haven't read a book this quickly for ages. I was completely caught up in the family's story - told with Toni Jordan's warmth, humour and wonderful storytelling. I did a workshop with her at the Writers' Festival & learnt so much from her. A very generous teacher/writer.
I expected to like this book more than I did. The concept was a good one. I thought visiting the lives of nine different people belonging to the Westaway family and how they lived through the decades from 1939 to modern times, would be a strong central theme but it just didn't quite come off for me. I think I expected each of the characters to have a viewpoint of one person - Kip - and how his choices and actions impacted on the family, or why the house was so important to each of them, but inst ...more
Katherine Howell
Brilliant. I couldn't stop reading. These people were so real, and the book made me cry. Well done Toni!!
The title refers to the nine pivotal days for a collection of characters from the Westaway family; days that will change lives. Beginning with fifteen year old Kip in 1939, the stories are driven by Kips descendants ending with Alec, his grandson in the present day. Each character has an individual voice and its exciting to start a new chapter (character) wondering where this person fits into the family tree. Jordan is tremendously gifted; her knack for dialogue is a wonder. Set in Richmond, she ...more
I liked Addition, an earlier book, so I was predisposed to like this one also. It did charm me and the organisation of the book, though at first confusing, added mystery to the story as the reader tries to figure out just what is happening. Each 'day' is a significant day in the life of one of the characters, so you know there are at least 9 significant characters. However there is a 10th character, that is the city of Richmond, now an inner suburb of Melbourne but at the time one where poor peo ...more
Inspired by an old photo of a soldier being waved off to war by a young woman Nine Days uses 9 different characters to tell the imagined story of these two people.

The problem is that it reads like a series of short stories where some are more relevant than others. I could have read an entire book about the Westaways in the 1940's but the more modern family members were of no interest to me. It just felt unnecessary to break the story up like that, like it was taking focus away from what the stor
Joanne Dwyer
This is brilliant! For lovers of Cloudstreet, read it.
Brilliant - will add my review soon
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Toni was born in Brisbane in 1966. She loved reading and writing at primary school (Seven Hills State School) but by high school (Lourdes Hill College) had become a science nerd. After leaving school, she enrolled in a Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, which she completed part time after almost failing due to a preoccupation with chasing boys.

She has worked as a research assista
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“Hey,’ I yell, through the closed door. ‘Why is the water in your toilet bowl blue?’ ‘Because orange stripes are so last year,’ she yells back.” 1 likes
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