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3.41  ·  Rating Details ·  184 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
A seemingly insignificant, careless act can sometimes set tragedy in motion.

Eight-year-old Pearl tries very hard to get things right. Attuned to her mother’s brittle moods, she watches over her younger brother while carefully guarding her private passions. But a senseless act of violence at summer camp shatters Pearl’s family, and nothing may ever be right again.

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Paperback, 293 pages
Published August 2007 by Sceptre (first published 2006)
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Digging to America by Anne TylerHalf of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi AdichieThe Observations by Jane  HarrisThe Inheritance of Loss by Kiran DesaiA Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
Orange Prize For Fiction Longlist 2007
11th out of 20 books — 4 voters
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakWhite Walls by H.M.C.Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan LindsayBurn Bright by Marianne de PierresTomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
Aussie Authors
107th out of 186 books — 53 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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May 07, 2012 Bluesky rated it did not like it
The best I can come up with, for describing this story, is an out of proportion sketch that needs to be refined and given balance before it can be coloured in. The characters are supremely unlikeable, and unrealistically presented emotionally (no real person is so black and white). The main character, an 8 year old child called Pearl, is given an intelligence that far outweighs her age. Fair enough that she is a very smart little girl, but please don't give her adult observations in order to ...more
Mar 26, 2013 Hermien rated it it was amazing
Although from the start I appreciated the quality of the writing, it took me a while to warm to the subject matter. But once the three story lines come together it is a compelling read dealing with grief, loss and the aftermath of traumatic events. I also liked the references to real events like the disappearance of the Beaumont children in South Australia, Frank Lloyd Wright’s house, the film Taxi Driver etc. A great read from this West Australian author.
Jul 07, 2007 Trevor rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: hardly anyone
Shelves: literature
I'm only half way through, but I don't like it. If I wasn't reading it for book club I would have stopped before the first 50 pages were done. I really don't like the writing. I find the writer's attempts to get inside the heads of her characters irritating and a bit silly. Her misuse of punctuation is driving me slowly insane.

Worse yet, I don't like a single character, not even the little girl. And why can a feel a sickly sweet end looming in the distance?
Feb 09, 2010 John rated it it was ok
Indulgent literary novel follows events after a murder suicide by a divorced man. Following the boring middle class lives of participants and semi-participants, who are in a professional 'grieving' process.
Gill Green
Sep 25, 2012 Gill Green rated it liked it
I found this book rather disjointed and difficult to connect to the main characters. Not a great read for me
Geoff Wooldridge
Jul 17, 2016 Geoff Wooldridge rated it really liked it
Robertson has written an intelligent, understated novel that looks into aspects of loss, grief and coping. Written in simple unemotional language, it is nevertheless sad and full of pathos without ever being maudlin, depressing or sensationalist.

The story focuses on four sets of characters, whose lives become intertwined through a series of ordinary events.

Pearl is an enlightened but guarded 9 year old girl, who does her best to shield her younger brother Riley from their clueless, materialistic
Aug 09, 2016 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia
This was a wonderful book. Thoughtful, wise, sensitive and deeply melancholy without being maudlin. It is written by someone who has thought herself into the pain and suffering of others, and learned lessons we all should share.
I wrote 10 A4 pages about this book in my reading journal, and that's way too much to reproduce here, especially since there are heaps of spoilers in what I wrote. It's a complex novel with a number of plot lines that all come together in a stunning climax, but I'll conte
Wondong Kim
Jun 24, 2016 Wondong Kim rated it really liked it
As a fairly young person myself, I found that Pearl was the character that I could relate to most. The one paragraph that best expresses who I perceived Pearl to be was:

'She leans close to the page. She moves the pencil parallel to the black line, right up to the edge, touching but never going over, until just when her hand is starting to hurt she finds that she is back at the beginning and she has created a solid border of brilliant green,. She has secured the half-moon and now nothing can go w
Catherine McNamara
Jun 09, 2012 Catherine McNamara rated it really liked it
There are beautifully woven characters and themes in this novel composed of interlinked stories. Robertson's sense of timing and restraint is masterful, her language clear and rich. I'm still struggling to understand whether the gaps in the interlinked story structure rob the book of a novel's depth and range, or create a gentle leap between each ambience or character. I say this not because this is a structure I find wanting, but because I found the book's resolution a little hasty and ...more
Rachel Zylstra
Jun 18, 2012 Rachel Zylstra rated it did not like it
I missed the whole point of this. I'm not sure if it's because I have read it on and off over the course of a few weeks. There were a few different stories that were intertwined, but I didn't feel like their was any real plot, and when everything is supposed to come together at the end of a book, I just felt confused. I didn't relate to or bond with any of the characters. You don't get to know enough of them to do that. Overall a bit of a disappointment. Nothing about this book made me excited ...more
May 09, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it
I found this book very interesting and very well written by an Australian author. We did this one for my Book Club where it had mixed reviews. I connected well with all the characters and found that I couldnt put the book down as I wanted to know more about all the characters. I will definitely look out for further books from this author! There is just one thing I would like to know and that is why it is titled 'Careless' - anyone have any thoughts?
Mar 31, 2009 MJ rated it liked it
8 year old Pearl sees her brother and 7 others killed. She is the only survivor of an intentional hit and run/suicide. Pearl is a strong character, as she must be because her Mother is and has been neglectful of Pearl and her brother. Pearl is wise beyond her years and makes this book a must read.
Helen O'Toole
Jan 12, 2015 Helen O'Toole rated it liked it
I enjoy contemporary Australian writing and Deborah Robertson certainly captures the feel of the various characters in this often heart breaking novel. It is very difficult to " love" the Lily mother character; perhaps the portrayl of her poor parenting is too raw & real to " enjoy".
There were aspects of the plot that I found rather implausible and contrived yet I did persist until the end.
Nov 30, 2009 Mandy rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2007
An interesting book, the interconnected stories of a group of people all dealing with grief in different ways. Having lost a parent in a sudden violent way, I thought I would feel more connected to these stories than I did. But I suppose grief is not easily described.
Apr 26, 2013 Ally rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ally by: Penny
Recommended by a work friend, I felt compelled to read this book. It was interesting. I liked how the characters wove together. I found them neither likeable or unlikeable. I thought the ending was great.

My friend thought that this would make a good bookclub book.
Sep 05, 2012 Linda rated it liked it
IT drifted a bit but I really, really liked it. I wanted to read more about the children's realtionship with the mother. Dysfunctional families always make for good reading (because they remind us of our own?!), but this one started strongly and then seemed to fade away.
Jun 01, 2012 Linden rated it really liked it
Australian novel shortlisted for the Booker Prize. It tells the intertwining story of two neglected children, an artist, the wife of a deceased artist, her children, and a therapist. Fallingwater and Frank Lloyd Wright also figure prominently. A quiet, lyrical read.
Oct 05, 2015 Cabana rated it really liked it
I read this book over a long weekend and enjoyed the character development and writing. I couldn't quite work out some characters like Lily - but maybe that's the point. Once again I'm wishing I could give half stars because this is definitely a 3.5 but not quite a 4.
Nov 15, 2010 Suzanne rated it really liked it
I actually really enjoyed this book, I found I connected well with most of the characters, it was a very emotional tale about grief, I found it sad and i really did care about the characters. Very good.
Apr 04, 2012 Gayle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
This was a great book. Very astute pictures of people and the careless way they treat people they love (or don't) and the repercussions coming from that. None of the characters were particularly likeable, but very real. The ending was a bit abrupt which took away the 5th star.
Celia Powell
I've put off and put off reviewing this book and as a result I barely remember it. There was an exploration of grief, and an carpenter and a sculpter, and some very dislikable characters. OK, but not memorable for me.
Jun 17, 2012 Pat rated it it was amazing
A young girl, somewhat neglected, is left to deal with the death of her younger brother, leading the reader into other people's grieving through the tragedy. This is such good read and the writing just flows effortlessly.
Deborah Noel
Aug 27, 2009 Deborah Noel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Along with Joseph Boyden's Through Black Spruce and Daniel Mason's The Piano tuner, this book is on my top three list for the year. Each book is nothing short of a masterpiece. I couldn't put it down. And like Jesus, I wept.
Jun 19, 2013 Merie rated it did not like it
I wasn't able to relate to any of the characters. The whole point of the book or the plot is not solidly laid whatever that is.
Aug 12, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Well written but I felt it fizzled out after a promising start. Characters who had a connection with a dead child in the recent past did not make for the cheeriest read!
Feb 19, 2015 Nessa rated it it was amazing
This was a very beautiful book about loss, grief and the unexpectedness of it. Robertson writes with infinite skill and the patience of a miniaturist. I loved this.
Apr 14, 2010 Donna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this although the topic was very dark and if not for the writing style I would have put it down as too depressing.
Amra Afaq
Amra Afaq rated it did not like it
Jan 03, 2016
Sharlene rated it it was amazing
Feb 16, 2013
Melissa rated it it was ok
Apr 04, 2013
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