The Toy Maker is the first novel of Liam Pieper, a freelance journalist from Melbourne. It has been reviewed in TI did not like this book. Not at all.
The Toy Maker is the first novel of Liam Pieper, a freelance journalist from Melbourne. It has been reviewed in The Australian and The Saturday Paper and the SMH so it doesn’t need any additional publicity from me and I will keep this brief.
Its crude language and sleazy beginning put me in mind of the unpleasant characters in Christos Tsolkias’s The Slap and the juxtaposition of the contemporary story strand with Grandfather Arkady’s survival of the Holocaust was grotesque.
Last night as I was idly watching the ABC news, I was struck once again by the contrasts in the worlds we live in. There was a report about some footbLast night as I was idly watching the ABC news, I was struck once again by the contrasts in the worlds we live in. There was a report about some footballers being pensioned off for new blood… a disproportionately long report, I thought, featuring a lot of hand-wringing by the decision-makers and some desolation by fans. Normally I just glaze over during sport reports and read whatever’s on the coffee table while I wait for the weather report, but when one of the people behind this decision used the word ‘horrific’ to describe the emotion of wielding the axe, I took notice. Because in the same news bulletin there was a report about the earthquake in Umbria and further news about the deteriorating situation in South Sudan with a young woman telling us she was raped within eyesight of UN peacekeepers supposed to be providing a safe haven.
Well, of course, the footy guy didn’t know about Umbria when he was interviewed, and possibly not about Sudan either, (though the news editor obviously did) and all things are relative anyway, aren’t they? But still, it is a real pleasure to pick up a book by an Australian author who’s been and seen a bit of the world and knows what the word ‘horrific’ really means.
A Wiradjuri woman, Tara June Winch burst onto the Australian literary scene with the publication of her award-winning first novel Swallow the Air. (See my review). Aged only 20 when she wrote it, she showed that she already knew more about horrific situations than most Australians do, but as the recipient of the international Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Award in 2008-2009, she has been mentored by Nigerian Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka. (I have his memoir Aké: The Years of Childhood on the TBR). This is what he says about her writing:
The quality of her writing, her eye for the miniature of life, fleshes out both place and persona, and ultimately guides the reader into her action. She is gifted.
Short stories are not my thing, but this collection overcame my reservations for the same reason that Family Room by Lily Yulianti Farid did. (See my review). These stories have serious intent. They challenge thinking. They demand attention to the issues raised. Where Farid was wrestling with feminist issues in the context of a corrupt patriarchal society, Winch is dissecting the displacement that disrupts the lives of individuals as well as the wider society.
I liked the first two, but that was enough. I've got no 3 somewhere on the TBR but, looking for something to listen to during some regular driving, II liked the first two, but that was enough. I've got no 3 somewhere on the TBR but, looking for something to listen to during some regular driving, I thought I'd try this one. Nope, just couldn't muster any interest in it at all. I finished the first CD and took it back to the library. ...more
Although I love travelling to world cities like Paris and London, and I enjoy a jaunt to a regional city like Bendigo or a weekend away in a rural B&aAlthough I love travelling to world cities like Paris and London, and I enjoy a jaunt to a regional city like Bendigo or a weekend away in a rural B&B, I love my city, Melbourne, and would never live anywhere else. So of course I was enchanted at the prospect of All the Buildings in Melbourne, *that I’ve drawn so far, by artist James Gulliver Hancock. It arrived with a pile of other self-indulgent goodies from Readings today*, and my only disappointment is that there isn’t more of it than the 64 pages of wonderful drawings of buildings in my city.
You can get some idea of his style from the cover, and also from the video at his website of his drawing of Curtin House, but really, you just have to buy the book.
It has drawings of the famous buildings you’d expect to see, like the Arts Centre (from a quirky angle); and Parliament House and the Eureka Tower, and so on, and there are interesting snippets about the buildings too.