This Lawrence book was written while he was "stuck" in Australia. The entire time he was on the continent he wavered between desparately wanting to leThis Lawrence book was written while he was "stuck" in Australia. The entire time he was on the continent he wavered between desparately wanting to leave and deciding it wasn't so bad and he would stay for awhile. He eventually decided he HAD to leave but had a month before a steamer would be leaving from Sydney.
He wrote this book, largely about his experiences there with an attempt at adding a plot concerning a group of mainly ex-soldiers (WWWI) who want to change the government. They are lead by a man whose code name is Kangaroo. The group wants Lawrence (under the name of Somers) to join. He meets several times with Kangaroo and has extremely conflicting views of him and the group.
Kangaroo was written in 6 weeks and never edited and it shows. The "plot" isn't really a plot, the characters seem to change unpredictably, and the main reason for writing the book appears to be Lawrence's angst and wish to be left alone by the world.
If you are a dyed-in-the-wool D.H. Lawrence fan you should read this to get a full picture of his writings. However, if you've only ever read Lady Chatterly's lover and THINK you like Lawrence, don't bother.
(An interesting aside: This edition was published by the Viking Press and on the back of the cover, it lists an entire page of books it has published by D.H. Lawrence. However, one is missing: Lady Chatterly's Lover.....)...more
Just couldn't get into this book. I know, I know, he's a world class writer, etc. etc. But sometimes you just don't click.
I didn't have much sympathyJust couldn't get into this book. I know, I know, he's a world class writer, etc. etc. But sometimes you just don't click.
I didn't have much sympathy for the characters but I did like the chance to see a little of life in Czechosovakia during the Russian occupation. The only thing I'll keep from this book is the decline and euthanization of the dog Karenin. Kundera riffs slightly on the fact that we can euthanize dogs but not people - this in a positive sense, seeminly anticipating "death with dignity."...more
There are some books that, while dealing with universal ideas, are tightly bound to the place and era they take place in. I think that's why I can't gThere are some books that, while dealing with universal ideas, are tightly bound to the place and era they take place in. I think that's why I can't give this a higher rating.
I know it's a "classic" and that Winton is one of the top writers in Aussie Land, but I couldn't really relate. I truly think that it is because it is so tightly bound to WA after WWII. Not that that is bad, it just makes it harder for me.
John Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath is that same type of book. Who can doubt that although nearly everyone understands the feelings and tragedies the characters go through, it's not as meaningful unless you know about the Dust Bowl, can visualize it, and about the fruit pickers in California.
Since I don't know enough about WA in that era and the life of the poor people and the rise of the middle class and "gentrification," I couldn't appreciate this book as much as it probably deserves.
However, Lester Lamb reminded me somewhat of my father. Although he didn't crack jokes at the dinner table or have cute rituals like "the knife is always right," there was a joie de vivre in him that made me love being around him. Together he and I shared many laughs and jokes and sometimes, crazy rituals. Oriel also somewhat resembled my mother in her seriousness and assurance that her way was the "right" way. But I had little sympathy or identification with the rest of the characters.
I still think it should be read as an example of one of Australia's greater writers and for the pictures it paints of the life it deals with....more
Ghosts by Gaslight is supposed to be a complilation of stories specifically written for this anthology. Each author was directed to create a story whiGhosts by Gaslight is supposed to be a complilation of stories specifically written for this anthology. Each author was directed to create a story which combined the elements of a Victorian ghost story with a steampunk atmosphere.
I was sorely disappointed. First of all, I really like steampunk and none of these stories actually incorporated it. Yes, steampunk incorporates machines into Victorian times, but they are implausible machines for the times, such as the ubiquitous airship. (In one story, a man travels by mail coach to get to a friend in a hurry. In a steampunk story, it would have been an airship.)
The Victorian ghosts are there. But the writing is very modern. In only three stories did the authors actually make the writing seem as if it were from the Victorian period.
So. I wouldn't advise this book for those who like Victorian ghost stories or steampunk....more
I really enjoy E.O. Wilson, especially his enthusiasm for ants. But I found this book scattered. I really couldn't pick up a coherent thread. (Might hI really enjoy E.O. Wilson, especially his enthusiasm for ants. But I found this book scattered. I really couldn't pick up a coherent thread. (Might have been me just not concentrating enough) I agree with many of his views here: we're not the culmination of evolution, just a branch; the self is just a manifestation of our brains and not something separate (this is exactly what the Buddhists say); religion has weakened culture because it encourages tribalism; and, beautifully,
"Science and the humanities, it is true, are fundamentally different from each other in what they say and do. But they are complementary to each other in orgin, and they arise from the same creative processes in the human brain. If the heuristic and analytical power of science can be joined with the introspective creativity of the humanities, human existence will rise to an infinitely more productive and interesting meaning."
So even if I couldn't find the line that connected the dots, it was worth reading....more
I started this with some trepidation. It isn't a Victorian "horror" story, I thought. It's set in Australia and it's too light and bright there to havI started this with some trepidation. It isn't a Victorian "horror" story, I thought. It's set in Australia and it's too light and bright there to have enough atmosphere for that type of writing.
But it is. I kept reading and reading and the author kept dropping little hints, mostly about the afterlives of people involved, and I hoped she would drop enough to solve the mystery. But no. I read to the last page urgently hoping, hoping, that some explanation would be given. I kept the reins tight on my reading, making sure I didn't skip ahead but read every word carefully to see if there was something more there to pick up.
But NO!!!!!!!!! I'm left in helpless misery, my mind churning with different scenarios, twisting and turning in the wind, a bit like the ending of the story.
However, while Lindsay's writing is modern, the story line is not. It IS a Victorian mystery horror and extremely fun to read....more
You might need an Aussie dictionary to read this book, but you should still read it. (You also need to keep in mind that drivers are on the "wrong" siYou might need an Aussie dictionary to read this book, but you should still read it. (You also need to keep in mind that drivers are on the "wrong" side of the road.}
On Father's Day, Rob Farquharson drove/lost control of his car which careered off the road into a farm pond and resulted in the death of his three children and his escape. Eventually he was put on trial for the murder of the three boys.
Garner is a "true crime" writer in this book but very different from the American take on that genre. First, she only covers the trial (and the later re-trial). She does a great job of covering the evidence and how the personalities of the lawyers (barristers?) and the witnesses affect both the journalists she is sitting with and the jury. However, she also takes the trial out of the courtroom and this is a great touch. After the cry of "all" people that no father would ever save himself and abandon his children, she talks to a mother who, when seeing a snake approaching her and the baby she is carrying through the water, has the impulse to "drop the baby and run." When the defendant sticks to his story that he had a coughing fit and blacked out so he can't remember what happened, someone refers her to a man who had exactly that happen and veers across two lanes of traffic to the safe lane. BUT he also comments that his first thought was to get his daughter to safety. A lawyer friend of hers answers her legal questions and also comments on why the lawyers act the way they do. And there are other incidents like this.
She brings in this evidence with no commentary so that you are not sure whether she is introducing it to support the defendant or not. Her style is breezy and easy to read, but there is no feeling that she sees this as other than an extremely serious matter.
I read the book in one sitting and that ought to indicate how good it is....more