As the story in ‘Tollesbury Time Forever’ slowly made known its gut-wrenching nature, I began to think it time to re-read Keri Hulme’s ‘The Bone PeoplAs the story in ‘Tollesbury Time Forever’ slowly made known its gut-wrenching nature, I began to think it time to re-read Keri Hulme’s ‘The Bone People’. This puts ‘Tollesbury’ in good company indeed, for Hulme’s novel won the 1985 Booker Prize.
So re-read ‘Bone People’ I did, and then Stuart Ayris’s ‘Tollesbury’ once more, for good measure (it was no chore). And quickly realised the two novels share much more than the same ugly subject matter, albeit in variation. In each, a Simon is a central character. In each, the trespass done him is gradually revealed. In each, the author makes an appearance (in ‘Bone People’, the main female character is a Kerewin Holmes, in ‘Tollesbury’, Ayris enters briefly under his own name). In both stories, place is a virtual character and is evocatively written: the readers of ‘Bone People’ will feel the rough waters and winds of New Zealand’s coast deposit salt on their cheeks, and those of ‘Tollesbury’ will sniff the mud and brine of Essex’s stiller salt marshes. Pubs feature in both tales, and alcoholic excesses. So does music, with Hulme’s characters making their own and Ayris’s Simon cocking an ear and his soul to it.
The most important likenesses centre on tone and spirit. While the two narratives take their readers deep into ugliness, these are emotionally conflicting descents – good-heartedness and generosity are at at every turn and pause. The reader is compelled to stay the course, and is ultimately rewarded. The resolutions to both stories are uplifting.
Four stars for ‘Tollesbury Time Forever’, reluctantly given, as four and half stars is a more accurate rating. I have forgiven ‘The Bone People’ for the martial arts episode that appears mid story, and also award it four stars, again in place of four and a half.
For my take on "The Bone People", please see my review of "Tollesbury Time Forever", in which and I compare and contrast the two books. At http://www.For my take on "The Bone People", please see my review of "Tollesbury Time Forever", in which and I compare and contrast the two books. At http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/......more
Ave Judas: An SF Conspiracy Thriller It is the year of our Lord 2449. The Pope believes he has just forty-four days to avert a galactic Armageddon by dAve Judas: An SF Conspiracy Thriller It is the year of our Lord 2449. The Pope believes he has just forty-four days to avert a galactic Armageddon by discrediting anew the most reviled man in history ... Owen Stonehaven is leading the strangest of lives. As a child, his mother gives him to a huge and fierce rat kangaroo; as an adult, the Church has him shut into a derelict and lightless spaceship. Freed, he returns to his home planet, a surreal place that is roamed by lizards of barely imaginable size, towering thunderbirds and ferocious marsupial lions - for on New Yamba a master cloner has been at work re-creating the megafauna of Australia's past. Owen's plan is to find the mysterious coin his mother stole on the day she died, a well-worn piece of silver he hopes will help reveal his true identity, and to await a visit by the brother he loves, Henry, a priest. Extremists detonate a bomb and Henry is hurt. Owen realises he is the subject of a conspiracy engineered by an all-powerful and ruthless man. As he begins to understand his origins, he finds he cannot shake the darkness at his core. Is betrayal in his genes?...more