Mark Tedeschi is no writer. However, he is a lawyer and that makes him a decent storyteller. He has done a truly impressive job of researching the lifMark Tedeschi is no writer. However, he is a lawyer and that makes him a decent storyteller. He has done a truly impressive job of researching the life of Eugenia Falleni; piecing together scraps of history from someone who went to great lengths to cover their trail. I understand why he was drawn to this case, and how he was outraged at Eugenia's trial and treatment as a suspect of murder. But in the end, even he relies on speculation and conjecture. This book is not about examining the truth, but it goes to great lengths to detail how the legal system at the time was unprepared for a case such as this. Had Tedeschi more mastery of his words, and less reliance on sensationalising the text, he may have delivered a powerful and confronting work. The story of Eugenia's life is tragic, it doesn’t need highly emotive words to show that. I feel that the text deserved a more sympathetic tone and less ‘lawyer’ speak designed to shock the reader. Eugenia was not a "transgender warrior". The legal system failed her, and she passively went along with that process. Tedeschi masters the critical analysis of the legal process, but this book is not a courtroom and he overdoes the fanfare in a defence that can’t help Eugenia now. You should read this book, you should know this story. My three stars only reflect that Tedeschi is better placed as a lawyer, and not an author.
*Side note: There's a two page anecdote about a racehorse named Zulu(view spoiler)[ that seems to have no other purpose than to support a metaphor about Eugenia's lawyer being like a pathetic racehorse, and the prosecutor being akin to Phar Lap. Sure, that seems amusing if you don’t have to tell the backstory about the horse to start with; and if you don’t then say the trial was like a boxing match with the opposing counsel being in different weight divisions. Which is it? A horse race or a boxing match? I know your research unearthed a random tale about a horse; but Mark, you could have left that bit out. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I read this book over and over again when I was a child. Amazingly, I still have it and it's in pretty good condition. My mother read it before me, herI read this book over and over again when I was a child. Amazingly, I still have it and it's in pretty good condition. My mother read it before me, her name is faded on the inside cover. I think I found it on a raid in the garage one day. Quite moving for a book about horses. I don't recall the storyline, but I do remember the imagery and the emotions it brought. It didn't make it to the charity pile this time, and I think it'll be read again before I consider letting it go once more. ...more
I'm torn between a 5 Star and a 2 Star rating for this work. Unfortunately for Tan (and in this case Marsden) I'll benchmark all his future work againI'm torn between a 5 Star and a 2 Star rating for this work. Unfortunately for Tan (and in this case Marsden) I'll benchmark all his future work against The Lost Thing and The Arrival. The story in both of those outshone The Rabbits in terms of complexity and value. That said, Marsden says what many others have tried to say in much fewer and more eloquent words. There is one full spread that explains vast oceans of pain in only four words. I could never find fault with Tan's artwork. And for this particular piece he really does convey the story through changes in context and dimension. You think there is no real point of focus, and then you realise that you've been unwittingly forced to take it all in. 4 stars, because it's brilliant. But I think there is something missing, and I expected more from such an incredible partnership....more
Trent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarTrent's novel was my first foray into urban fantasy. Perhaps I shouldn't have chosen a novel set so close to home, as I found the local references jarring at times. Perhaps the novel is directed at the YA audience rather than myself, and if that is the case then many of my irks would disappear. I've upped my rating to 3 stars based purely on my hesitations regarding genre and age group.
At first I struggled to separate my opinions of the writing with my opinion of the genre as a whole. Recognising that it was a new genre for me, I thought that some of the awkwardness injected into the detail of the world may not have affected me if I didn't intimately know each street, park, and building. But I worked beyond that, and still found some of the writing awkward and obvious. As far as stories go, this one was well constructed. There was generally a good speed and plot. However, I found the constant reference to Steven's dead companion being (in fact) 'dead' to be quite tedious. Each chapter rakes through the idea that she is dead, cannot me touched, can only be seen by him, can't pick up a glass, could disappear at any moment .. the list goes on. It's not that these references are naturally laced into the story, which would be fine, but Steven often says to himself, "Oh, that's right, she's dead", and then reminisces about what could be if she weren't dead. A good editor would have assured Trent that this wasn't necessary. To be completely brutal, I also would have chosen an alternative to the word 'pomp'; but that's neither here nor there.
All of that aside, I did enjoy it. It was very easy to read, and took me a few days reading on the commute to work. The pace was generally well managed, and the chapters were well constructed.
If you're looking for something that doesn't require much thinking and is easy to follow, definitely pick it up. I found myself wanting to read on quickly to see what would happen next, but still rolling my eyes when Steven would wax lyrical about his dead companion. Kudos to Trent on a great construction, but I'd recommend are more free-handed editor. ...more
While the quality of this work as a piece of prose cannot go unnoticed, I am truly in awe of Siemon's seemingly boundless dedication to resurrecting tWhile the quality of this work as a piece of prose cannot go unnoticed, I am truly in awe of Siemon's seemingly boundless dedication to resurrecting the family history of the Mayne family. By piecing together fragments of information from the 1800s, she has managed to separate the filaments of rumour and truth, and offers a very credible acceptance of past crimes and torment, while making a strong case for compassionate redemption. The book is littered with interesting historical information about Brisbane. Knowing the area well, I found that it presented a great depth of character for a capital city which some consider to be still in its infancy. Siemon obviously respects Brisbane, and understands its rapid development in that time. The final stages of the book are a little brusque, and Siemon's writing takes on an almost pleading style as she accounts for James Mayne's efforts to ameliorate his father's legacy. You are left cold, with an empty pity for Patrick Mayne's children.
The information that Siemon started with was undoubtedly just patchy rumour. But her research to find "the truth" encompasses not just the Mayne family, but the whole of new Brisbane town. It is incredibly well researched and must have consumed her life while she was creating it. She has reconstructed history through scraps of information, ordered them, and retold it together in one coherent (and indeed well written) form. She must be an incredible woman. I have a great respect for the construction of this work, and believe that Siemon has offered fair justice for the Mayne family....more
I was early for an appointment, and needed something to read. This book felt good in my hand, and I thought I would learn something about early exploraI was early for an appointment, and needed something to read. This book felt good in my hand, and I thought I would learn something about early exploration of Australia. For that intent, I was disappointed. The book frustrated me for a long time. It seemed poorly organised with dates, places, and names thrown about in paragraphs with no real order or thought. It wasn't organised by date, explorer, location, or anything else I could predict. There was no information about who the explorers were, why they were out there or who they were connected to. There's a chapter that just lists the supplies that different parties took with them. I had no context of why I should be interested. I wasn't learning anything in this messy stream of consciousness! But, this is not a history book. When I finally realised that, that it didn't matter that I had no idea who these people were, I started to enjoy it. If you have a good knowledge of some of the key players in Australian pioneering, you'll probably warm to this much quicker than I did. I respect the great depth of research that must have gone in to producing this piece, and it really is comprehensive in a most obscure way. I still didn't learn anything, I can't tell you dates or locations. But I still had a laugh or two along the way....more