This book was very different to Bryce Courtenay’s other books and I have to admit that after reading the first few stories I had contemplated abandoniThis book was very different to Bryce Courtenay’s other books and I have to admit that after reading the first few stories I had contemplated abandoning this book; but I’m glad I continued reading. I’m not usually a fan of short stories, however these were all nicely linked together by a shared journey and the commonality of hardship, survival and the family frying pan. Much to my surprise, by the end of the book I had become quite attached to the characters that Bryce Courtenay had portrayed.
This book helped me to put my own experiences of shared living into perspective. In only about five short pages I realised that I had nothing to complThis book helped me to put my own experiences of shared living into perspective. In only about five short pages I realised that I had nothing to complain about compared to some of the weirdos John Birmingham lived with over the years. The stories were bizarre to say the least and initially very entertaining. However, the book quickly became tedious and repetitive and I must say that I was surprised I actually bothered to finish reading this book.
The short stories contained in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics Collection entitled The Tooth, highlights Shirley Jackson's masterful ability to uncovThe short stories contained in the Penguin Mini Modern Classics Collection entitled The Tooth, highlights Shirley Jackson's masterful ability to uncover the dark and sinister subtexts in the seemingly ordinary aspects of life. I found three stories particularly disturbing; 'The Tooth', which highlights how reality can be distorted in times of stress or pain; 'The Witch', which was chilling in its simplicity and 'The Lottery', which had an ending that i didn't see coming at all and couldn't quite believe even after i'd read it.
The Tooth "Her tooth, which had brought her here unerringly, seemed now the only part of her to have any identity. It seemed to have had its picture taken without her; it was the important creature which must be recorded and examined and gratified; she was only its unwilling vehicle..."
"...remember the metallic sound and taste of all of it. And the outrage."
"...you’d think my own face would know me... "
The Lottery "Although the villagers had forgotten the ritual and lost the original black box, they still remembered to use stones."
Australian Tragic was recommended to me by my mother who gave it five stars and lent it to me with a post-it note attached to the inside which statedAustralian Tragic was recommended to me by my mother who gave it five stars and lent it to me with a post-it note attached to the inside which stated "All these stories are true - some sad, some funny, some you know who they are and some you have to guess. But you definitely can't stop reading, which is a shame, because I never wanted it to stop." I spent the first half of this collection flipping back to this review and questioning my mother's taste in books, but by the second half something had changed. Jack Marx
"It was alone that he had learned to cope with dreadful things - alone in the air, watching death come to friends, and enemies too, who never were machines, never would be less than human beings in the minds of those who killed them, with lives more real and precious for every day that they were gone."
"Theirs was a love whose soundtrack was made of smashing bottles and slamming doors."
"Sometimes a loss is as good as a victory, for it's through our mistakes that wisdom grows."
"...it was suicide to show any pain, any doubt, any hesitance, any fear of the contest. It was when one showed such weaknesses that others would pounce through a hole in one's world, to ransack the strengths to be found inside."
"There is some perversity somewhere which tends to create evil out of good, and to deny to man the successes he craves, even when they seem most certainly to be within his reach."
"How strange it is that life, as it grows, becomes less precious in the eyes of the world."
"...schools aren't built to save troubled souls. They are factories designed to mould girls and boys into women and men fit for organised society. They have not the time nor the apparatus to dwell upon the broken ones."
"I wanted to jump up out of my seat and run to the men, hugging them around the legs. I wanted to lick the hair on their wrists."
"He loved me enough to be mad at me and not then have to reconsider the entire relationship."
"Really, there is no difference between being fat and being skinny. They are two sides of the same Oreo."
“I believe in the baby Jesus. And I believe he is handsome and lives in the sky with his pet cow. I believe that it is essential the cow like you. And if you pet the cow with your mind, it will lick your hand and give you cash. But if you make the cow angry, it will turn away from you, forget you exist, and your life will fall into shambles. I believe that as long as the cow likes you, you can get what you want. In order to keep in the cow’s favour, you need to “let go and let God” meaning you can’t obsess about controlling every little thing. You have to let things unfold naturally and not try to change things you cannot change. On the other hand, I believe that if you’ve made the cow happy by living this way, you’re allowed to ask for favours.”
Ethan Frome "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart one's get away."
"He seemed a part of the mute melanchol
Ethan Frome "Guess he's been in Starkfield too many winters. Most of the smart one's get away."
"He seemed a part of the mute melancholy landscape, an incarnation of its frozen woe, with all that was warm and sentient in him fast bound below the surface; but there was nothing unfriendly in his silence.“
“...he lived in a depth of moral isolation too remote for casual access...”
“It looks just as if it was painted!” It seemed to Ethan that the art of definition could go no farther, and that words had at last been found to utter his secret soul...”
“Now, in the bright morning air, her face was still before him. It was part of the sun’s red and of the pure glitter on the snow.”
“He had often thought since that it would not have happened if his mother had died in spring instead of winter...”
"It was almost as if the other face, the face of the superseded woman, had obliterated that of the intruder.”
“I’ve been in a dream, and this is the only evening we’ll ever have together.”
“Ethan looked at her with loathing. She was no longer the listless creature who had lived at his side in a state of sullen self-absorption, but a mysterious alien presence, an evil energy secreted from the long years of silent brooding. It was the sense of his helplessness that sharpened his antipathy.”
“All the while he felt as if he were still kissing her, and yet dying of thirst for her lips.”
“For the life of her smile, the warmth of her voice, only cold paper and dead words!”
“...it seemed as though all the beauty of the night had been poured out to mock his wretchedness...”
“The words were like fragments torn from his heart.”
“Her sombre violence constrained him: she seemed the embodied instrument of fate.”
“...the way they are now, I don’t see there’s much difference between the Fromes up at the farm and the Fromes down in the graveyard; ‘cept that down there they’re all quiet, and the women have got to hold their tongues.”
The Pretext "...ghosts vanish when one names them!”
“It had simply given her a secret life of incommunicable joys, as if all the wasted springs of her youth had been stored in some hidden pool, and she could return there now to bathe in them.”
The Legend "Have you any notion how it shifts the point of view to wake under new constellations? I advise any who’s been in love with a woman under Cassiopeia to go and think about her under the Southern Cross.”
Folk Song "Safe in her sweating, loose, and very wet embrace, surrounded by the dense energy of many men, his penis could tell her the
Folk Song "Safe in her sweating, loose, and very wet embrace, surrounded by the dense energy of many men, his penis could tell her the secret story of murder right in front of everyone. Her worn vagina would hold the killer like it had held the husband and the lover and the sharpie and the father and the nitwit and every other man, his terrible story a tiny, burning star in the right-ful firmament of her female vastness."
"They want heaven and they will go to hell to get there."
An Old Virgin "Sometimes things that look really ugly on the outside look different when you get up close."
The Agonized Face "We are glad to have the topless dancer to remind us of that dark area in the basement where personality is irrelevant and crude truth prevails."
"Mommy, Mommy!” I remembered washing her as a baby, using the spray hose from the kitchen sink to rinse shit from the swollen petals of her infant slit—a hole she may fall down if she opens it too early, a dark Wonderland of teeth and bones and crushing force. The hole in life, a hole we cannot see into, no matter how closely we look."
"Inside love, anger still secretly burns—but it is a tiny flame. I can hold it like I once held my daughter in my body, a world within a world."
Mirror Ball "He embraced her, and for a moment he felt that holding her was like holding a bit of liquid flame."
Lifted is my first experience of Kindle Singles and I have to say that I love this new format of short writing pieces or novellas. I really enjoyed EvLifted is my first experience of Kindle Singles and I have to say that I love this new format of short writing pieces or novellas. I really enjoyed Evan Ratliff's thrilling re-telling of the true story of one of the greatest bank heists in Sweden's history and it was well worth the $1.99US price tag.
I found Come What May unbelievably corny and sappy to the point of being nauseating. It felt like Laura A. Diaz was trying too hard to re-create a melI found Come What May unbelievably corny and sappy to the point of being nauseating. It felt like Laura A. Diaz was trying too hard to re-create a melt-your –heart love story along the lines of The Notebook.
"...that thing exists which we so frequently name and seek and offer, so rarely define and obtain and give, that there is consolation,
"...that thing exists which we so frequently name and seek and offer, so rarely define and obtain and give, that there is consolation, if only we know where to look for it."
"What has happened is manifestly that somebody has been taken from us and nothing will ever be the same again. But what has not happened? That person has not been eradicated from our hearts and minds, that person’s life has not been cancelled out like a row of figures in a sum, that person’s identity is not lost, and can never be lost."
"There is nobody, there never has been anybody, of whom it can be said that the world would have been the same if they had never lived."
"Betty would never have wanted to be thought one of the important people in the district, but she had been a well-liked queen of her modest bits of castle."
“...in the life to come we will feel the pains that we inflicted on others. We will suffer all that we made them suffer, for after de
“...in the life to come we will feel the pains that we inflicted on others. We will suffer all that we made them suffer, for after death all experience is reversed.”
“If I am to believe Walish, you have trembled from that day onward like a flame on a middle-class altar of undeserved humiliation. One of the insulted and injured.”
“Human beings can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.”
“Miss Rose never was pretty, not even what the French call une belle laide, or ugly beauty, a woman whose command of sexual forces makes ugliness itself contribute to her erotic power.”
“On a good day I can be acute for about half an hour, then I start to fade out and anybody can get the better of me.”
“Walish, however, assumes that every clever modern man is his own avant-garde invention. To be avant-garde means to tamper with yourself, to have a personal project requiring a histrionic routine – in short, to put on an act.”
“If people are offended, it’s by the ‘hostile intent’ they sense, not by the keenness of the words.”
“It’s a short step from lip service to ass kissing.”
“The body, she says, is subject to the forces of gravity. But the soul is ruled by levity, pure.”
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby “...although hanging Colby was almost certainly against the law, we had a perfect mo
Some of Us Had Been Threatening Our Friend Colby “...although hanging Colby was almost certainly against the law, we had a perfect moral right to do so because he was our friend, belonged to us in various important senses, and he had after all gone too far.”
“I could have sworn that the man's eyes were no longer watching his daughter dying in agony, that instead the gorgeous colors of flame
“I could have sworn that the man's eyes were no longer watching his daughter dying in agony, that instead the gorgeous colors of flames and the sight of a woman suffering in them were giving him joy beyond measure.”
“He felt so lost, he said later, that the familiar studio felt like a haunted valley deep in the mountains, with the smell of rotting leaves, the spray of a waterfall, the sour fumes of fruit stashed away by a monkey; even the dim glow of the master's oil lamp on its tripod looked to him like misty moonlight in the hills.”
“Chained inside the carriage is a sinful woman. When we set the carriage afire, her flesh will be roasted, her bones will be charred: she will die an agonizing death. Never again will you have such a perfect model for the screen. Do not fail to watch as her snow-white flesh erupts in flames. See and remember her long black hair dancing in a whirl of sparks!”
“No matter how accomplished one might be in any branch of learning or art, one would have to be condemned to hell, if on where not endowed with the five cardinal virtues of Confucius-benevolence, justice, courtesy, wisdom and fidelity”
“Still more horrible was the color of the flames that licked the latticed cabin vents before shooting skyward, as though - might I say? - the sun itself had crashed to earth, spewing its heavenly fire in all directions.”
“The pale whiteness of her upturned face as she choked on the smoke; the tangled length of her hair as she tried to shake the flames from it; the beauty of her cherry-blossom robe as it burst into flame: it was all so cruel, so terrible!”