Gavin's Reviews > The Secret River

The Secret River by Kate Grenville
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's review
Nov 02, 11

bookshelves: fiction
Read from October 26 to November 02, 2011

The transposition from inured hardship into earned hardship translating into comfort has probably been done a million times and more. Even the idea of setting it on the Hawkesbury and including such unsubtle reminders of the nature of life in a colony - and especially the challenges between diverse peoples likely also has antecedents.
But beside that it was engaging. It didn't fall into the trap which far too many novels containing a large group of players tend to do of trying to create complex characteristics for all of the. Even so, some of the characters were disappointing. The lead pair especially so. I never empathised with either. And found myself continually confusing the children and the convict servants with each other. And which blackfella was which?
The Prose, though, magnificent in so many places. From London of the early 19th century to the trials of Sydney Cove as it struggled to survive and the beauty of the Hawkesbury I was drawn in. The use of language was interesting throughout - from the flitting and interlacing between scenes to the use of the conversation as a part of the prose. Such like the vocal is just an instrument in the best songs or we are just players in a greater story.
An intriguing story on one level, unfulfilling on so many others. No doubt it'll attract those obsessed with "Historical Fiction" but I'm more likely to wonder which scene was set where as I visit Wiseman's Ferry and if the Pub in St. Albans is actually the scene for Blackwoods camp.
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Reading Progress

10/26/2011 page 260
78.0%
11/02/2011 page 334
100.0% "from the harsh to beautiful in so few pages."

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