In Australia this weekend has been a bank holiday, which to be honest does not mean much to me with being a stay at home mother. I end up doing the same stuff pretty much everyday. However, this weekend I have made a conscious effort to read a bit more as I have been to the local library and reserved a lot of books recently which I am desperate to read.
I have managed to get through a couple of books, and I am in the process of writing reviews for all of them which will be on the blog shortly.
The first book I read was Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills.
One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake up to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet? Does she have a disorder that alters her perception of time? Or is she a gifted and compulsive liar?
Oscillating between the future and the past, Dyschronia is a novel that tantalizes and dazzles as one woman’s prescient nightmares become entangled with her town’s uncertain fate.
The next book I managed to get through was a short book Margaret The First by Danielle Dutton.
While Margaret Cavendish addressed the Royal Society in 1667, Samuel Pepys recorded that her dress was so antic and her department is unordinary that ‘I do not like her at all’. And indeed, here vividly brought to life by Danielle Dutton, the shy, gifted and wildly unconventional duchess is wholly ‘unordinary’ and all the better for it.
Exiled to Paris at the start of the English Civil War, Margaret Meets and marries William Cavendish and, with his encouragement begins publishing volumes of poetry and philosophy, which soon becomes the talk of London. After the Restoration, upon their return to England, Margaret’s infamy grows. She causes controversy wherever she goes, once attending the theatre with breasts bared, and earns herself the nickname ‘Mad Madge’.
Yet while scorned by many, to others Margaret is a visionary, and to later readers including Virginia Woolf – she was an early precursor of feminism. She was the first woman invited to the Royal Society – and the last for 200 years – and the first English woman to write explicitly for publication. Unjustly neglected by history, Margaret The First – as she styled herself – was a bright, shining paradox.
The third book I read was The Lucky Galah by Tracy Sorensen.
It’s 1969 and a remote coastal town in Western Australia is posed to play a pivotal part in the moon landing. Perched on the red dunes of its outskirts looms the great Dish; a relay for messages between Apollo 11 and Houston, Texas. Radar technician Evan Johnson and his colleagues stare transfixed, at the moving images on the console – although his glossy young wife, Linda seems distracted. Meanwhile the people of Port Badminton have gathered to watch Armstrong’s small step on a single television sitting centre stage in the old theatre. The Kelly family, a crop of redheads, sit in rare silence. Roo shooters at the back of the hall squint through their rifle sights to see the tiny screen.
I’m in my cage on the Kelly’s back verandah. I sit here, unheard, underestimated, biscuit crumbs on my beak. But fate is a curious thing. For just as Evan Johnson’s story is about to end, (and perhaps with a giant leap), mystery prepares to take flight.
A full review of these three books will be on the blog shortly.