A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel is an enormous tome detailing the French revolution. I did find it a little bit difficult as I do not have a great deal of knowledge about the French revolution. Therefore, the characters’ names where unfamiliar as was the timeline. But I did indeed learn a lot about the revolution which was far more complicated than I had realised. One idea does stand out though, the fact that revolutionaries start off as the opposition but once they achieve power and are no longer the opposition, they insist that any opposition to them is wrong. It becomes a battle of being with us or against us – there is no middle ground. It seems that all revolutions end in this manner; killing off anyone who thinks differently when the reason the revolutionaries gained power was because they did think differently. Ironic, isn’t it?
A History of Books by Gerald Murnane is a book that I hope never to read again. I’m sorry but I found it hard going and not interesting in the slightest. If it wasn’t for the last story, A Letter to My Niece, I would have given up in despair. I know he probably writes for the beauty of the English language but what he writes is vague and difficult. Not my type of book at all.
Desert Fish by Cherise Saywell proves that you don’t have to like a character to acknowledge a good story. I couldn’t stand the main female character and kept wishing she would do something different but that was who she was and that was the life she lived. I didn’t understand her and the choices she made. Saywell writes a thought provoking and provocative piece of fiction.
Eleven Seasons by Paul D Carter is not, as the title implies, all about Australian Rules Football. It is much more than that. It is about a teenage boy learning to live in a tough world which, for him, had a sad and traumatic beginning. I found Carter an empathetic and engaging writer. And I’m glad the book wasn’t only about Aussie Rules!