Saturday, May 31, 2014

We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

What if life throws you a curveball, shearing your dreams off course? Eileen Leary harbors modest ambitions: family, a modest home, work with meaning. Just when she can reach it all though, the Learys are dealt a crippling blow. This is a grand novel told through the lens of one valiant family. It’s a perfect encapsulation of all the complexities of the great American dream -- so close and yet out of grasp for many. The subject matter is rife for melodrama but in his moving debut, despite a shaky start, Matthew Thomas avoids cliche to devastating and remarkable effect. 4.5 stars.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Eyrie by Tim Winton

A disillusioned environmentalist, Tom Keely is barely hanging on as his life grows increasingly moldy. He is making do in a small flat in a high-rise in Fremantle, Australia, when an old childhood acquaintance moves in next door. What’s worse, she has baggage -- and a past she is escaping from as well. As Tom gets sucked into a messy whirlpool of social obligations, he begins clutching at straws to save them all from the morass. Winton’s brilliant way with dialog and plotting are in full force in this novel which raises large existentialist questions without ever losing a beat.