Things To Look Forward To 

David Gaunt has owned Gleebooks with partner Roger Mackell since 1976.

Farewell to 2013

 - Monday, November 04, 2013
It always seems odd to say Happy Christmas and farewell to the year,
when it's months away, but, then again, it's a monthly newsletter which
finishes in November each year. So, on behalf of Gleebooks, season's
greetings to you, our readers and gleeclub members, and thanks for
your loyal interest and custom for the year. Again, considering the turmoil
and pace of change in the book industry, we're pleased to still be
here, really, given how tough trading is. And, on behalf of Roger and
myself, I'd like to thank our knowledgeable and dedicated staff, and
acknowledge Viki, our gleaner editor, for producing a publication of
which we're all proud. We love it and hope you do too. And, we hope
you find lots of goodies (and plenty of bargains) in the publication
which replaces the gleaner over summer, our Summer Reading Guide
which our subscribers will get in mid November (it will be in The Sydney
Morning Herald on Monday 18th as well).

As a reader, 2013 has been dominated by some very good new fiction,
much of it Australian. The outstanding international publication of the
year for me was Phillip Meyer's The Son, set in 19th and 20th century
Texas, across five generations of one family. It's a novel of enormous
power, passion and deeply imagined truths about past and present.
On the local scene, the stand outs for me until this month have been
Coetzee's extraordinarily original and enigmatic Childhood of Jesus,
Ashley Hay's poignant The Railwayman's Wife, Debra Adelaide's wise
and witty collection (the title story is absolutely outstanding) called
Letter to George Clooney, and Fiona McFarlane's splendidly poised
and sensitive The Night Guest, the best first novel I've read in ages.
And then, in October, along came Flanagan, Winton and Tsiolkas.
Phew. Each asks a lot of the reader: they are demanding to read and
cover tough terrain. But each is at the same time very rewarding. Eyrie
has stayed with me, not least because Tim Winton is an immensely
gifted writer, who makes beauty out of the grim subject he has set himself.
And in The Narrow Road to the Deep North, I believe Richard
Flanagan has created a novel of transcendent worth. He has taken a
moment in history (the Burma Railway) and created something quite
unforgettable. My book of the year.

Finally, I'm so pleased that for once I was genuinely delighted by the
announcement of a Nobel prize. Gleebooks is full of readers utterly
devoted to Alice Munro, the Canadian writer whose short stories across
the last forty years have transformed the genre, while adding immeasurably
to our pleasure and understanding. If you've missed her until
now, you've a treat in store (start with Runaway or Hateship, Friendship,
Courtship, Loveship, Marriage) and if you've read everything
she's written, you'd better take her word that she's put her pen away for
good, and start rereading. She's worth it.

David Gaunt