Things To Look Forward To 

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

March 2018

Gleebooks Bookshop - Friday, March 02, 2018
Here’s what I’m reading this month, from that precarious bedside table pile:

Tim Winton: The Shepherd’s Hut. (March)  I mentioned this book in my last column, and It’s stayed with me so that I need to revisit it. The best writers (and Winton is certainly one) can rework a landscape, a setting, a human condition, and never write the same book twice. The Shepherd’s Hut is powerfully and profoundly original, and in Jaxie Clackton, the novel’s protagonist—an adolescent man on an epic journey across the West Australian salt basins, Winton has created an unforgettable character. His journey to adulthood (and we hope he makes it), is like no other, and offers a compelling and eloquent (Winton’s  language and imagery are pitch perfect, as ever) meditation on growing up, in the harshest conditions imaginable. It’s brilliant. 

Julian Barnes: The Only Story. (out now) So what’s the ‘only story’? Well, love of course, Barnes’ abiding preoccupation. But despite the clear echoes of The Sense of an Ending, with its psychological acuteness and seemingly effortless construction, this is a more concentrated, melancholic story. For The Only Story describes a relationship between a younger man and an older married woman (he 19, she 48, when they meet) which lasts years, ends sadly, and dominates the life of our narrator (the young man, Paul). But it’s beautifully wrought and observed, as you’d imagine, and the detail in thought and language is exquisite

Matthew Klam: Who is Rich? (late April) It’s nearly 20 years since Matthew Klam’s quirky collection of stories Sam the Cat saw him hailed as the next big thing in American fiction. Who is Rich? is funny, provocative and acerbically satirical. The action takes place at an East Coast summer education program, where our narrator, Rich Fischer, a middle-aged graphic artist, has taught since he was a hot young artist. Now he scrapes out a living for his family of four, illustrating for a political magazine which seems to have seen better days. And he is failing miserably to uphold his duties as husband, father and breadwinner. In a way, the train wreck which ensues is as predictable as it is rewarding to read, but though the bitter., self-lacerating humour is a thread of serious investigation of just who Rich is, and how precarious the navigation of a life ‘dedicated’ to art can be. Intriguing and original, and well worth a read.

Gail Jones: The Death of Noah Glass (April) I’ve been a huge fan of Jones’ fiction, and this, her seventh novel, doesn’t disappoint. It’s a beautiful mosaic of family life, moving between the lives of a (just dead) art historian and his two adult children who are attempting to come to terms with the mystery of his last year. Incredibly, it seems their father, the eponymous Noah, is a suspect in the theft of a sculpture from a museum in Palermo, and both children are forced to retrace his life’s path. So we have a story rich in wise and sharp reflection about family relationship, about grief and living on, about religious art and much more. Palermo. There’s romance, crime and mystery thrown in, within a narrative that moves seamlessly between Sydney and Sicily. David Gaunt

 
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