Things To Look Forward To 

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

November 2016

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, November 09, 2016

The Pulitzer is my favourite prize. It’s introduced me to a lot of writers, and great books, over the years. The Sympathizer by Thanh Viet Nguyen ($23) is no exception. An utterly original and gripping novel, from it’s memorable opening lines to its profound conclusion, this is an ambitious, at once dark and funny novel. Set during and after the Vietnamese War, the long, complex, often discursive narrative is told by an anonymous narrator(‘the Captain’). His life and double-identity (as spy, as immigrant and dual Vietnamese and American citizen, as victim and perpetrator of war crimes) provide the focus for some deeply fascinating and unsettling social and political satire and commentary. It’s a remarkable first novel.

I came to John le Carre’s books via the TV adaptations starring Alec Guinness in the 70s. He’s an absolute master of his genre, I reckon, and the wonderfully plotted novels are full of political wisdom and humanity. He’s at last published his first work of non-fiction, The Pigeon Tunnel ($33)—an alluring patchwork of reminiscences and stories about a writing career stretching over half a century. Some startling revelations, and home-truths, from a writer with an unflinching gaze, especially on himself.

Norman Ohler is a German novelist, whose remarkable best seller about whole scale substance abuse in Nazi Germany, Blitzed ($44.99) has just been published in English. It reads unevenly, as you might expect from a non-historian writing history, but it’s such a riveting subject (who knew that meth amphetamines were widely used by the Wehrmacht in their successful invasion of France in 1940, for instance—I certainly didn’t) that the idiosyncratic style doesn’t matter. It’s a macabre and eye-popping story, and a serious contribution to our understanding of one of the blackest periods in history. 

My year’s reading has been beautifully book ended by two wonderful collections of previously unpublished (or uncollected) pieces. So when it comes to my favourite read for the year it’s a dead heat between two all of the best writers of our time, Helen Garner and Tim Winton with Everywhere I Look ($30) and The Boy Behind the Curtain ($39.99).
This is our final newsletter for 2016. Thanks for sticking with us, and we’ll look forward to your readership next year. Look out for our 2016 Summer Reading Guide, which is full of tempting new releases and special offers. Hope you find something of value there. And for my last word, please remember the value of the work the Indigenous Literacy Foundation does, and think about a Christmas donation for their work, cheers,

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