A Pale View of Hills 

Dulwich Hill branch manager, radio personality, and book selling superstar, Morgan Smith tells us how it is.

Shock and Awe

 - Wednesday, September 03, 2014

There was shock and awe on D’Hill in August when our next door neighbours, Con Kazantzidis and his mother Soula closed The Last Drop Café in what seemed a very sudden move. But both Con and Soula have been thinking about moving on for some time now. Soula has been getting up at sparrows every day for years to prepare her unsurpassed spanakopita, lentil soup and delicious meatballs—all of which will be sorely missed by her customers. Having been an incredibly hardworking businesswoman for decades, Soula surely deserves to rest and spend time with her grandchildren and to give even more to her beloved church. And Con, well, what to say about the debonair, multi-talented Con—who knows what venture he will pop up with next? They have sold the business to the Campos coffee people (Dulwich residents apparently!) so we look forward to a new, trendy, ever-so-hip café experience right next door. Vale The Last Drop Café and I’m sure I speak for all their regulars when I say a heartfelt thanks and best wishes to Con and Soula.
I have already warned you of the literary riches to come this Christmas. I know it seems early to utter that word, but we are busily buying and reading the books which will hopefully capture your interest in the months to come.
Available now is The Golden Age by West Australian writer Joan London (Gilgamesh). The title refers to a children’s Polio convalescent home in Perth in the 1950s where 12 year olds, Frank and Elsa, find joy and solace in their love for each other. The backdrop of the polio epidemic which so frightened parents of the time, and the portrayal of the adults in Frank and Elsa’s lives, gives gravitas and an unsentimental poignancy to this exquisitely written, poetic story.
Sonya Hartnett is mainly known as a YA (young adult) author, and in her new adult novel, Golden Boys, she also places children at the centre of a dark suburban story set in a time when a BMX bike is the most desirable thing a boy can have. Syd, Declan and Freya are the children of an alcoholic father and their boring summer holidays look up when a more wealthy family move into the area. Colt and Bastian’s father buys them everything they could wish for and their swimming pool and toys lure the neighbourhood children to their house—but they soon realise there is an ulterior motive for his generosity and friendliness. Sparingly written, in Golden Boys, Hartnett ventures into Tim Winton territory and for mine, leaves him in the shade.