A Pale View of Hills 

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

February 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Wednesday, February 06, 2019
Oh dear—it’s all over isn’t it? I’m not bemoaning the passing of the Festive season so much as the lovely long summer holidays that follow—for some! I had two weeks off during which I saw some fantastic movies, watched the final season of The Americans, went to the beach a few times, joined the decluttering frenzy (one linen closet!), got bitten by a dog and read some great books.

I love nothing more than discovering a new writer—new to me, anyway—and was bowled over by Valeria Luiselli, a Mexican writer who lives in New York and whose latest book is the utterly astonishing Lost Children Archive. In it Luiselli counterpoints two journeys—that of a couple, both sound archivists who, with their two precocious but funny and lovable children, drive from New York City to Arizona. The husband and father (no-one is named for reasons that don’t escape me but do annoy me) is researching the last of the Apache (much interesting history here) while the woman, a Mexican like the author, is trying to find her way in to a project about the thousands of children who travel alone, through dreadful hardship and uncertainty, from Central America through Mexico to the United States. A deeply intelligent, politically prescient and topical book, it is also one in which the prose swoops and soars and holds you in its thrall. In her skewering of the human condition, Luiselli reminds me of Siri Hustvedt, that other brainiac New Yorker.  Lost Children Archive is out this month and I can’t wait for you all to read it.

Also out this month and highly recommended is the sixth and last book in Steven Carroll’s Glenroy series which chronicle a suburban Melbourne family from the early 20th, to the early 21st Century. In The Year of the Beast, WW1 and the rise of the suffragette movement provide the background to the story of the brave and resilient Maryanne who defies social mores to keep her illegitimate baby Vic—father of Michael, who the central character of the rest of the Glenroy series. Beautifully written, the book circles back and around the other novels and characters in the series but can be read on its own. The six books in the Glenroy series, along with his four books based on T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, is  a remarkable body of work—which, despite several literary awards and shortlistings, has not wide enough a readership. Let’s remedy that this year.

This February it is my great pleasure to introduce you to the new children’s buyer at Dulwich Hill. Naomi Mamolis will be known to many of you as she has been the Director of the Dulwich Hill preschool for many years. Serendipitously, Naomi was looking for a new challenge (and challenge it will be) just as we needed to fill Mandy’s shoes, and so we snapped her up. All of us at gleebooks are looking forward to working with Naomi and I’m sure you’ll join us in making her welcome. See you on D’Hill, Morgan

 
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