A Pale View of Hills 

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

March 2019

Gleebooks Bookshop - Tuesday, February 26, 2019
I wish I had some Dully gossip for you this month but nobody tells me anything, so I don’t ... But I do have three fabulous books by three fabulous Australian writers to gush about.

Local author Debra Adelaide has published Zebra, a collection of stunning short-stories and one novella. The latter is a small tour-de-force written with a dead-pan humour about an imaginary female Prime  Minister who is sent a Zebra to live in the extensive gardens of, one assumes, the Lodge—or maybe it’s Kirribilli House, or more probably,  a fictional garden. And it’s in this garden that a strange and remarkable friendship is formed. In Festive Food for the Whole Family, a woman has a hideous Christmas Day catering to everyone’s dietary needs and peccadilloes only to realise certain betrayals are going on behind her back. Adelaide’s writing is  marvellous—there’s not one bad story in this collection and not a word out of place. She manages to juggle a wry humour with pathos and intellectual rigour. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book and happy to say that Debra came into the shop recently and signed copies for us. 

I’m not finished, but am enjoying enormously Peggy Frew’s book, Islands, out this month. In it, several generations of women from one family reflect on their lives and relationships lived on an island not far from Melbourne—a place for holiday houses and long, hot summers but also for all the things that can go wrong in a family. I’m falling in love with these prickly, very believable women.
March is an embarrassment of riches as also out this month is Carrie Tiffany’s excellent third novel, Exploded View—which takes its title from the car manual a (nameless) young girl studies assiduously, as in ‘Exploded View of  Front Disc Brakes Components’. Set in 70s suburbia, the reader is aware this girl is warding off danger and trouble. At 12 years old she takes her stepfather’s Holden at night and drives it far and wide while everyone sleeps. Beautifully written and extremely moving with a terrific ending, this is a book that, like Tiffany’s previous novel, Mateship with Birds, will be on many a prize shortlist. 

While Peggy Frew was shortlisted for the Stella Prize for her previous book Hope Farm, Carrie Tiffany won the inaugural Stella with her novel, Mateship with Birds. And the Stella longlist has been announced this year with much to recommend it. In fact, there’s so many good books on the list, it’s hard to guess what or who, will win. Good luck to all the authors. See you on D’Hill, Morgan

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