A few months ago, when I first tried to read this book, I struggled with the early pages. Best opening line ever? was followed by lots of description of physical mannerisms and I found the unlikeliness of a person standing on a snowy balcony, dripping with bath-water, for long minutes, unbelievable. BUT I did go back and re-read and got momentum and the second time these mountains seemed more mole-hill and none of it stopped me reading, though I continued to notice. I got through the whole thing effortlessly and ended up really enjoying it. It has stayed with me, particularly some of the female characters. They are still with me, which is proof that this book works. So I guess this is a kind of tail-between-the-legs post to say that as soon as I read it I knew it would win the Miles Franklin and I think it deserved to win the award. It's a really large book and in parts is so beautifully written, she puts words together really really finely. So I take back what I said.
Suck job? Maybe, but really who cares. The book starts with a fabulous sentence, and if you can ignore the tucking of hair behind ears and repeated references to insignificant body characteristics, it's a great novel.
I was probably just bitter because she's so damn good-looking.
I recently read Foal's Bread, another on the short-list, and I loved this one as well. Where others have said they didn't really like the main female character for me, she was a sympathetic character, not least because of her flaws. This is great writing too.