Monday, July 30, 2012

Past the Shallows

I bought this yesterday at Readings. Really, me and Readings is a dangerous combination. I was in there with P and the longer I'm in there, the more likely I am to pick up something else. Once something is picked up, it's rarely put back.

Come on, I said to her. She was sitting down the back, looking at something vampiric.

Just a minute, she said.

I wandered back to new releases. To the tables. And picked up another two.

Walked out with Past the Shallows, Jasper Jones, The Light Between Oceans by M L Stedman (about a lighthouse; one day I'd like to write about a lighthouse) and the new Jonathan Franzen collection of essays Farther Away. I, unlike many others it seems, love Franzen's writing.

Everyone has raved about Jasper Jones and we have to discuss the first chapter tomorrow night at my writing/reading group. Past the Shallows I read and finished this morning, it's a quick read but it's moving. Disappointed (or unsurprised) to note the usual suspects in terms of the following cliched appearances (some of which appear in my first novel, too, so I'm not blameless): a significant photograph, a car crash, a dead mother (seriously, everyone has dead or disappeared or distant mothers). Also a violent father. It also very quickly reminded me of Winton (the sea)/Hemingway (again, sea motifs) and Mockingbird (Boo Radley echo) but while I felt this was obvious, perhaps it was just moi? As it was, the brothers and their relationship was beautifully rendered. It was moving and I enjoyed it. I shed a tear which always counts for lots of points. She writes beautifully. It was spare but not too spare. It was filled-in but not too filled-in. There was no stultifying interior 'feelings' stuff (something I'm guilty of in my writing sometimes.) It deserved the recent Dobbie award.

With the recent 'Australian' books I put All That I Am above Foal's Bread only because it is an 'important, global, large' book but I adored Foal's Bread more, and Past the Shallows I liked a lot.


squib said...

The gaps indicate the degrees between those rankings too. I wish they had degrees of stars on Goodreads. I'm not sure about your system with the gaps though. I don't think that works

Melba said...

i didn't want to do stars but if I had to I would go

ATIA - 4*
Foal's Bread - 3.5*
Past the Shallows - 3*
Five Bells - 1.75*
Animal PPl - .5*

And I have just finished Jasper Jones which everyone has raved about big time and yes it's good, yes it's even wonderful but there were a couple of buts so it wasn't impeccable. But pretty bloody good. Have you read that one?

Wrote a poem today squib.

squib said...

No, haven't read Jasper Jones - I like to escape when I read :)

Just finished The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy, twas good but not special. Am about to read Lady Audley's Secret

A poem? What do you want to go doing that for?

Melba said...

Do you mean Jasper is too real or something?

The poem just came out in about three minutes. Then I tinkered a little. It's probably not how it's done but it's just what happened.