We had an interesting night of discussion about the books longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award.
An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire explores two women, a murder and the media’s coverage of the death. Comment about this book included: “irritating journalist, a real pageturner, the author did not like men – every man had an agenda or a problem, great portrayal of grief, the killer was found but we don’t find the motive or reasoning behind it, showed small town attitudes, didn’t finish it – it was crude and horrible, it was from the point of view of the representation of the victim, explored what death meant to the people who loved them, and it brought a different perspective to a murder story.”
The Last Days of Ava Langdon by Mark O’Flynn is about a misunderstood outsider who refuses to concede to societal expectations. Comments included “It’s an unusual and interesting book based on a true story, didn’t like it at first, but the more I read the more I liked it, it is quirky, there are great turns of phrases and she also invents words.”
Hold by Kirsten Tranter is a haunting, hypnotic and enticing novel of grief and desire. The book is about a woman whose lover dies in a surfing accident. She moves into a terrace with her new partner still in a state of subdued grief and she discovers a door to a small intriguing room. Comments included “very promising, but at the end of the book issues are not addressed so it proved to be unsatisfactory.”
Extinctions by Josephine Wilson is a novel which explores ageing, adoption, grief, remorse to rescue. Comments included “sterotyped, had all these people in it with issues, it did leave you wondering and it was unrealistic.”
Waiting by Philip Salom is about two odd couples both waiting for their lives to change. Two people found this a challenge to read and did not finish it. They said they weren’t engaged in the characters and found them unbelievable.
Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson is a beautiful novel about the innocence of childhood and the scars that stay with you for life. Comments included “two parallel stories in a way, alternating views made it challenging to read, it is a political text by an environmental writer, it’s about Aboriginal heritage, the trees are front and centre of the book, very well written, and conclusion was not neat.”
The Miles Franklin Literary Award “shall be awarded to the entry considered by the majority of judges to be of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.”
The majority of the group selected An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire as the front runner for the award which will be announced in September.
The next Pageturners meeting will be held on Wednesday 9th August at 5.30pm to discuss The Last Man of Europe by Dennis Glover. It is a novelised biography that depicts George Orwell as he pens his most enduring and relevant book Nineteen Eighty-Four.
The book for discussion at the September 13 meeting will be Camino Island by John Grisham. It is about a gang of thieves who stage a daring heist from a secret vault deep below Princton Unifersity’s Firestone Library.