Pageturners Discuss Cooper Not Out

Pageturners June meetings were spent talking about a new novel by Justin Smith titled Cooper Not Out. This charming story is about an unlikely hero – Sergeant Roy Cooper – a country policeman in the small country town of Penguin Hill. He’s been batting for his local cricket club for decades – where he’s a statistical miracle. He’s overweight, he makes very few runs, he’s not pretty to watch, but he’s never been dismissed……

But while the book is funny, it does have serious underlying themes of sexism, homosexuality and domestic violence as well as being a love letter to cricket.  

Comments from the Daytime Meeting included:

“I really enjoyed it, loved it, it was light, just like The Dish, it brought me back to Summer and having the cricket on the radio all the time, it is a feel good book, is was a bit far-fetched, it’s about staying true to yourself, it is an easy read, it is set in the 80s, the Wally Grant character was a caricature, I loved reading about the West Indies team – they were poetry to watch, the writing reminded me of Trent Dalton – that laconic storytelling, shows sport is an important cultural phenomenon, I learnt some cricket terms, there were quirky people in the town, I didn’t like it – it didn’t go far enough – these themes could’ve been explored more, it is a tall tale, it was fun. Ratings ranged from 1 to 3.5 and 4.”

Comments from the Evening Meeting included:

“There were no chapters, I didn’t notice that, it was a quick and easy read, nostalgic, loved all the characters, the old lady and the trolley was familiar, I liked the little girl and journalist relationship, there was a level of tension in the book – they were going to be found out, the sister didn’t say anything, I didn’t know anything about cricket and it didn’t matter, the author showed the cricketers as they were, he portrayed the West Indies team well, the real was blended well with the fiction, portrayed the atmosphere of a small country town, Roy was picked out the blue – that was far-fetched, loved how they all turned up for the parade in Penguin Hill, loved all the friendships, liked Donna’s relationship, Australian story  like The Dish, or The Castle, just wondered about the term “gone out”?, I liked Roy – he’s a silent achiever, backbone of country policing, Roy hung in there!, loved the CWA ladies, it was  journey into rural Victoria.” Ratings ranged from 3.5 to 4.5.

Interview with Justin Smith The Canberra Times

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