Next Up Author Michael Ondaatje

English Patient

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje opens in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of the Second World War where Hana, a nurse, tends to her sole remaining patient. Rescued from a burning plane, the anonymous Englishman is damaged beyond recognition and haunted by painful memories. The only clue Hana has to unlocking his past is the one thing he clung on to through the fire – a copy of The Histories by Herodotus, covered with hand-written notes detailing a tragic love affair.

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje (Bloomsbury Publishing) has been announced as the winner of the Golden Man Booker Prize. The winner of this special one-off prize was chosen by the public. All 51 previous winners were considered by a panel of five specially appointed judges, each of whom was asked to read the winning novels from one decade of the prize’s history, before the books faced a month-long public vote on the Man Booker website.

About the author: Michael Ondaatje is the author of several award-winning novels, as well as a memoir,  a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. Among other accolades, his novel The English Patient won the Booker Prize in 1992 and the Golden Man Booker in 2018; Anil’s Ghost won the Irish Times International Fiction Prize, the Giller prize, and the Prix Medicis. Born in Sri Lanka, Michael Ondaatje lives in Toronto, Canada.


The September book for discussion at Pageturners is Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel Warlight. The discussion will be held on Wednesday 12th September at 5.30pm.


Top Ten Bestselling Fiction List

Pieces of her


Better Reading Top Ten Bestselling Fiction List:

  1. Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter (HarperCollins)
  2. The Other Woman by Daniel Silva (HarperCollins)
  3. Scrublands by Chris Hammer (Allen & Unwin)
  4. Liar Liar by James Patterson and Candice Fox (Century)
  5. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (HarperCollins)
  6. The Other Wife by Michael Robotham (Hachette)
  7. The Nowhere Child by Christian White (Affirm Press)
  8. Careless Love by Peter Robinson (Hachette)
  9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris (Echo Publishing)
  10. The President is Missing by James Patterson and President Bill Clinton (Century)

© Nielsen BookScan 2018 Week Ending 04/08/18

Still want more to read? You can also check out the weekly top 10 bestselling non-fiction list and the top 10 bestselling children’s books list on Better Reading.

Miles Franklin Award Discussion

We had a great discussion about the Miles Franklin Literary Award nominated books and tried to predict the winner. The favourite is Storyland by Catherine McKinnon, simply because more people enjoyed this one. No votes were received for The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser so that could be an ‘omen’ bet for the awards. A few chose Gerald Murnane as they thought it was time he was recognised for his writing and there a was a vote each for the other nominated books. Good Luck everyone! The winner is announced on Sunday 26 August.

Miles Franklin Literary Award Shortlisted Books Pageturner comments:

Shortlist-image-miles-franklin-746x419 (Small)No More Boats by Felicity Castanga a story of migrants, set in Parramatta, “political back story, cynical about Australian history, good writing, strong story.”

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser – revolving around three characters in Sydney Paris and Sri Lanka, “I read it but I can’t remember anything about it, lovely writing, beautiful descriptions, only read half of it, I was bored, too clever with words, tedious, waste of time, jumped from character to character, it is interesting enough to be a winner this year.”

The Last Garden by Eva Hornung – When Matthias Oriaon shoots his wife and himself, on the same day their son Benedict returns from boarding school, a small religious community is shattered, “gets you in straight away, she writes so well, thought-provoking. I’m voting for it.”

Storyland by Catherine McKinnon –  Set on Lake Illawarra, this is a compelling novel of five separate narratives which span four centuries. “Really liked this book, loved how the place followed through the years and the characters were gently linked through time, I loved the way she segued from one character to the next in the middle of a sentence, I didn’t like the futuristic 2033, vividly presented, nested narratives, lots of loose ends, gaps in time, strength in the setting and geography, the land is the main character, cleverly put together, some stories didn’t finish, there was no value in the narrative jump, I enjoyed it the most.”

Border Districts by Gerald Murnane –  Similar to the author himself, the narrator has moved from bustling Melbourne to a small town on the Wimmera Plains where he intends to spend the last years of his life. Critic says “meditating on fragments of his past, exhaustively and compulsively,” “should’ve kept his thoughts to himself, every page seemed to be the same, this author is well regarded overseas but not widely recognised in Australia.”

Taboo by Kim Scott – set in present day Western Australia this novel tells the story of a group of Noongar people, “portrayal of families, quite dull to listen to may be different when reading the book, cryptic writing, not an easy read, strong send of place coming through.”

And who are the judges?:

Traditionally, the serving Mitchell Librarian has always been a fixture on the judging panel. Other vacancies are filled by recommendations from past judges, in consultation with the Award’s trustees, Perpetual as Trustee. 2018 Judges:

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 12th September to talk about Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.

The publisher says: From the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author of The English Patient: a mesmerising new novel that tells a dramatic story set in the decade after World War II through the lives of a small group of unexpected characters and two teenagers whose lives are indelibly shaped by their unwitting involvement.




August Meeting Wednesday 8th


Shortlist-image-miles-franklin-746x419 (Small)

We will be discussing the Miles Franklin Literary Award nominated books on Wednesday 8th August at 5.30pm at Orange City Library. Please RSVP to eventbrite or call 6393 8132.

Here is the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award Shortlist:

  • NO MORE BOATS by Felicity Castagna (Giramondo Publishing): A man, once a migrant himself, finds his world imploding. He is forced to retire, his wife and left him, and his children ignore him. The 2001 Tampa crisis is the background to his despair at the disappearance of the certainties he once knew. 
  • THE LIFE TO COME by Michelle de Kretser (Allen & Unwin): Revolving around three characters in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka, this novel is about the stories we tell and don’t tell ourselves as individuals, societies and nations, and highlights how the past and future can change the present. 
  • THE LAST GARDEN by Eva Hornung (Text Publishing):When Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the same day their son Benedict returns from boarding school, a small religious community is shattered. Benedict is struck dumb with grief. Their pastor feels his authority challenged by the tragedy. Both must come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human. 
  • STORYLAND by Catherine McKinnon (HarperCollins Publishers): Set on Lake Illawarra, this is a compelling novel of five separate narratives which span four centuries. Ultimately all these characters are connected by blood, history, place and memory: together they tell the story of Australia. 
  • BORDER DISTRICTS by Gerald Murnane (Giramondo Publishing): Similar to the author himself, the narrator of this novel has moved from bustling Melbourne to a small town on the Wimmera Plains, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. Mediating on fragments of his past, exhaustively and compulsively, Border Districts explores the border land between life and death. 
  • TABOO by Kim Scott (Picador Australia – Pan Macmillan Australia): Set in present-day rural Western Australia, this novel tells the story of a group of Noongar people, who after many decades revisit a taboo area: the site of a massacre. Taboo explores how the Noongar and descendants of the family that initiated the massacre so long ago wrestle with the possibilities of reconciliation.

For more details go to the Miles Franklin Literary Award website.

See you soon!

More on Wuthering Heights

Emily Bronte

Emily Bronte was born on 30 July 1818 and died in 1848 – just a year after her book Wuthering Heights was published.

She died in the place she’d lived since the age of two, Haworth Parsonage in Yorkshire England. She was just 30 years old.

But despite her young age and only publishing one book, her cult has grown ever since and it seems the mythology around her as grown too.

Australian author Sandra Leigh Price is an Emily Bronte acolyte and exposes some of the myths about Emily Bronte’s life.

Listen to ABC Radio’s The Hub on Books about Emily Bronte myths:,-who-was-emily-bronte/10050998

Wuthering Heights Discussion

Wuthering heights

Publishers Penguin describe Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte as perhaps the most “haunting and tormented” love story ever written, Wuthering Heights is the tale of the troubled orphan Heathcliff and his doomed love for Catherine Earnshaw.

Published in 1847, the year before Emily Bronte’s death at the age of thirty, Wuthering Heights has proved to be one of the nineteenth century’s most popular yet disturbing masterpieces. The windswept moors are the unforgettable setting of this tale of the love between the foundling Heathcliff and his wealthy benefactor’s daughter, Catherine. Through Catherine’s betrayal of Heathcliff and his bitter vengeance, their mythic passion haunts the next generation even after their deaths.

Pageturners talked about the setting, the characters, the narrators, some humour, the intensity of the novel, the writing, the isolation, the themes of revenge and redemption, whether Heathcliff was a hero or victim, selfish Cathy and obsessive love.

Comments included: “It’s a bit dated, characters are so intense, felt sorry for Heathcliff, love the language, beautifully written descriptions, feel like you are there or could draw it, very gothic and not realistic, didn’t like Cathy at all, it’s about love triangles, redemption, revenge and repression, Cathy’s a manipulator, Heathcliff was systematic in his revenge, there is physical and psychological violence, there are extreme behaviours, everyone’s feeling are intense, can see comparisons with Poldark, Bronte was ahead of her time, it’s about the class system and the role of women.”

Star ratings out of five for the book were mostly in the 4s and 5s. High praise for this classic novel.

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 8th August at 5.30pm in Orange City Library to discuss books shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. We will also try to predict the winner:

Felicity Castagna – No More Boats

Michelle de Krestser – The Life to Come

Eva Hornung – The Last Garden

Catherine McKinnon – Storyland

Gerald Murnane – Border Districts

Kim Scott – Taboo

For more about the shortlisted books go to The winners will be announced on Sunday 26th August.