Klara and the Sun

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor
Klara and the Sun
Kazuo Ishiguro
$32.99

It is a bit of a cliché, but this really is a much awaited novel – Ishiguro’s eighth and his first since winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2017. It falls into the category of science fiction but don’t be turned off if that is not where you usually go. Klara is an Artificial Friend, bought as a companion to a very sick teenage girl, Rosie. Rosie … Read more »

The Paris Library

Janet Skeslien Charles
$32.99

Books like this are my dream! Books themselves are the central characters – collected, stored, borrowed, discussed and loved by staff and customers of libraries (and bookshops) the world over.
The library in this story is a real institution – the American Library in Paris. Staffed by multilingual librarians, it survived the Nazi occupation of Paris but only because of the total dedication of the staff and volunteers. They ensured that troops in the field received books and arranged home delivery when Jews were banned … Read more »

What is to be done? Political engagement and saving the planet

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

What is to be done? Political engagement and saving the planet.
Barry Jones
$35.00

I can’t remember having reviewed a political book before but have made this an exception because I feel nostalgic for Barry Jones, the first Minister for Science in the Hawke government. I was also interested in how he would update his groundbreaking work of the 1980s, Sleepers Wake. That book had an enormous influence in debates here and overseas about the … Read more »

Jack

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor
Jack
Marilynne Robinson
Virago Press $29.99

Recommended by Barack Obama as one of his top books for 2020. The rest of her fans have been eagerly awaiting this fourth in her Gilead series: Gilead, Home and Lila, each of which can be read as a stand-alone novel, but each is also an important part of the, not strictly sequential, series. Set in the late 1940s, the books centre on the Boughton and Ames families, … Read more »

Leave the World Behind

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam
Ecco Press, $25.99

This is the third novel by this author, of whom I had never heard. It has received terrific reviews, so I have chosen it to kick off 2021. 

My first comment is that if you are one of many of us who are still feeling fragile after the challenges of 2020, you might want to give this a miss for a few more months. The central … Read more »

Mammoth

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Mammoth
Chris Flynn
UQP, $29.99

This very interesting book is narrated by a 13,000-year-old extinct mammoth, told to his fellow extinct creatures as they await their sale to customers in New York in 2007. As Thomas Kenneally wrote, ‘Mammoth (encapsulates) the macro-history of all life in the tale of one species.’ It’s a strong critique of the role humans have played in destroying the natural world, but it manages … Read more »