The Labyrinth

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Amanda Lohrey

Text Publishing, $24.99

This is the winner of the 2021 Miles Franklin Award and currently shortlisted for The Age Book of the Year – a great reward for the 74-year old Tasmanian writer. It tells the story of a woman who moves to a small village on the south coast of NSW in order to be close to her son, recently sentenced to years in a local prison for homicidal … Read more »

After Story

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Larissa Behrendt

This is the most enjoyable book I have read this year. Thanks again to the wonderful staff at Candelo Books for the recommendation.

An Indigenous mother and daughter travel to the UK for a literary tour that introduces the mother, Della, to Sherlock Holmes, Virginia Woolf, DH Lawrence, the Brontë sisters, Dickens, Jane Austen and others, most of whom she only knows through television shows. Her daughter, Jasmine, is a trainee lawyer; for her, literature has been a life-long comfort. She was only three when her sister … Read more »

Shuggie Bain

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor
Douglas Stuart
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
$32.99

This is the debut novel of a Scottish/American writer that was long-listed for the Booker Prize and has received rave reviews. It is set in Glasgow in the 1980s against the backdrop of mine and factory closures, as grim a story I have read as any set in Scotland and centred on the working class in Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. Agnes Bain, a former beauty who expected much of … Read more »

Hamnet

Review by Heather O’Connor
Hamnet
Maggie O’Farrell

$22.99

I bought this book without any knowledge of it, but who can resist buying a special at Readings in Carlton? Hamnet is a novel inspired by what little is known about Shakespeare’s son, a twin to his sister, Judith, who falls ill unto death with the plague. It is worth reading the whole book for the heart-breaking description of how the plague spread around the world, finally arriving at Stratford-on-Avon. There are traumatic descriptions of how Agnes, Shakespeare’s wife and mother of … Read more »

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. … 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 … Read more »