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Rodney Wetherell

Melbourne Australia
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Engaging political thriller

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-12-2019

There is nothing quite like this novel in Australian literature I don't think - perhaps it could be compared to On the Beach, at a stretch. It foretells a near future for Tasmania, and Australia, that is depressing to say the least - but I have had similar thoughts to Heather Rose's, about how easily Australians could lie down before a far wealthier and more entrepreneurial China. The family story so prominent in Bruny strays into soap opera territory, but I quite enjoyed it all. If a movie is planned based on this novel, I wonder how they will solve the problem of creating an enormous bridge from the main island over to Bruny Island.

Odd encounter with rapper

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-12-2019

This did not grab me greatly, though I admired Nick Earls' skill with dialogue. A lot of it seemed trivial, and I kept wondering where it was going. I did get with it about half way through, and the ending is worth waiting for. Rhys Muldoon's reading was competent though not at the top level for Audible readers.

Fine reading of entertaining biography

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-11-2019

I began listening to this book with a somewhat heavy heart - could anyone make Captain Cook interesting as well as admirable? The answer is yes, Peter FitzSimons can, with the aid of his numerous researchers who dug out information from obscure sources, Peter tell us. There is so much extra stuff I had not heard about or imagined - details of naval procedure and exploration, customs of the inhabitants of Pacific islands, differences between Cook and Banks, info about the other men on the Endeavour etc. etc. Peter's narrative style is quirky but always engaging, even gripping. I am so glad I read it, or heard the reading. Michael Carman does a great job narrating the book, with many thorny pronunciations to deal with.
One question remains: when Cook was sailing up the 2000-mile eastern coast of Australia, why did he continue to deny the possibility of a Great South Land? Was he expecting something the size of Asia? It was 'only New Holland', he says, more or less. What did he think New Holland consisted of?

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Well-read novel full of eccentrics

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-11-2019

I had never read Nicholas Nickleby and found it just as rambling,vividly written and full of characters including two major villains, as many of Dickens' other novels. It has its dull moments, but lots of highlights too. The reading by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith was wonderful - he gets the characters so well, and held the narrative tension superbly.

Too many cooks

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 16-10-2019

This is a well-known book in Australia, and the winner of some major awards, even though its author remains trapped on Manus Island, or Manus Prison as he calls it. I was most impressed by the book, though wondered how much I missed or misunderstood, from my total ignorance of Kurdish or Farsi literary traditions. However, I did not appreciate the many readers enlisted to read it. This is very much an autobiographical work, and therefore best heard by a reader doing a good acting job, ie 'becoming' Behrouz Boochani for the listener. To have several readers, as this audio book does, takes away from that possibility. Inevitably some readers are better than others - indeed I found a couple of them quite poor, with voices best kept well away from a microphone. With the 'celebrity' readers, Richard Flanagan, Geoffrey Robertson, Tom Keneally and Ben Law, it was hard to think beyond these well-known voices and personalities.
I could not stand the very frequent use of the invented word 'kyrarchial' - not invented by Boochani, I realize, but used by him often. I thought it was 'hierachical' mispronounced, at first, and indeed that word might have been used most of the time. It is not easy to adjust to such a specialist term like 'kyrarchial', and introduces the impression that this is an academic work. That impression is heightened by the long introduction and afterword by the (no doubt excellent) translator. Both of these seemed to me to urge us to read the book in certain ways, not to form our own impressions of the book unaided.

Revealing, often amusing stories of queer life

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-09-2019

As I began listening to this audio book, I wondered if we needed to hear any more stories of growing up gay, or queer - haven't we heard enough? It did not take long for me to be convinced that this is a valuable addition to the literature of queer life in Australia. There is so much variety here - memories from men and women of different ages and attitudes. Benjamin Law is to be congratulated on putting together a wonderful collection of stories - and reading many of the men's stories himself. The women readers were good too. I would recommend this book to anyone.

Gripping revenge story

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 25-08-2019

I have always admired Peter Goldsworthy's writing, and enjoyed this foray into a field new to him - not quite trad crime writing, but a story of revenge sought by a former policeman in Adelaide who was blinded by a man later jailed for a vicious rape - and for shooting the policeman. Now he has escaped and will probably look for the cop who put him behind bars. A large amount of the book consists of dialogue, very well conveyed by reader Tony Schmitz (if too speedily for me in places). I found the characters very believable, and the story well told. The last scene between Rick the former policeman and his pursuer is perhaps too detailed and drawn out, but it is quite brilliant really. I would recommend this reading and novel to anyone - except the faint-hearted.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Superb reading of gripping novel

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-2019

As I began to listen to this book, I did not think I would enjoy it, with its dysfunctional and criminal characters, plus puzzling things like the red phone. It was not long before reader Stig Wemyss had me thoroughly involved in the story. Having grown up in Brisbane, I knew so many of the places mentioned, though the vicious drug gangs were not around then I don't think (the 1950s). How quiet respectable Brisbane has changed - though there were always murders of course. Eli Bell is a wonderful character, introducing us to several of his family and circle who are also very interesting to get to know, however messed up their lives are. I kept thinking the book would make a great movie or TV series, and I was pleased to hear it's in the pipeline. Particular congratulations to Stig Wemyss on his terrific reading of the novel - a performance really.

Entertaining story of Melbourne's Bohemia

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 30-06-2019

I was fascinated to discover that 'Cairo' turned out to be a speculative account of the theft of Picasso's Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria in 1986, the year I returned to the city after a long period away. The incident is permanently fixed in my memory and I believe it could well have happened as Chris Womersley describes. At first I found the characters rather tiresome, but as they developed they became more interesting, and so did the story, as the Weeping Woman connection was revealed. After half an hour or so of listening, I became drawn in to this Fitzroy world with all its artists and pseuds.

Compelling reading on many subjects

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 29-05-2019

I could not stop reading this book, though kept wondering what sort of book it was - it's not a straightforward self-help book, nor a work of philosophy, let alone theology, but Mark Manson does touch on these areas all the time, and others besides. His portraits of episodes in the lives of Newton, Nietzsche et al are fascinating, and well-used in his analyses. He goes in for too many sweeping statements, unsupported by evidence, so the only way to read this is as a series of viewpoints, a prolonged opinion piece - a long sermon, perhaps. Once you accept that, you can just go along with it, agreeing with this, disagreeing with that. I have not read Mark's first book, but may now do so. I believe he will start useful arguments in the minds of readers, and between readers. Mark's pronunciations are sometimes not correct - one would have thought he would find out how to pronounce the name Nietzsche, since he says it dozens of times throughout the reading. It is not 'Nietzschie'.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful