Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

24 Mar 2011

Those Who Come After by Elisabeth Holdsworth


Born in the Netherlands just after World War II, Elisabeth Holdsworth spent her early life in the south-western province of Zeeland before migrating to Australia with her parents in 1959. She completed her education in Melbourne. Holdsworth is an essayist, poet, and writer of short stories and reviews, and has been published in Best Australian Essays, Heat, Southerly, Island, The Monthly, Mattoid and Transnational. She won the inaugural ABR/Calibre prize for her essay An die Nachgeborenen: For Those Who Come After, which was published in the February 2007 issue of Australian Book Review and later broadcast on ABC radio. Elisabeth lives with her husband in Goulburn, NSW.

Read an excerpt of Those Who Come After

Pulse by Julian Barnes

Jonathan Cape

Love Julian Barnes!  Based soley on Arthur & George, I might add.  So, I fell on Pulse, only to waver at the prospect of it being a collection of short stories.  This is not an aversion of mine but a proven reluctance among our customers.  Should I spend time reading it, only to find I had trouble convincing others to do the same?  Well selfishness prevailed - to be rewarded with gems.  There's something in each story tying it to the notion of 'pulse'.  I love the dinner party series, being hugely reminiscent of nosh-ups we all share.  I have read all of the stories twice which is the best thing about short stories - it's so much easier to revisit them.

Books In Print staff review by Sue

2011 Indie Award Winners Announced

Australia's independent booksellers have announced The Happiest Refugee the winner of the Indie Book of the Year Award 2011.

Individual category winners are

Best Fiction | Bereft by Chris Womersley (Scribe)
Best Non-Fiction | The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do (Allen & Unwin)
Best Debut Fiction | Rocks In The Belly by Jon Baure (Scribe)
Best Children's Book | Mirror by Jeannie Baker (Walker Books)

2 Mar 2011

Snowdrops by A D Miller

Allen & Unwin

The fact the A D Miller was the Economist magazine's Moscow correspondent from 2004-2007 and that he travelled widely across Russia and the former Soviet Union adds an air of authenticity to this his first novel. 
He filters his familiarity through his main character Nick, an English lawyer, who acts on behalf of a consortium of western banks lending money to developers in Russia. Nick has enough Russian, enough cultural sensitivity and enough disenchantment with his old life in England to fancy finding himself in a permanent relationship with a Russian. Herein lies the nub.
What makes the book memorable for me s the wat the story is told, or more precisely, the way Nick tells it. He is about to be married and had decided to come clean to his intended and give a written account of his time in Russia. In doing so, Miller has created a powerful and poignant narration. The starting point is, "I smelled it before I saw it." As this follows the definition of 'snowdrops' in Moscow slang as being the corpses that come to light in the thaw, you could be forgiven for thinking you're in for a typical thriller. This novel has much, much more to offer.

Books in Print staff review by Sue

Caleb's Crossing by Geraldine Brooks

Fourth Estate

Caleb's Crossing is typical Brooks with a great story being richly told. I'm sure the purists would criticise her for tinkering with history, but she's not an historian, she's a novelist with a nose for a good story. Who could blame her for taking a local's interest in her surroundings and through her craft try to encourage a broader appreciation of their significance.
Martha's vineyard is her stomping ground and that of Caleb, though they are separated by hundreds of years. She is Australian born and drawn to this heartland of modern civilisation while Caleb, an American Indian, is born to it. His crossing refers to his education at the hands of the Pilgrim Fathers.
A key player in this conversion is Bethia Mayfield who narrates and chronicles the story of Caleb's new life from when they first meet in the wilderness to his untimely death. Brooks captures the harsh reality of this new world for all concerned. It is a memorable book and as with her previous works gets you to think outside the confines of her artifice.

Books in Print staff review by Sue