Things To Look Forward To 

David Gaunt has owned Gleebooks with partner Roger Mackell since 1976.

September 2017

 - Wednesday, September 06, 2017
Once again, Indigenous Literacy Day is here (6th Sept) and I ask our many loyal supporters of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation to consider a donation to this terrific project. As many of you know, Gleebooks has been a strong and staunch advocate of the ILF and we’d encourage you to go to ilf.org.au to have a look at the great work the Foundation is doing. Literacy is the key to better outcomes in health, education, work opportunities, and empowerment, to mention a few of the obvious outcomes we’re striving for. Please consider helping by your donation.

In the world of books, I’m still drowning under a mass of proofs of books publishing for summer reading. Here’s a taste of a few:

The Choke (published this month) is the first novel for Sophie Laguna since her 2015 Miles Franklin award winning The Eye of the Sheep. It’s a confronting read: Laguna holds nothing back in her depiction of a dark and malevolent and often chaotic world in which young Justine is growing up—in the 50s on the Murray River. But it’s such a deeply humane and sympathetic vision of life’s possibilities that you can’t help but will her through. This is a story of survival against the odds, but it’s much more than that, and beautifully and originally imagined in the writing.

First Person
(published in October) is Richard Flanagan’s first book since the massively successful The Narrow Road to the Deep North. I’ve not finished it yet, but it’s a powerful and disturbing examination of a ghostwriter overtaken by his subject. Drawn from real life and all the more convincing for it, First Person pivots from the comic to the profoundly unsettling with an assurance only a writer of Flanagan’s calibre could muster. Don’t miss it.

Manhattan Beach
(October release) is the first novel from Jennifer Egan since her terrific A Visit from the Goon Squad won the Pulitzer in 2011. Its been worth the wait. You could accuse it of being overly ambitious, given the amazing amount of plot in a historical novel which takes on the Depression, World War Two, organised crime in the New York underworld, amongst other material, while still offering a deep immersion into the lives of its protagonists. But the emotional canvas and historical setting are rich and broad, and Egan is a brilliant writer at the top of her powers, and I loved it.

Another ‘first since winning a big prize’ is Michelle de Kretser’s The Life to Come. It is a bewitching and dazzling work—set in Sydney, Paris and Sri Lanka. As in Questions of Travel her sense of place and time is remarkable, both acute and sensitive. Wise and witty and touching on the very meaning of how, and whether, we connect. A beautifully rewarding book.

 David Gaunt