A Pale View of Hills 

Dulwich Hill branch manager, radio personality, and book selling superstar, Morgan Smith tells us how it is; and our Blackheath branch sends a mountain missive.

September 2017

 - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Curious about a lovely old art deco apartment on sale near where I live (not that I can afford to buy), I came across this marvellous realtor’s spiel: ‘...Marrickville (and Dulwich Hill) has emerged as the artistic, bohemian soul of the Inner West, where locals are spoiled rotten for choice....good schools, handy transport links, nightlife...cafes, wine bars and Organic Farmers Markets shape a vibrant community with a hip, neighbourly feel...’ Newtownians eat your heart out! Of course, that would have described Glebe when Gleebooks opened there more than forty years ago. The beautiful apartment I was looking at, while potentially earmarked as heritage, will soon be surrounded by new, inevitably ugly and shoddily built apartment blocks when the Bankstown line rezoning becomes a reality. It’s heartbreaking what ‘they’ are doing to this city.

The pick of September new releases for me will be the second novel from the 2015 winner of the Miles Franklin, Sophie Laguna, The Choke, which is set on the banks of the Murray River. Laguna creates an almost Gothic, haunting world in which the young girl, Justine must find her way through the dangers her criminal father subjects her to. Incredibly evocative writing.

Coming in October is the eagerly awaited novel from Jennifer Egan, author of the wonderful prize-winning A Visit From the Goon Squad. Manhattan Beach is a quite different beast. It’s an historical novel set on the Brooklyn waterfront during WW11, and follows Anna, a ‘Rosie the Riveter’ character who’s eventually allowed to become a diver, a skill that comes in handy when she goes looking for her father who disappeared many years before. That’s all I’m saying, not to give anything away. I loved it, but not as much as the Goon Squad.

I’m also fascinated with Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (A God in Every Stone) in which love and politics collide in an explosive combination. Set in the world of Pakistani/British Muslims this is an extremely contemporary novel which is keeping me on tenterhooks. The blurb says it’s a reimagining of Sophocle’s Antigone (which I don’t quite get yet). I’ll finish up now so I can get back to it. See you on D’Hill, Morgan