Favourite authors? There are too many to count! But I would like to share some of my historical reading delights. One of the joys of finding a book you love is when you discover the author has a whole back list of works to devour.
I came to Michelle Lovric with The Book of Human Skin and instantly fell in love with her use of language. Lovric’s prose is exciting. She revels in her love of words and luscious imagery. Since then I have read The True and Splendid History of the Harristown Sisters, The Remedy, and my favourite is The Floating Book about the first printed books in Venice. In her writing there is wickedness and the tropical joy of ticklesome expressions.
In Room by Emma Donoghue I was captivated by the exquisite portrayal of the relationship between imprisoned mother and son. Donoghue also writes historical fiction most recently with Frog Music and The Wonder and I discovered her earlier work Slammerkin about a girl who falls into prostitution for the price of a ribbon and refuses to accept her lot in life to devastating consequence. Brilliant construction of character wants and desires and filled with vivid, atmospheric detail, Slammerkin is now one of my favourite books.
On moving to Australia, I discovered authors like Peter Carey, Kate Grenville, and Richard Flanagan. All these authors explore Australia’s history and the evolution of the Australian psyche in bold and inventive ways. Each one lets us experience the past as if we felt it ourselves. I love how Grenville makes a place for women in the historical record in Joan Makes History, Flanagan takes a moment of time and spins a story of Tasmania in Death of a River Guide and Carey overturns the rules with his creative storytelling in books like Oscar and Lucinda or True History of the Kelly Gang. Grenville’s The Secret River should be recommended reading for all Australians.
And finally one of my most recent finds is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. A unique story of connection across the divide of war. Beautifully written with compelling characters revealed by their relationships with others and strong narrative drive. Time to find out what else he has written!