Books For You: Ireland – 2, Australia – 2

‘Summer’ by British artist Donald Moodie

‘Who says a draw is a boring result?’ asks KIN reviewer Ralph McAllister.


John Boyne’s two latest novels are winners in their own right.

But then so are Australia’s latest contributions to the literary  competitions.

Let me explain.

Until recently Boyne’s  THE BOY WITH STRIPED PYJAMAS was his most successful novel.
Not any more.

Irish author John Boyne

THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES and A LADDER TO THE SKY are both worthy additions to his reputation .

The former tells the story of gay repressed Cyril and his painful tortured growing up, an experience many have gone through both then and now.

It is also a social history of the Irish Catholic religious persecution of any joy for both men and women who dare to live outside the faith.

And there are some wickedly funny scenes as Cyril meets two loves of his life,in between encounters with, probably ,Ireland’s most famous drunk,Brendan Behan.

It is a heart warming and beautifully realised novel.

Hot on its heels comes A LADDER TO THE SKY which could be used as a handbook for all those who have an interest in plagiarism .

Maurice is the lovable nasty rogue who will do anything,yes,anything,to get the next story.

He is by turns deceitful and charming throughout a period of fifty years and,surely,murder would be outside his character.

Mmm, read and find out.

Early days yet but surely this is another of the best books of the year.

But wait.

Australian author Trent Dalton

What about Oz?

BOY SWALLOWS UNIVERSE (what a title) by Trent Dalton leads us into the sleazier side of 80’s Brisbane through the eyes of adolescent brothers Eli and mute August.

A hugely enjoyable coming of age story where the heroes battle drugs, abuse, neglect and death .

All told with style and empathy by journalist Dalton in this his first novel which has leapt straight into the best sellers list.

An absolute must for those who love good triumphing over evil.

Another best book of the year I suspect.

Another great thriller

Finally, evening  the scores, SCRUBLANDS is by another journalist turned novelist, Chris Hammer.

Martin, ex soldier and now a journalist, is sent to a remote country town to do a follow up story on a tragedy from a year ago , when a highly respected young priest shot and killed five people outside his church .
Martin tries to unravel what becomes an increasingly complex situation in a landscape as bleak as any in the Australian outback.

In fact the scrublands form a vital and integral part of the plot.

Another must for all those who love a good thriller.

And the winner is….


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