FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey
Carey’s most ambitious novel since True History of the Kelly Gang - a celebration and interrogation of the Australia of Peter’s childhood. He takes us on a wild ride around the country in 1954 by way of the famous Redex car trial, during which our protagonist, Willy Bachhuber, learns the poignant truth of his troubled past. It’s a tender and wonderfully wry, portrait of Australia in the 1950s, reminiscent of Illywhacker in concerns and some characters.
We’re in Bacchus Marsh in the 1950s, with car salesmen, an early aviator, and the lives of Irene Bobs and Willy Bachhuber, the narrators of this addictive tale. The striking Irene is ahead of her time, a fearless, big-hearted, independently minded woman. Her next door neighbour Willy seems to be constantly in flight from his own life. He lacks social confidence but is extremely well read, so much so that he’s a radio quiz champ. And he has a particular fondness for maps. When Irene’s husband Titch decides to enter the Redex trial, Irene goes with him as co-driver, and Willy as navigator.
A fantastically fun and funny read, Peter’s new novel is a major achievement.
NON-FICTION BOOK OF THE MONTH
Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason
Broadcaster Richard Fidler and author Kari Gislason are good friends. They share a deep attachment to the sagas of Iceland - the true stories of the first Viking families who settled on that remote island in the Middle Ages.These are tales of blood feuds, of dangerous women, and people who are compelled to kill the ones they love the most. The sagas are among the greatest stories ever written, but the identity of their authors is largely unknown.
Together, Richard and Kari travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery - a gift from Kari’s Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.