Somehow I completely missed last year’s challenge. Apparently, I signed up, can’t remember that! And then proceeded to be unwell all year, so let’s start fresh!
I’m going for the Franklin Challenge this year. I will read at least ten novels by Australian women, and review a few. This is more than I usually commit to, but I’ve found Aussie women’s books are so engaging and gritty and satisfying to read that I want an excuse (and impetus) to read more. My reviews will be short this year, to free up time for my own writing and lots more reading. I’m also committing to the Classics challenge within the Aus Women’s challenge, reading at least two Aussie classics.
I’m going to leave my list open and see what comes out to grab me this year, but I will be starting with these two:
Ressurection Bay (crime fiction) by Emma Viskic:
WINNER OF THE DAVITT AWARDS’ Best Adult Novel, Best Debut Book, Readers’ Choice Award. WINNER OF THE NED KELLY AWARD for Best First Fiction
Blurb: Caleb Zelic, profoundly deaf since early childhood, has always lived on the outside – watching, picking up telltale signs people hide in a smile, a cough, a kiss. When a childhood friend is murdered, a sense of guilt and a determination to prove his own innocence sends Caleb on a hunt for the killer. But he can’t do it alone. Caleb and his troubled friend Frankie, an ex-cop, start with one clue: Scott, the last word the murder victim texted to Caleb. But Scott is always one step ahead.
This gripping, original and fast-paced crime thriller is set between a big city and a small coastal town, Resurrection Bay, where Caleb is forced to confront painful memories. Caleb is a memorable protagonist who refuses to let his deafness limit his opportunities, or his participation in the investigation. But does his persistence border on stubbornness? And at what cost? As he delves deeper into the investigation Caleb uncovers unwelcome truths about his murdered friend – and himself. (details from Echo Publishing )
and for the Classic part of the Challenge I will start off with Human Toll by Barabara Baynton (Literary Fiction) published in 1907. I may ‘read’ part of it as an audio as it’s a difficult read, full of Aussie slang.
The audio is free online in a few places : LibriVox, ZippyShare, YouTube. Sue at Whispering Gums writes an excellent post on barbara Baynton and her writings. There are papers on Human Toll at Australian Feminist Studies and Uni of Woolongong, but I have yet to find a review, let me know if you see one or write one!
Blurb: WHAT was this blocking the tallow-scoop? Boshy, secretly styled ‘The Lag, ‘ or ‘One Eye, ‘ bent to see. Leisurely he thrust down a groping hand and drew up, but not out, a fatclogged basil-belt. Hastily his other hand clawed it conferringly, then with both he forced it back again into its greasy hidingplace of past long years. Cautiously his one eye went from door to window, then he rolled the fat-can with its mouth to the wall, and, going out, he took a sweeping survey. The sky and plain still drowsed dreamily, and neither the sick Boss’s home, nor Nungi the half-caste’s hut on the other side of the riversplit plain, showed sign of smoke. The only gleam of life was a breath-misted string of cows filing leisurely but lovingly to their penned calves. Boshy entered the hut and shut and bolted both door and window, then rolled the precious casket, a rusty nail-keg, before the door, and to further insure his sense of security sat on it. He made no attempt to examine his treasure. He was certain the contents of that gold-lined belt were old Miser Baldy’s hoard. For a few moments he sat quivering, gloating greedily. Musingly his one eye roamed all over the hut. Not a splinter in the walls that he, and many others, had not probed as with a tooth-pick, for this coveted ‘plant’; not a crack or mortised joint in the roof; not a mouse-hole but had been tunnelled to the bitter end, for tenant above or below. Nor had the search stopped at the hut, for had not a night-ghouling Chinaman, in his hunt for this hoard, gone the dauntless but fruitless length of disinterring and stripping poor old Baldy? And now just by a fluke he had struck it. Could it be true? Was he only dreaming? And again he thrust in a confirming hand. ‘Gord A’mighty!’ burst from him as his felt certainty electrified him