Telltale: reading writing remembering by Carmel Bird
‘I was confined, locked into my library, tracing my heartbeats from way, way back.’
In Telltale, Carmel Bird seizes on the enforced isolation of the pandemic to re-read a rich dispensary of books from her past. A rule she sets herself is that she can consult only the books in her house, even if some, such as the much-loved Thornton Wilder’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, appear to be stubbornly elusive. Her library is comprehensive, and each book chosen – or that cannot be refused – enables an opening, a connection to people, time, place, myth, image, and the experience of a writing life. From her father’s bomb shelter to her mother’s raspberry jam, from a lost Georgian public library with ‘narrow little streets of books’ to the memory of crossing by bridge the turbulent waters of the Tamar River, to a revelatory picnic at Tasmania’s Cataract Gorge in 1945, this is the most intimate of memoirs.
It is one that never shies from the horrors of world history, the treatment of First Nations People, or the literary misrepresentations of the past.
Original, lyrical, and hugely enjoyable, Telltale, with its finely wrought insight and artful storytelling, is destined to delight.
Published 1 July 2022| Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing | RRP: AUD$32.99
Buy it at: Dymocks | Booktopia | A&R | Abbey’s | QBD
My Blurb (2.5 / 5 stars)
Gorgeous hardback binding featuring a gleaming peacock on the front cover with vivid blue fabric spine where author’s name & title are embossed in gold. I cracked it open not knowing exactly what to expect…
Mostly, I enjoyed the language; reminiscent and poetic. As author’s pondered and meandered over her memories especially those tied with reading and writing, I found myself quite lost. This is due to the fact that I’ve not read any of author’s said works (she referred to it quite a bit so it would’ve been helpful to know what she’s talking about) compounded with all other books she grew up with of which I’ve possibly read only 10% of those mentioned in the book.
If you are a fan of Carmel Bird then I can recommend this book to you. If you are not, in fact, familiar with her work, then possibly this could be a project where you dig up books mentioned while reading this book. That might’ve been fun actually but it would take many many years as there are so many books mentioned and possibly half is out of print.
My thanks to Transit Lounge Publishing for this hardback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts
GIVEAWAY (ends 10-July)
I’m giving away 1x brand new hardback copy of the book (thanks to publisher for this extra copy). Please leave a comment in this post or drop by to my insta post to enter.
About the author
I’m not familiar with Carmel Bird, but I am intrigued.