Tag Archives: fiction

Review: Dyschronia by Jennifer Mills


Dyschronia
by Jennifer Mills

An electrifying novel about an oracle. A small town. And the end of the world as we know it…

One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared. One among them has been plagued by troubling visions of this cataclysm for years. Is she a prophet? Does she have a disorder that skews her perception of time? Or is she a gifted and compulsive liar?

Oscillating between the future and the past, Dyschronia is a novel that tantalises and dazzles, as one woman’s pescient nightmares become entangled with her town’s uncertain fate. Blazing with questions of consciousness, trust, and destiny, this is a wildly imaginative and extraordinary novel from award-winning author Jennifer Mills.

My Blurb

Baffled.

Hence my star rating of 2 probably doesn’t worth much. I loved the cover and I was intrigued by the blurb, “One morning, the residents of a small coastal town somewhere in Australia wake to discover the sea has disappeared.” I, therefore, expected some sort of post-apocalyptic sort of novel and while it was in a way ‘post-apocalyptic’, it wasn’t… not really.

I struggled by the time shifts; I can’t even tell you how many there were supposed to be… There were the future (in visions?), the present, and the past; I know these for certain but there were time strands for each time anyway and there’s no particular warning, they can change within a chapter, a space or an asterix to indicate end of a section does not particularly help. Thankfully, there were only 2 perspectives: Sam’s (though she’s the one having visions so that didn’t help in anyway) and the town people’s (using the royal ‘We’).

I think I understood that the book’s themes revolve around the environment, climate, and corporate scams that in the end, only the plebeians suffer the consequences. I’m just not sure whether getting your point across despite the baffled reader is enough. I do have now an appreciation of the cuttlefish… not enough not to eat them (not that I eat them all the time). I am just so sorry that I could not love the book!

Source: I borrowed this book from my local library

About the author

Jennifer Mills is the author of the novels Gone (UQP, 2011) and The Diamond Anchor (UQP, 2009) and a collection of short stories, The Rest is Weight (UQP, 2012). The Rest is Weight. Mills’ fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been widely published, appearing in Meanjin, Hecate, Overland, Heat, Island, the Lifted Brow, the Griffith Review, Best Australian Stories, New Australian Stories, and the Review of Australian Fiction, as well as being broadcast, recorded and performed from Adelaide to Berlin. She is a regular writer for Overland literary journal and has contributed criticism to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Wheeler Centre, and the Sydney Review of Books. She is currently the fiction editor at Overland.

Find her on: goodreads  |  website  |  twitter

 

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Review: Drive By

drive byDrive By by Michael Duffy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Uncorrected Proof won on publisher’s FB comp

A crime novel set in my own backyard was what I thought drew me to this novel. Ever since reading the Detective Jill Jackson series by Leah Giarratano, I’ve been somewhat nervous each time I had to go to a certain train station ~a certain fictional event is haunting me. Drive By, though set in Western Sydney, wasn’t quite in my hood and for that, I think I’m grateful.

Despite the comparison to Peter Temple’s works in the blurb, which I have read and loved, I approached this work somewhat hesitantly. The cover has a look of non-fiction and I must say, not quite attractive to fiction lovers like myself. However, when you take in consideration the author’s background as a journalist, the cover totally makes sense.

Drive By is told from 3 alternative perspectives –each as different as s/he could be. Bec, Rebecca Ralston, is a young Constable ensnared in a circumstance and left to fend for herself with nary a person to turn to who hasn’t got their own agendas. She, interestingly, is 1/8 Indigenous and protected herself with big words. Jabber ‘John’ Habib, Honest John, was told by his family that he must stand on the other side of the line in the sand –to be a law-abiding citizen. His love for his family drives him to do all he can to keep them safe yet it also blinds him. The prosecutor, Karen Mabbey, hasn’t been able to care about her work; not since her life feels like it’s spiralling out of her control.

The beginning feels quite slow to me though what fascinated me were the characters. I had to roll my eyes / snort each time Bec’s wordy speech, was driven to frustration by John’s slow uptake or may be even selective blindness, and felt nothing but sympathy for Karen. At about 2/3 of the way, however, I was jolted by a twist and then again and again… It was turn after turn in a complex layer of duplicity with a mind blowing conclusion. I must confess though after this whirlwind of the plot, where each of the characters end up didn’t really surprise me though I wish for something somewhat different (what can I say, I’m an optimist :p).

The reference to Peter Temple’s works though is not due to the writing style as it is quite different but in reference to the bold un-crossable line between the crims and law-enforcers. And this was quite evident in the novel. <Drive By is hands-down the best crime novel I’ve read so far this year and one I would highly recommend to all crime readers.

Thanks, Allen & Unwin, for the giveaway

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Review: The Hunter

The Hunter
The Hunter by Julia Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: My local library – Get your own copy from The Book Depository

M. (aka David Martin, for this trip at least) is being sent on a hunt of a nearly extinct, borderline mythical, creature, the thylacine (a Tasmanian tiger). He is, above all things, a hunter. M is solitary, efficient, and ruthless; lacking the social skills to interact with his kind with ease. This is the man of whose mind we inhabit in reading this book.

As the book is being told from the perspective of M, in fact, we are privy to his thoughts whether it runs to his awkwardness is social situation, his delight in setting up good traps, his pain, his secret wish…

She is happy to see him. At of the sound of his car she has come out of the house to wait on the lawn, with one hand deep in her pocket and the other waving – feebly, it seems – in greeting. She’s smiling that big smile. He manages to twinkle the fingers of one hand in response, thinking: What’s this? A Welcoming committee?

This was an interesting take to the story which opened the flaws of the character directly with the reader however because of this, we are missing other things that are outside of his mind and I felt this keenly. As with many other readers, M. is not a character you’d come to love so whilst I can definitely appreciate this bend of creativity, I can’t fully enjoy it. It became just so very sad…

On the other hand, the setting of the book was not picturesque. Rather, it was wild unforgiving relentless yet daunting in its beauty (or maybe, it’s the beauty of the words that I’ve been called to).

This is no god’s country, this is god-forsaken: it is perfect and precise. Perfect thousand-year-old trees, their lowest feathered branches almost tip-tipping; an open, soft and fragrant floor; the hard petals of each pine cone divisible by the golden mean. It is cold in here and dark, too, freckled with the faintest light.

A short novel with utterly flawed protagonists and powerful language.

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Review: Replay

Replay
Replay by Ken Grimwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Source: Local Library – Get your own copy from The Book Depository

Remember Groundhog Day (the movie)? This is what the book reminded me of, at least the main premise of the story anyway less the funny bits. Unlike Groundhog Day, Jeff Winston had to relive more than one day at a time – he had to relive a big chunk of his live over and over again.

I think this concept of re-living one’s life is a very appealing one for everyone. Who wouldn’t want to relive one’s live with own particular knowledge of what not to repeat – who wouldn’t want to avoid / erase all those stupidities one commits in one’s younger careless days…? What would you do if you had this chance?

A great entertaining read of how things could’ve been and what they should be. There were many twists & turns and quite a few were unexpected. Just one wrong turn and life can turn topsy-turvy. It’s amazing just how many different threads life can wove with one step / choice. I really became invested in Jeff and his wellbeing; his search for the meaning of life and what it means to be given this second chance.

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