Tag Archives: #memoir

Telltale by Carmel Bird -a review + giveaway (AU)

Telltale_FC-600x913Telltale: 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

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Review: Eat First, Talk Later

eat firstEat First, Talk Later by Beth Yahp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Source: eARC courtesy of publisher via NetGalley

It was the title that got me. It’s such an Asian saying that I couldn’t help but be interested by what Beth Yahp had to say. I seemed to be mistaken a lot in my expectations of books this year and this was one of it… I probably saw the word ‘memoir’ and immediately expected that it would be about the author but if I read the blurb properly, I would read in the last paragraph, “Eat First, Talk Later is a beautifully written, absorbing memoir of a country…”

Oops, I’ve mismanaged my expectation of the work and was therefore, utterly puzzled by it! To begin with, I was so very confused by the structure (not chronological!) and almost gave up for the frustration in trying to keep up with the back and forth and all around in time. About ¾ of the way through this memoir, I finally understood that this work wasn’t really about the author. Whilst she was keen to explore her background and family history, the heft of her work is related to her birth country, Malaysia; the history, the culture, the food (!), and politics.

Because I was more invested in finding out about her story and her family’s story. I found those section a lot more appealing though I had to muddle through the switches between times and was also perplexed by her love lives. Far be it for me to judge but it was something I do not understand so once more, I was driven to confusion. On the other hand, the topics explored on Malaysia was truly enlightening. Whilst I know and loved some Malaysian cuisine, it seems I barely know anything of the country itself. I also grew up in an East-Asian country and cannot deny my Chinese appearance / heritage so I understood quite a few things she underwent and some of the matters expounded.

Eat First, Talk Later is an exploration of Malaysia with snippets of author’s family’s historical links to the country. It was a struggle in making sense of certain timelines but as to the topics discussed, author was eloquent in her views and they were clearly articulated. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I didn’t have to puzzle out the timelines.

Thanks Random House Australia for eARC via NetGalley in exchange of honest review

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