Review: Trust by Chris Hammer

 


Title: Trust

Author: Chris Hammer

Published October 2020, Allen & Unwin

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Allen & Unwin

++++++

My Thoughts:

“It’s the past, coming after her, propelled by karma.”

Trust is the third impressive crime fiction novel from Chris Hammer to feature Australian journalist Martin Scarsden, following on from Scrublands, and Silver.

It’s a period of Mandalay’s undisclosed past that catapults her and Martin into this clever and compelling thriller. With the action moving from Port Silver to Sydney, Hammer weaves together multiple threads in Trust that begins with a body found in the foundations of a Sydney apartment block, and leads to the unmasking of a stunning conspiracy among some of the city’s elite involving theft, corruption, blackmail and multiple murders. The plot is fast moving and suspenseful, the lives of both Mandy and Martin are repeatedly threatened as they unravel the complex mystery.

The narrative alternates between Mandy and Martin as Mandy tries to fix her past mistakes, and Martin investigates the murder of his mentor, retired Herald editor, Max. It’s no real surprise that their agenda’s eventually overlap, giving the couple the opportunity to work together, underscoring Hammer’s main theme – trust. There is growth for both of these characters in this novel which I appreciated, Mandy becomes more substantial, Martin less consumed by his journalistic ambition.

Familiar characters from Hammer’s previous novels make an appearance including Detective Inspector Morris Montifore, Detective Claus Vandenbruk, a couple of Martin’s newspaper colleagues, and Mandy’s lawyer, Winifred. I’m curious about Hammer’s penchant for using unusual names, in Trust he gives us characters called Tarquin, Zelda, Clarity, and Titus.

Trust unfolds over a period of a week, with subtle references to the NSW bushfires, the pandemic and the economic recession suggesting the events of the takes place in the winter of 2020. Hammer’s descriptions of Sydney are vivid and familiar, from the gritty inner city streets to the enclaves of the wealthy.

Gripping, dynamic and thrilling, Trust can be read as a stand-alone, but the experience is enhanced by familiarity with Scrublands and Silver, and I highly recommend all three.

++++++

Available from Allen & Unwin RRP AUD$32.99

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Booktopia

Check out other participants in the Trust tour, and return to Book’d Out on October 29th for an exclusive chapter sample and your chance to win a copy!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

Monday Memes

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

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Life…

Please forgive the following #mummybrag…

My youngest daughter’s high school graduation was held this past week. Due to Covid-19 regulations, no audience was permitted so they live streamed the event for parents to watch from home. My daughter has always worked hard and been academically successful, but it’s been a tough final year with attendance interrupted by fire, flood, and of course the virus, so we weren’t really sure what the outcome may be.

I am absolutely bursting with pride to announce Aleah placed FIRST IN THE YEAR! She also placed FIRST in 4 of her 6 subjects – Ancient History, Extension History, Biology and Advanced Mathematics, (second in Chemistry by half a mark and third in Advanced English). She was also awarded the History Essay Award, and The University of New England Vice-Chancellor’s High Achievement Prize.

(These are screenshots from the livestream)

This week the Higher School Certificate (HSC) starts, these are state-wide externally administered exams held over three weeks, the results of which help determine a state-wide mark, and a state-wide (with a National equivalence) ranking – the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) used to determine eligibility for entrance into university. For Australian University’s, you apply to be admitted to a specific course at a specific university with a set of five preferences, and those courses have a minimum ATAR requirement to be considered.

The minimum can change from year to year depending on the demand for the course, last year the minimum for the course Aleah wants to study (Forensic Science) was 85% (meaning it selects only from those students who apply that gained results in the top 15% of the state). Aleah already has guaranteed entry into her first choice course no matter her ATAR result based on an early offer scheme from one particular university, but still needs to do well so that she has options in case she changes her mind at the last minute, so it’s going to be tense around here for a few weeks. The HSC, ATAR, and first round offers of university placements are disseminated in December.

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

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New Posts…

Review: The Night Letters by Denise Leith

Review: Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Review: Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman

Review: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

Bookshelf Bounty

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What I’m Reading This Week…

How many lives can one incident shatter?

For one Daylesford cop, this will be their last callout. Another may not make it. A third will call it quits.

Black cloud on a winter’s morning signals what nobody could’ve seen coming. An anything-but-routine welfare check by two Daylesford police officers at a farm in Korweinguboora. A fatal house explosion that leaves a rural community reeling.

Local cop John Franklin and Melbourne journalist Georgie Harvey are among the first responders at the property. The crime scene is compromised by fire and tonnes of water, and speculations run rife. Murder-suicide? Accident or sabotage? An isolated incident or just the beginning?

As lives hang in the balance, Franklin seeks answers and someone to hold accountable while Georgie investigates her toughest story yet. But will one of them crack?

xxxxxxx

He violated her past and haunts her present.

Now he’s threatening their future.

She breathes deeply, trying to quell the rising sense of panic. A detective came to her home, drugged her and kidnapped her. She tries to make sense of it, to imagine alternatives, but only one conclusion is possible: it’s her past come to claim her.

Martin Scarsden’s new life seems perfect, right up until the moment it’s shattered by a voicemail: a single scream, abruptly cut off, from his partner Mandaly Blonde.

Racing home, he finds an unconcious man sprawled on the floor and Mandy gone. Someone has abducted her. But who, and why?

So starts a twisting tale of intrigue and danger, as Martin probes the past of the woman he loves, a woman who has buried her former life so deep she has never mentioned it.

And for the first time, Mandy finds denial impossible, now the body of a mystery man has been discovered, a man whose name she doesn’t know, a man she was engaged to marry when he died. It’s time to face her demons once and for all; it’s time she learned how to trust.

Set in a Sydney riven with corruption and nepotism, privilege and power, Trust is the third riveting novel from award-winning and internationally acclaimed writer Chris Hammer.

xxxxxxx

Berlin, 1943

As the Allied forces edge closer, the Third Reich tightens its grip on its people. For eighteen-year-old Susanna Göttmann, this means her beloved adopted family including the man she loves, Leo, are at risk. His mother – Susie’s godmother – is forced to register as a Jew and wear the Star of David, bearing the resentment of the village she has always called home.

Desperate to protect them any way she can, Susie accepts the help of an influential Nazi officer. It means she must abandon any hope of a future with Leo and enter the terrifying world of the Nazi elite.

But all is not lost as her newfound position offers more than she could have hoped for … With critical intelligence at her fingertips, Susie seizes a dangerous opportunity to help the resistance.

The decisions she makes could change the course of the war, but what will they mean for her family and her future?

xxxxxx

Meet Jackson – a very unusual boy in a world that prefers ‘normal’…

Julia Curtis is a busy mother of three, with a husband often away for work, an ever-present mother-in-law, a career, and a house that needs doing up. Her fourteen-year-old daughter, Milla, has fallen in love for the first time, and her youngest, Ruby, is a nine-year-old fashionista who can out-negotiate anyone.

But Julia’s eleven-year-old son, Jackson, is different. Different to his sisters. Different to his classmates. In fact, Jackson is different from everyone. And bringing up a child who is different isn’t always easy.

Then, one Monday morning, Jackson follows his new friend Digby into the school toilets. What happens inside changes everything; not only for Jackson, but for every member of his family. Julia faces the fight of her life to save her unusual boy from a world set up for ‘normal’.

An extraordinary boy. The mother who loves him. The fight of their lives.

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Thanks for stopping by!

Bookshelf Bounty

Every third Sunday of the month I share my Bookshelf Bounty – what’s been added to my TBR tile recently for review from publishers, purchases or gifts.

This month I’m linking up with Mailbox Monday

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)
(My thanks to the respective publishers)

 

For Review (ebook)
(My thanks to the respective publishers)




Review: Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth


Title: Unfollow Me

Author: Charlotte Duckworth

Published: 15th October 2020, Quercus UK

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Quercus/Netgalley

++++++

My Thoughts:

“It’s what you want, after all, isn’t it? Without an audience, without people like me watching, then what are you?”

When popular mummy-vlogger, Violet Young deletes all of her social media accounts without any warning or explanation, her millions of fans are left to speculate as to the reasons why.

Unfolding primarily from the perspectives of two of Violet’s most ardent followers, Lily, and Yvonne, and Violet’s husband, Henry, Unfollow Me is a story of obsession, secrets, betrayal, deception and yearning.

Lily, a widowed single mother, is devastated by Violet’s sudden disappearance. She’s been an admirer of Violet, and the image of family perfection she projects, since the birth of her own son. Yvonne is a photographer in her 40’s, newly married and desperate to conceive, her interest in Violet has little to to do with her channel content though. Henry refuses to comment on his wife’s actions, fuelling gossip among her followers, and suspicion from Lily and Yvonne.

“Nothing about her was accidental. It was all meticulously constructed, her carefree façade, when in truth she was in control of everything the whole time.”

None of these characters however are quite who they present to be, hiding aspects of themselves from others, and even themselves. The women have a relationship to Violet marked by an uncomfortable mix of reverence, envy and resentment. Neither is Henry the perfect husband he is portrayed as in Violet’s vlog.

The plot is timely as Duckworth explores issues related to the social media influencer zeitgeist, among them the veracity of the carefully constructed facade presented by influencers; the entitled obsession and fickle nature of their fans; the perceived exploitation of minor children, the line between a public and private persona, and the culture of trolling.

“I just . . . I just lost all sense of what was appropriate.’”

I had some issues with the pacing, finding the latter half a little slow and a touch repetitive, which reduced the tension. There are some entertaining and unexpected twists, but not much in the way of excitement.

I thought Unfollow Me was an engaging read with a modern, interesting premise but not as gripping as I had hoped.

++++++

Available from Quercus UK

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK

Review: Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman


Title: Magic Lessons

Author: Alice Hoffman

Published: 7th October 2020, Simon & Schuster Australia

Status Read October 2020 courtesy Simon & Schuster

++++++

My Thoughts:

“Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give will be returned to you threefold. Fall in love whenever you can.”

Magic Lessons is the enchanting origin story for the curse that plagues the Owens sisters in Practical Magic from Alice Hoffman.

It begins in 1664 when Hannah Owens, a practitioner of the Nameless Arts, finds an infant wrapped in a blue blanket with her name, Maria, carefully stitched along the border with silk thread abandoned in the snow. Recognising that the child is gifted with bloodline magic, Hannah teaches Maria how to help and heal as women from the surrounding villages find their way to the Owens home deep in the forest. When Maria is ten a finely dressed, red haired witch arrives asking that Hannah break a powerful love spell she had foolishly cast upon herself. The woman is Maria’s mother, Rebecca, who stays barely a night, but invites tragedy in her wake, and alters Maria’s fate.

“Love could ruin your life or set you free; it could happen by chance or be a well-planned decision.”

From England, to Curaçao, to Massachusetts and New York, Maria’s fate twists and turns driven by love, betrayal, fear and vengeance. An unwise romance blesses her with a daughter, Faith, but also places her on the gallows in Salem, and a curse spoken in anger becomes a legacy that will affect the Owens women for generations.

The characters are well-drawn, and believable, marked by joy and tragedy. Maria and her daughter are complex and appealing – bright, headstrong, and courageous, but they each make mistakes.

Hoffman weaves interesting historical detail into her story, including connecting her characters with the Salem witch trials, and one of its most prominent actors. She explores the lack of agency women had over their lives in the period, and the way women like Hannah, Maria and Faith were equally revered, and feared.

The writing is lyrical yet not pretentious, with a mesmerising cadence. Descriptions of people and places are evocative, with spell recipes a charming addition.

It’s not necessary to be familiar with Practical Magic, or The Rules of Magic to enjoy this novel, a spellbinding story, Magic Lessons is a captivating read in its own right.

“These are the lessons to be learned. Drink chamomile tea to calm the spirit. Feed a cold and starve a fever. Read as many books as you can. Always choose courage. Never watch another woman burn. Know that love is the only answer.”

++++++

Available from Simon & Schuster Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I Indiebound I HiveUK

Also by Alice Hoffman reviewed at Book’d Out

Review: Home Stretch by Graham Norton

Title: Home Stretch

Author: Graham Norton

Published: 29th September 2020, Coronet

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Hachette Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

Home Stretch is a compelling and poignant novel from Graham Norton.

When a tragic single car accident takes the life of three young adults in the small Irish village, the lives of the three survivors, and their family’s, are forever changed.

“None of us are just the worst thing we ever did.”

With sensitivity and compassion, Norton explores the themes of loss, stigma, longing, betrayal, and self discovery as his characters lives unfold. The narrative is shared by several characters but the focus is on Connor, the admitted driver. Crushed by the community’s grief and anger, and his own shameful secrets, Connor leaves home for a fresh start. Cutting himself off from his family, Connor’s journey takes him to England and then America, but he remains haunted by the tragedy.

“This is what homecoming meant. Arriving in a place to discover you’re fluent in a language you’d forgotten you ever knew.”

The plot is multilayered and thoughtful, shifting between past and present, it begins in 1987 and ends in the present. It’s decades before Connor finds the emotional strength to confront the past, spurred on by a chance meeting with a nephew he never even knew he had. As he reconnects with all that he left behind, assumptions are challenged and secrets are outed.

Not at all what I expected from what I know of Norton’s public persona, with its profound themes, authentic characters, and engaging prose, Home Stretch is an absorbing and beautifully nuanced story.

++++++

Available from Hachette Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository I HiveUK

Review: The Night Letters by Denise Leith


Title: The Night Letters

Author: Denise Leith

Published: 7th October 2020, Ventura Press

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy Ventura Press

++++++

My Thoughts:

A captivating novel, Denise Leith draws on her professional and personal experience in The Night Letters, which she dedicates to the women of the the Afghan Women Writing Project.

In need of a challenge, Australian doctor Sofia Rasa accepts a position in the practice of Dr. Jabril Aziz to treat the women of Kabul. She is accommodated in Shaahir Square, where her presence is first met with suspicion, but slowly earns the respect of both her neighbours and her patients, in part by by keeping a low profile, and staying out of local affairs.

Five years after the original expiry of her year long contract, Sofia considers Shaahir Square home, but with the recent disappearances of young boys from the nearby slums of Jamal Mina, she’s increasingly uncomfortable with staying silent. Her interest in the plight of the bachi bazi unintentionally upsets the peace of the Square when some of the residents discover cryptic letters of warning pinned to their door.

The Night Letters is set primarily in Kabul, a city still bearing the scars of the Afghanistan war and the harsh occupation of the Taliban. It’s a very different place from the Australian suburbs, but one Sofia has always felt drawn to. Leith’s descriptions of Shaahir Square are vivid, the space hosts a mix of stores and residences, and its insular construction provides those within it the illusion of safety amid the regular dangers of Kabul.

The people who populate the Square are an interesting group, a microcosm of sorts that in some aspects represents wider Afghan society. The main personalities are Sofia, Jabril and Behnaz, Sofia’s landlady and the wife of the Chief of Police, but the daily activities of other residents and storekeepers, and the relationships between them, are an important element of the story.

Though an obvious outsider with her red hair, Sofia earns the respect of the Square. Jabril and his wife treat her like a daughter, and despite Behnaz’s prickly attitude she too cares for Sofia. As a doctor, Sofia’s patients trust her with both their health and their personal problems, and she also travels outside the Square, assisting at clinics in the slums of Jamal Mina and running a midwife training program in Kandahar. It’s during one of these trips during her first year in Afghanistan that Sofia meets Daniel, an American aide worker.

There are two mystery elements in the novel, both well-plotted. The first involves the anonymous typewritten notes found pinned to the doors of the Dr Jabril and the home of the Chief of Police, where Sofia also resides, in Shaahir Square. When a note is discovered by one of the Square’s residents, warning the reader ‘to tell their friend to stop’, and shares it with some of the others, the vague message worries everyone. Somewhat similar to the ‘night letters’ the Taliban used, there are concerns they are under surveillance by an extremist, and several modify their behaviour in case they are ‘the friend’.

The second mystery involves the whereabouts of the missing boys, not only who may be responsible for their disappearance, but also who is actively derailing any investigation. It becomes clear that the boys are being taken to serve as bachi bazi – which translates as ‘boy play’ and refers to young boys abducted and sold to powerful and wealthy men and used for entertainment and sex. When Sofia becomes involved in the issue she crosses a corrupt politician who has the power to force her from Afghanistan.

With its lovely prose, rich storyline, and interesting characters, The Night Letters Is a wonderful novel, and one I’m happy to recommend.

++++++

Available from Ventura Press

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #SundayPost #SundaySalon

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? meme is hosted at BookDate

I’m also linking to The Sunday Post @ Caffeinated Reviewer

And the Sunday Salon @ ReaderBuzz

xxxxxxxxxxx

Life…

My parents visited on the weekend and we braved the beer garden at the local pub on the river for lunch. It quite lovely, the sun was shining, the food was tasty and we practically had the place to ourselves.

Writer’s block isn’t much of an excuse, but it’s the only one I have for the lack of blog activity this week. I got stuck on a review, wrote and rewrote it half a dozen times over several days til I just got fed up with it and finally posted it (even though I still don’t like it). So now I’m behind.

However the kids go back to school today for the start of the last term of the year, so with any luck I might get caught up.

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What I’ve Read Since I last Posted…

The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

Rebel Without a Clause by Sue Butler

The Night Letters by Denise Leith

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New Posts…

Review: Rebel Without a Clause by Sue Butler

Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney

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What I’m Reading This Week…

It’s no secret that love has plagued the Owens family for centuries. But when did the curse begin, and why? It all began with Maria Owens, who arrived in America in 1680, with a baby in tow…

Born with pitch-black hair and pale green eyes, Maria was abandoned in the English countryside by her birth mother and raised by Hannah Owens who warned her, “Always love someone who will love you back.” She inherits Hannah’s Grimoire—a magical book of enchantments that include instructions to heal illnesses, ingredients for soaps that restore youth, and spells that make a person burn with love for another. When Hannah dies in an attack, Maria leaves for Curacao, where she meets John Hathorne, a magistrate from Salem living freely for the first time in his life as he falls in love with Maria. But Hathorne soon abandons her, before Maria realizes she’s pregnant. When she gives birth to a red-headed baby girl, Faith, who possesses immense magical talent, Maria embarks on a voyage to Salem to face her destiny, with or without magic.

But aboard the ship bringing her to America, fate intervenes and she meets a man who will change her life, if she’ll only let him. Her journey, laced with secrets and truths, devastation and joy, magic and curses, will show her that love is the only answer, always.

xxxxxx

You Can’t Stop Watching Her.

Violet Young is a hugely popular journalist-turned-mummy-vlogger, with three young children, a successful husband and a million subscribers on YouTube who tune in daily to watch her everyday life unfold.

Until the day she’s no longer there.

But one day she disappears from the online world – her entire social media presence deleted overnight, with no explanation. Has she simply decided that baring her life to all online is no longer a good idea, or has something more sinister happened to her?

But do you really know who Violet is?

Told from the perspectives of her most avid fans, obsessed with finding out the truth, their search quickly reveals a web of lies, betrayal, and shocking consequences…

xxxxxx

How many lives can one incident shatter?

For one Daylesford cop, this will be their last callout. Another may not make it. A third will call it quits.

Black cloud on a winter’s morning signals what nobody could’ve seen coming. An anything-but-routine welfare check by two Daylesford police officers at a farm in Korweinguboora. A fatal house explosion that leaves a rural community reeling.

Local cop John Franklin and Melbourne journalist Georgie Harvey are among the first responders at the property. The crime scene is compromised by fire and tonnes of water, and speculations run rife. Murder-suicide? Accident or sabotage? An isolated incident or just the beginning?

As lives hang in the balance, Franklin seeks answers and someone to hold accountable while Georgie investigates her toughest story yet. But will one of them crack?

xxxxxx

Dawn Edelstein knows everything there is to know about dying. She specialises in helping her clients make peace with the end of their lives. But as she’s flying home from her latest case, she is forced to confront her own mortality for the first time.

Instead of seeing her brilliant quantum physicist husband and their beloved daughter flash before her eyes in what she assumes are her last moments, only one face is shockingly clear: Wyatt Armstrong.

Safely on the ground, Dawn now faces a desperate decision. Should she return to Boston, her family and the life she knows, or journey back to an Egyptian archaeological site she left over a decade earlier, reconnect with Wyatt, and finally finish her abandoned magnum opus, The Book of Two Ways?

As the story unfolds, Dawn must confront the questions she’s never truly answered: What does a life well-lived look like? When we depart this earth, what do we leave behind of ourselves? And who would you be if you hadn’t turned out to be the person you are right now?

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Thanks for stopping by!

Review: The Godmothers by Monica McInerney


Title: The Godmothers

Author: Monica McInerney

Published: 29th September 2020, Michael Joseph

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy PenguinRandomHouse Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

With its mix of drama, humour, and a touch of romance, The Godmothers by Australian-born, Dublin-based, internationally best selling author Monica McInerney, is a story of family, friendships and relationships.

Though her childhood was far from conventional, Eliza Miller never doubted she was loved by her devoted but mercurial single mother, Jeannie. When Jeannie died unexpectedly just before Eliza’s 18th birthday, it was her adoring godmothers, Olivia and Maxie, who ensured she had everything she needed, and now that her life has been upended again, and she is ready for answers to some long held questions about her father, it is her godmothers that Eliza turns to.

A character-driven novel, It’s the emotional journey of Eliza that is the focus of The Godmothers. I have to admit I struggled some with her character, I kept thinking she was in dire need of some counselling. Though she’s likeable, and I thought her sympathetic, I found Eliza’s idolisation of her mother naive and somewhat uncomfortable. I was pleased with how things worked out for Eliza, but in hindsight I recognise I was never particularly invested in the character.

The godmothers are lovely, they clearly cherish Eliza and want the best for her. Olivia plays a slightly larger role in the story than Maxie, as it’s at the hotel in Edinburgh owned by Olivia’s ill husband that Eliza is staying, though its Maxie’s wedding that gets her there. When Eliza starts asking questions, I can understand the women’s reluctance to ‘tarnish’ Jeannie’s memory in her daughter’s eyes, and the reasons for the secrets they have kept, and continue to keep, from her, but I don’t necessarily agree they made the right decisions.

Sullivan, a precocious twelve year old Eliza meets on the plane on her way to Edinburgh, was a surprise character, the complete opposite in personality to Olivia’s badly behaved elderly mother-in-law, Celine. Both characters mainly serve as light relief, but I thought they came close to ‘stealing the show’, so to speak.

I have to admit I’ve had a tough time articulating my thoughts about this novel. I did find the experience of reading The Godmothers to be engaging, and I still consider myself a fan of McInerney, but if I’m honest this is not a favourite.

++++++

Available from PenguinRandomHouse Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

Also by Monica McInerney reviewed at Book’d Out 

Review: Rebel Without a Clause by Sue Butler

Title: Rebel Without A Clause: Losing the linguistic plot…

Author: Sue Butler

Published: 29th September 2020, Macmillan

Status: Read October 2020 courtesy PanMacmillan Australia

++++++

My Thoughts:

It’s surprising how often conversations about language crop up around our dinner table. The kids love to tease me about the way I say ‘tacos’, my son enjoys irritating his siblings with his eccentric vocabulary, and their father’s has a penchant for using old ‘bush’ phrases which often require translation. As it happens, just last week my youngest daughter started a debate when she took one of her siblings to task for saying pronounciation instead of pronunciation, which should please Sue Butler.

Susan Butler, the former Editor of the Macquarie Dictionary, has some very particular ideas about language and how it ought and ought not be used. Rebel Without a Clause is a collection of her observations on, among other things, ‘the vagaries of English pronunciation, complicated by differences in varieties of English and personal idiosyncrasies and social taboos’.

‘To Care or Not To Care’ is the title of her first chapter in which she provides a brief explanation of how and why language changes, the need to balance preservation with the right of expression, and the importance of clarity and meaning.

In further pithy chapters, Susan goes on to discuss cliches, inventions, awkward spellings, mixed metaphors, and misconceptions. Her erudite commentary tempered by her wit, she explores questions like; Is Sheila now a derogatory term? What’s the difference between flaunt and flout? Should Covidiot have a place in the dictionary? Do you order brus-ketta or bru-shetta?

There’s a little overlap between Rebel Without a Clause and Butler’s The Aitch Factor (2014), but not a troubling amount. I’m heartened to see Sue still believes we can do without the apostrophe, and yet I’m in complete agreement with her dislike of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Rebel Without a Clause is a delightful exploration of the ever evolving wonder of words, and would make an ideal gift for language lovers, or pedantics, grammar Nazi’s or wordsmiths.

++++++

Available from Pan Macmillan Australia

Or from your preferred retailer via Booko I Book Depository

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