Adult book reviews
Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
I recently read Bridge of Clay, Markus Zusak’s long-awaited and highly anticipated novel. It took him 11 long years to write after his very successful The Book Thief and, in my opinion, it was worth the wait. Bridge of Clay is an Australian family saga like no other I have ever read – I found it original and engaging from start to finish. It was not unlike being on an adventurous, emotional rollercoaster with strong themes of loss, grief, and love throughout. I enjoyed the beautiful, poetic and unique style of Markus Zusak’s writing and re-read many passages purely for the pleasure of enjoying his original way with words. Bridge of Clay, similar to The Book Thief, will not be everyone’s cup of tea – you will either love it or …not – but I think it’s definitely worth a try. If you make it to the end, make sure you have the tissue box on hand!
Reviewed by Elizabeth Skorulis (Kiama Library)
Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
In this latest novel by Barbara Kingsolver, author of the much loved The Poisonwood Bible, the alternating stories of the inhabitants of a house unravel side by side, 140 years apart, echoing one another in provocative ways.
In both stories, the house in which the characters live is crumbling from the foundations. Likewise, larger changes - Darwin’s theory of evolution in the 1870s and climate change today - are shaking the characters’ world view to its core. To acknowledge difficult truths and rebuild rather than patch the cracks is the only real way forward.
Kingsolver suggests it’s never been easy to find ourselves unsheltered, cast out from the comforts of old beliefs about how the world works. But we’ve adapted before. With a little creative thinking and courage, we might do so again.
I loved this book. It was engaging, thought-provoking, intriguing and beautifully written. In hope you enjoy it too!
Reviewed by Catherine Taylor (Kiama Library)
Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal M. Omar
A fascinating and sometimes terrifying true account of life inside Iraq following the US led invasion of the country in 2003. Manal, an American international aid worker, tells of her time setting up an aid agency for women who are determined to rebuild their lives following the war and the sanctions imposed upon them. Despite the many obstacles and heartbreaks her tale tells of her hope for a better future and her growing devotion to the Iraqi people. Especially important to her are the special friendships she forms and the love that develops between herself and an Iraqi man. However, along with other aid workers, Manal is forced to flee the country leaving her work unfinished as the situation inside Iraq becomes more chaotic and reaches crisis point.
An insightful and worthy read!
Jenny Marshall (Kiama Library)