Third Monday Bookclub - Top 3 books for 2012
The final book written by the Pulitzer Prize author Wallace Stegner, Crossing to Safety was a firm favourite for the group. Beautifully written, layered characters and relationships between two couples, with exquisite depictions of country and nature in Vermont and Wisconsin. The group had a very animated discussion when it came time to talk about this one as we all loved it for it's depth of relationships and natural beauty of landscape and writing. It was clear to us as to why this is now considered a modern classic. This will be stay with me for a lifetime, providing a very high benchmark for others to attempt to near.
The latest offering by one of Australia's finest contemporary authors, The Street Sweeper provides a delicately and cleverly written intertwining book, dipping between eras such as the American Civil War, the Holocaust, equal rights movement in the 60's and contemporary America. While some content was harrowing, it was clearly real and extensively and accurately researched, giving this book realism and depth to a story that could otherwise be nonsensical. Broad in scope, some say epic, and yet quite a personal story with intimate character portrayals. This was the first book I read of Elliot Perlman's, but has since lead me his other novels and short tales.
Like Elliot Perlman, Anna Funder researched this book with great depth, threading together a tale of courage and defiance throughout Nazi Germany and leading us back to contemporary Sydney through the main character of Ruth. While all the group enjoyed this cleverly written Miles Franklin award winning novel, we appreciated the complexity and marvel of The Street Sweeper more.