Alison’s Best Reads for 2016.
My best-of list for this year has an all-Australian cast – hardly surprising. Australian literature is astonishingly good, and varied, and shows us our country. I read a lot of Australian writing: this is a small but enjoyable selection.
The Natural Way of Things, Charlotte Wood’s dystopian novel set somewhere in outback Australia: a disparate group of women, and an enemy.
Ransacking Paris: a year with Montaigne and friends. Patti Miller spent a year living and writing in Paris, and this is the charming result. Clarity, truth and imagination characterise her prose.
One life: my mother’s story. Kate Grenville tells her mother’s life, a captivating biography of a strong woman.
The Last Days of Ava Langdon, Mark O’Flynn’s re-imagining of the life of an eccentric writer, loosely based on Eve Langley, who wrote The Pea Pickers and who lived in Katoomba. Mark is also a poet, and it shows.
The Dressmaker, by Rosalie Ham. An amusing story of revenge, involving the deft use of a sewing machine.
Truly Madly Guilty. Liane Moriarty is an accomplished storyteller, there is edge-of-seat suspense here, as well as keenly-observed suburban psychology.
The Mud House. Richard Glover, and his family and friends, built a house of mud brick, in the sticks. He learned to build as he went. This is the very engaging story of that journey.
Everywhere I Look. The unique Helen Garner offers us her set of essays about – well, life. Everywhere she looks there is something singular and interesting to ponder over. She’s a national treasure.
The Boy behind the Curtain. Tim Winton is possessed of a depth of perception, a wisdom, that is a little eerie. His prose is strong and beautiful, as always, in this autobiographical memoir. He’s clearly a national treasure too.