Post Script: The White Book – Han Kang

The White Book

The White Book

Han Kang

Translated by Deborah Smith

Allen & Unwin Australia

Portobello Books

ISBN: 9781846276293

 

Description:

From the winner of the Man Booker International Prize for The Vegetarian

 

Writing while on a residency in Warsaw, a city palpably scarred by the violence of the past, the narrator finds herself haunted by the story of her older sister, who died a mere two hours after birth. A fragmented exploration of white things – the swaddling bands that were also her shroud, the breast milk she did not live to drink, the blank page on which the narrator herself attempts to reconstruct the story – unfolds in a powerfully poetic distillation.

 

As she walks the unfamiliar, snow-streaked streets, lined by buildings formerly obliterated in the Second World War, their identities blur and overlap as the narrator wonders, ‘Can I give this life to you?’. The White Book is a book like no other. It is a meditation on a colour, on the tenacity and fragility of the human spirit, and our attempts to graft new life from the ashes of destruction.

 

This is both the most autobiographical and the most experimental book to date from South Korean master Han Kang.

 

 

My View:

Experimental in presentation and design, economically written, no words wasted, emotions captured seemingly effortlessly, this is a stunning read, an emotional read.

 

Poignant beautiful prose – so personal, like reading someone else’s diary, someone who has a heart full of sadness (I hope that is not the reality, I hope that is just my imagination).

 

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Post Script: Writing The Dream – A Serenity Press Anthology

writing-the-dream

Writing the Dream

24 Authors One Dream 24 Inspiring Stories

A Serenity Press Anthology

Serenity Press

ISBN: 9780994633736

 

Description:

A collection of 25 stories written by talented authors. No two writers are the same, but they have one thing in common: they are storytellers at heart and their deepest desire is to be heard. Writing the Dream shares the stories of twenty-five Australian writers, from emerging to established authors. Some are traditionally published, while others have taken the self-publishing route. Some have faced rejection after rejection, while others have had a dream path.

 

But, while their writing journeys are different, all of them strive to create, entertain, inspire and inform. And all of them have unique and creative voices that deserve to be heard.

 

With contributors including Anna Jacobs, Juliet Marillier, Natasha Lester, Jenn J McLeod, and a host of other talented writers, the stories in Writing the Dream are set to strike an inspirational chord in every hopeful writer’s heart.

 

 

My View:

Australian authors share their personal stories of process, inspiration, writing experiences and publishing in a very personal and honest collection of short stories. So many of the names here are familiar to me; some are authors I have already had the pleasure of reading their work, or I may have seen them talk at a festival or “know” via social media, regardless of how I have “met” this diverse group of writers, it felt like these authors were reaching out and speaking directly to me – such an intimate and inspirational approach; I highly value the advice given so generously here.

 

If you aspire to write, or dabble, or dream or perhaps know someone who does then this little book will brighten their day and get the words flowing on the pages.

 

As a bonus you get an extra chapter free, twenty five individual stories and each author provides a set of tips at the end of their chapter. One of the best hints/tips I think is from Melinda Tognini:

“Just start.” (p.233, emphasis added)

 

 

 

 

 

Avenues of Dawn – Short Story – AK Alliss

This short piece by AK Alliss maybe become something more…maybe not…I enjoyed this piece as it is.  I hope you do to.

Thanks Adam.

 

Avenues of Dawn

His eyes open hesitantly, unfamiliar sounds laced with some distant memory that he can’t quite recall, that déjà vu feeling at the back of his skull, pressing with urgency. The sounds get louder, a clinking, rhythmic beat that closes distance. His eyes are greeted by a flaking ceiling, the colour of old paper, an errant spider web billowing in a hidden breeze. His stomach feels folded inside out and he wonders for a second if he has been drinking, but instantly dismisses the idea as being inaccurate.

Sitting up, he stares for a moment, at poorly painted bars that grant him a view of a railing and a narrow catwalks, and still, he cannot remember how he got here. A flash in front of his eyes, warm, liquid irises the colour of a summer sea and hair that spirals in infinite repetition replaces his view of the bars, but then is lost to sight. He tries to get back that face but it vanishes as quickly as it appeared, a phantom that does not belong in this place of muted colours and cool barriers.

A man appears, military grade haircut and eyes that are as stern and unforgiving as the sea, a tray held in a gnarled hand that could as easily be carved from wood. The man studies him and grunts, sniffing in his inspection before tapping the bars once with a nightstick, producing the same sound that has awoken him from his slumber. He moves as if he will tap the bars once more but appears to decide against it, hanging the nightstick from a loop on a broad leather belt. The jailer replaces the nightstick with a ring of keys, reaching forward and unlocking a small panel inset between the bars, just wide enough to permit the tray.

The tray is passed between the bars and he can see now that he is being offered food, if that definition could apply to the assortment of green and grey smears held in small compartments on the tray. A flimsy plastic fork, edges rounded, sits in the mushed food and is nearly knocked from the tray as it passes through the gap. The guard holds the tray through the gap and he blearily realises that he is supposed to take it. He nods once and the guard ignores him, releasing the nothing food into his grip, rehanging the keys from their clip and reacquiring the nightstick.

He gives one more tap with the long, solid looking piece of steel, the sound more of a bang than the tap of previously, before moving on to the next cell. As he departs, he begins whistling a tune, and he recognises it as something by the Rolling Stones.

Paint it Black.

That collapsing feeling wells up unexpectedly and he swears that he can smell hot coffee, as if from a great distance. He squints as sweat coats his forehead and runs into his eyes, swiping furiously at them without managing to clear them of the sting. He hears a woman’s voice and he knows at once that it belongs to the face that flashed across his mind just prior to the guard arriving.

Caleb.

The tray in his hands twists as if it is made of nothing more substantial than an elastic band and he feels at once as if his body is doing the same. He is all angles and planes of uncertainty and his legs collapse, the solid green of the concrete floor rushing towards him. The guard’s whistling draws away, faster than a speeding vehicle and the concrete smashes into his face, only to be replaced by the smell of loam and spring. The whistle reaches a piercing shriek and moulds itself into the call of a bird, somewhere high overhead, it’s cry broken by a woman’s, warm and sultry, low of timbre. And yet, he can still hear the Stones singing about a red door that they want to have painted black, although this time its sound is blurred and buzzing, produced by a small radio next to him.

“Caleb, where were you?”

Caleb feels her thighs, held close together beneath the bird’s nest of his hair, bright and penetrating sunlight hurting his eyes as he opens them. She is there above him, her face occluded by the sun above her, making her features become lost, a silhouette that he reaches towards. She laughs and tilts her head up and he knows now why he doesn’t want to remember this moment, to be here with her. Pain fills him as he gropes internally for a reply, settling on something that feels as ominous as the moment he has just returned from.

“Somewhere you weren’t.” is the only answer he can give her.

 

(c) AK Alliss 2016

In The Mail 18th November 2016

I am very excited by the books that arrived in the mail this week.

Books 18/11/016

So many great reads – it is almost better than Christmas!  I have started reading  Melina Marchetta’s  – Tell The Truth Shame The Devil– a great mystery/thriller ( maybe I might finish that tonight),  I have flicked  through  Vivienne Westwood’s Get a Life and I must say I am really keen to start this –  this hardback is beautifully presented – love the detailing on the inside back and front covers and the handwritten message from Vivienne and all the wonderful images sprinkled liberally throughout the book. This would make  a fantastic Christmas gift for someone special (or for yourself, your pretty special too).

I loved Saul Black’s The Killing Lessons  so really looking forward to Lovemurder.

The Rivers of London sounds interesting…  “my story really started when I tried to take a witness statement froma man who was already dead…” This grabbed my attention!  And I see Lisa Unger took my advice and created a novel from one of the novellas she wrote a while back 🙂  Ink and Bone – another I cant wait to start reading. And last but not least – a local publisher – Serenity Press brings us  Writing the Dream; twenty four inspiring stories from many writers you may know or know of – Louise Allan, Sara Foster, Jenn J Mcleod, Monique Mulligan, Sandi Wallace… I cant wait to read your stories!

Post Script: The Love of A Bad Man – Laura Elizabeth Woollett

the-love-of-a-bad-man

The Love of a Bad Man

Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Scribe Publications

ISBN: 9781925321555

 

Description:

A schoolgirl catches the eye of the future leader of Nazi Germany. An aspiring playwright writes to a convicted serial killer, seeking inspiration. A pair of childhood sweethearts reunite to commit rape and murder. A devoted Mormon wife follows her husband into the wilderness after he declares himself a prophet.

 

The twelve stories in ‘The Love of a Bad Man’ imagine the lives of real women, all of whom were the lovers, wives, or mistresses of various ‘bad’ men in history. Beautifully observed, fascinating, and at times horrifying, the stories interrogate power, the nature of obsession, and the lengths some women will go to for the men they love.

 

 

My View:

This is a very very dark read. The premise is tantalising – who doesn’t wonder about the partners of some of the most diabolical murderous and sadistic killers in history – how they got together, why they stayed together, how the relationship worked, how much were they involved with the crimes? Who lead who on? Who was the mastermind? These mesmerising short stories are compelling and fascinating, yet simultaneously repulsive – magnetic in effect, tempting the voyeur hidden deep in all of us yet making us shudder as we read on.  What powerful reads! The short story has been reborn! Fascinating scenarios and great writing – how did this author develop such a powerful and wicked voice?

 

This is an author to watch out for! Read if you dare!

New and Old Friends – Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival Day 3

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

This years festival has been outstanding! I have been privileged to hear some great authors share stories about their latest releases and writing in general. Some are “old friends” (authors I have read previously to the festival), some are “newly discovered friends”.   Thank  you Sulari Gentill, Sara Foster (and hello to Sara’s charming parents), Dr Liz Byrski, Rosemary SayerBernice Barry, Ann Turner, Madelaine Dickie, Josh Langley, Ian Andrew (always a delight to meet a fellow blogger who just happens to be a best selling crime fiction writer)  What generous people you all are!  Sadly I could not attend every session or the External/parallel events… so much talent so little time 🙂

 

I will wind up my spotlight on the festival with a few images from day 3.

 

day 3 MRRWF 005

Short Story Panel

 

Michael Cathcart interviews Ann Turner

Michael Cathcart interviews Ann Turner

 

 

 

And

Spotlight On The Margaret River Readers & Writers Festival – Rosemary Sayer

Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Welcome author Rosemary Sayer to my blog, to Margaret River and to the festival.

Rosemary Sayer is a former journalist, a business communications consultant and the biographer of Sir Gordon Wu, chairman of Hopewell Holdings, Hong Kong (The Man who Turned the Lights On) and Trevor Eastwood, former chairman and CEO of Wesfarmers Limited (The CEO, the Chairman and the Board). She teaches professional writing at Curtin University and is a board member of not-for-profit organisations supporting refugees (Edmund Rice Centre) and the arts (writingWA) in Western Australia. She has worked extensively throughout Australia and the Asia Pacific region, and currently lives in Perth with her husband, Terry Grose

Rosemary Sayer

Rosemary’s shares her journey of writing More to the Story in her session – Searching For a Home Friday 3rd of June  1.50-2.40pm.  I caught up with Rosemary during the week and this is what she had to say about this life changing writing experience:

Searching for Home – Rosemary Sayer at the Margaret River Readers and Writers Festival

Australia has a proud multicultural heritage and is greatly enriched by refugees from around the world so I am really looking forward to a discussion with Will Yeoman, Literary Editor  at the West Australian about my recent book More to the story –conversations with refugees.  It’s a chance for me to share the inspiring stories of refugees from Burma, Afghanistan and South Sudan who have made Western Australia home. 

More to the Story

As the negative and de-humanising comments about refugees in some parts of our media and by politicians continues, I hope our discussion will give people a better insight into the life of a person from a refugee background living in Australia.  I spent nearly three years researching and writing the book, even spending time in a refugee camp on the Thai Burmese border.  I know Will is also keen to explore my own journey in writing this book which combines history, commentary and personal memoir alongside deeply moving interviews and conversations. It has been a life changing experience for me which I hope people will find interesting. 

 

Publishing details: More to the story-conversations with refugees is published by Margaret River Press  www.margaretriverpress.com  RRP $27.95.