IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO REINVENT YOURSELF

Meredith Jaffe

“Without stories, there is no world”
— Julia Keller, American crime writer

In the Literary News

The recipient of the 2013 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature is 74-year-old novelist Frank Moorhouse. Presented annually, the $50,000 award recognises ‘the achievements of eminent writers who have made outstanding and lifelong contributions to Australian literature.’

frank-moorhouse

Born on the NSW South Coast, the literary spark was ignited by Alice in Wonderland which the 12-year-old Moorhouse read whilst bedridden after a serious accident. He went on to work as an editor of small town newspapers writing fiction on the side until he became a full time writer in the 1970s.

His literary awards are plenty, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award for the second book in his ‘Edith’ trilogy Dark Palace, which follows the life of an Australian woman working in Europe for the League of Nations after World War I and in Canberra during the Cold War. In 1985, Moorhouse was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to literature.

Reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, Moorhouse’s reaction to receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award was “This is ‘Goodbye Frank’. This is ‘Into the grave; you’ve done your writing and don’t submit any more stories about Balmain or the League of Nations.”’
In contrast, the Chair of the Australia Council’s Literature Strategy Panel Sophie Cunningham said that Moorhouse has been recognised for his “highly influential, always timely and extraordinary contributions to Australian literature over so many years”.

 

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells by Sebastian Faulks

jeves-and-the-wedding-bellsOn a sojourn to the Côte d’Azur, accompanied, as always, by his valet Jeeves, Bertie Wooster has the great fortune to knock the beautiful leggy Georgiana Meadowes clean off her feet, literally.

Over several intimate dinners, young Bertie Wooster finds himself falling head over heels for the delightful Miss Meadowes who is, unfortunately, engaged to the rather uninspiring Rupert Venables, son of Sidney Venables more commonly known as Vishnu Venables after his stint in India as the Collector of Chanamasala. The marriage is one of convenience, for Georgiana’s guardian Sir Henry Hackwood is in desperate need of funds if he is to hold onto the family seat of Melbury Hall.

But as fate would have it, Bertie’s friend Peregrine ‘Woody’ Beeching is engaged to Amelia Hackwood and a misunderstanding between the pair is threatening their engagement. A trip to Dorsetshire by Bertie and Jeeves may be just the ticket to set things right. It is not long before the pair is insinuated into the Melbury Hall household. The trouble is, thanks to Woody, Jeeves is ensconced above stairs posing as Lord Etringham and Bertie finds himself impersonating a gentleman’s personal gentleman. As Wooster says himself, “a man who has had to pass himself off as Gussie Fink-Nottle to four aunts in a chilly Hampshire dining room with only orange juice in the carburettor knows the meaning of fear.�?

As expected, Bertie goes about bringing Woody and Amelia together in all the wrong ways and it is up to Jeeves to affect the desired outcome. Along the way, there are cocktails, a village cricket match and an evening’s programme of entertainment at the Melbury-cum-Kingston parish hall.

The question is can Bertie and Jeeves reconcile Woody and Amelia? More to the point, is there any way Bertie can control himself around the delightful Miss Georgiana Meadowes? Is it too much to hope that there will be more than one set of wedding bells pealing?

P.G. Wodehouse wrote more than ninety novels of which the escapades of the foolish Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves are firm favourites with many readers. Author and Wodehouse fan Sebastian Faulks was asked by the Wodehouse Estate to write a new novel starring the comic duo in the hope that a new generation of readers might become acquainted with the charming idiocy of their adventures. Described as an homage to P.G. Wodehouse, Faulks has trod a careful line to avoid parody but still provide existing and new fans a fine example of the inimitable Wodehouse style. If the plan works, how heartening to think there will be new fans of such classics as Right Ho, Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters and The Mating Season.

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Meet the Author: Judy Nunn

judy-nunnJudy Nunn had an idyllic childhood growing up in the banks of the Swan River in Perth—swimming, boating and diving for the mussels that grew in abundance on the pylons of Claremont Jetty.

Her father was an agriculturalist and a keen sailor and boat builder in his spare time. But it was her mother who was the most powerful influence on Judy. Although trained as a schoolteacher, it was the theatre that really held Judy’s mother in its thrall and soon Judy followed.

After years starring in Australian television productions such as The Box, Prisoner and Home and Away, Judy turned to writing. Initially she wrote scripts for television before writing two novels for children. However, when Judy turned her hand to adult novels, she had found her milieu.

Coinciding with the release of her twelfth novel Elianne, Judy is also celebrating the news that she has now sold over a million books worldwide. Judy Nunn joins The Hoopla to answer three quick questions.

What book(s) are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and enjoying it immensely. I don’t read fiction when I’m writing (living in two worlds concurrently is complicated enough without entering another, besides which I usually have my head in research books) so the moment my manuscript is completed and off at the publishers I devour other people’s fiction voraciously. I’m in this happy stage at the moment and have just caught up on a dose of Lionel Shriver—So Much For That and her latest Big Brother. To give an Australian a plug, another book I very much enjoyed recently was M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.

Who are your favourite authors or greatest literary influences?
I’m an extremely eclectic reader, not given to any particular author or even genre—although I don’t tend to seek out crime or fantasy fiction (and yet having said that, two of my all-time favourites in the long-distant past would have to be Gorky Park and Lord of the Rings—which sort of sums things up). I do get ‘crushes’ now and then though, and my current one, as evidenced in my answer above, is Lionel Shriver. Her style’s so edgy and bold and ‘out there’, a quirky writer with observations of human nature that are really astute.

As far as literary influences go—again I can’t name any specific influence. I think I’m influenced by every book I enjoy and every writer who captures me. I feel totally uplifted when I lose myself in a book, and so sad when I get to the end of it. That’s surely got to be inspirational.

In a nutshell, what’s your new book about?
elianneElianne is the name of my fictional grand estate, sugar mill and plantation in the southern cane fields of Queensland. It has been home to the wealthy Durham family for generations, but this is the 1960s and times are changing. Not only for the sugar industry where mechanisation is replacing manual labour in the cane fields, but for the whole of the country as Australia is consumed by social revolution.

I follow Kate Durham and her brothers through these changes that threaten to unravel the very fabric of their family’s traditional existence.

That’s it ‘in a nutshell’, but there’s a lot more to it of course. Try murder, rape, love, racism, betrayal, redemption, patriotism—you know, your normal Aussie family nightmare.

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On My Bedside Table

the-yellow-eyes-of-crocodilesAlready translated into 29 languages and with more than 2.5 million copies sold, Katherine Pancol’s hilarious family drama The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles is finally translated into English.

Josèphine Cortès is a frumpy, middle-aged mother of two who finally throws out her perpetually unemployed husband Antoine when she confronts him about his affair. She is shocked when he runs off to Kenya with his lover to run a crocodile farm, convinced he will make his fortune. Alone, Josèphine must now be bread winner, mother and father to the difficult Hortense and the sweet-natured Zoe and somehow make ends meet on the meagre salary she earns as a researcher specialising in 12th century women’s history.

Josephine’s glamorous sister Iris does not need to work as Philippe her philandering lawyer husband is an excellent provider. However, Iris is insecure and bored so when she sits next to a famous publisher at a dinner party, Iris tells him she is writing a 12th century romance and lands herself a book deal. It seems so simple. Josephine will write the book and pocket the proceeds and all Iris has to do is be the front woman. Trouble is, the book becomes the literary sensation of the season.

This is a warm and funny novel about the vagaries of love, the importance of family and a reminder that it is never too late in life to reinvent yourself.

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identicalOn September 5 1982, Dita the daughter of Greek industrialist Zeus Kronon is murdered after a family party.

Her fiancé Cass Gianis steps forward to take the blame. Twenty-five years later, after Cass’ parole hearing, Dita’s brother Hal fronts the media and alleges that Cass’ identical twin brother Paul was in on the murder. Paul is running for mayor and can ill afford the smear campaign but Hal has the time and the money to hang Paul out to dry. Hal’s employee, former FBI Special Agent Evon Miller, teams up with retired police officer Tim Brodie who investigated the original crime. Is it possible that evidence linking Paul Gianis to the crime was missed or that Cass Gianis confessed to a crime he did not commit?

Scott Turow still works as a criminal defence lawyer whilst penning bestselling novels. Identical is packed with intrigue, politics, hidden secrets and of course, murder.

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Booktopia’s Bestselling Sci-Fi

Because Hoopla reader Rhoda asked what to buy her science fiction loving relatives for Christmas, Booktopia have delivered five of their current bestsellers.

  1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card   BUY THE BOOK
  2. Dust by Hugh Howey  BUY THE BOOK
  3. Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot – to Obey, by Mickey Zucker Reichert   BUY THE BOOK
  4. Razor’s Edge by Martha Wells   BUY THE BOOK
  5. The Lost Stars: Perilous Shield by Jack Campbell   BUY THE BOOK

So what have you been reading lately? With so many new releases from big name authors around at the moment, we are spoilt for choice. As always, leave a comment in the thread below and share your views and recommendations.

Until next week! Mx

 

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 src=*Meredith Jaffé is a writer, avid reader and The Hoopla’s books editor. Her reviews have been featured in the NSW Writers’ Centre 366 Days of Writing and in 2013 she was a member of the expert panel that selects the longlist for the Australian Book Industry Awards. When she is avoiding work, she cooks, plays Scrabble online or occasionally updates her Facebook page.

 

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