THE HOOPLA LITERARY SOCIETY
“It is difficult now to imagine how some of the great turning points in Western history could have been achieved without [the book]. The Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment all relied on the printed word for their spread and permanent influence. For two and a half millennia, humanity used the book, in its manuscript or printed form, to record, to administer, to worship and to educate.” (Books: A Living History by Australian historian Martyn Lyon)
It’s been a week of coming down from the high created by the Sydney Writers’ Festival to something resembling normalcy.
This is our first column for June and that means there’s a whole new bunch of books to talk about, writers to chat to and extracts to share. And this week I’ve even included our first foray into poetry. Enjoy!
A Stranger in My Street, Deborah Burrows
“ ‘Any man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee-“ It’s a great piece of writing.’
‘It’s exactly what I think. I’m sorry that you don’t believe it any more.’
There was a short silence. Tom was looking down, staring at his maimed hand.
‘There are some people whose death would improve humanity,’ he said at last. ‘And, to be perfectly truthful…if I could, I would opt out of mankind altogether.’”
In January 1943, Perth is a vibrant town revelling in its role as host to the dashing American troops based there for the duration. A girl can find a date amongst the handsome generous men every night of the week. Except young Meg Eaton who has no interest in dating as she is still nursing a broken heart after the man she loved died serving his country. She lives a quiet life at home with her mother and sister and works as a secretary at the Crown Law Department. But two things happen to change Meg’s war. One is meeting war hero and brother to her dead lover, Tom Lagrange, and the second is finding Doreen Luca in a neighbour’s air raid shelter, stabbed through the heart and very much dead.
Western Australian writer Deborah Burrows debuts with this wonderful murder mystery set in Perth in World War II. Careful research packs this book with rich historical detail that brings the era and characters alive. Burrows captures the adventure that war brought into many lives as well as the physical and emotional toll it exacted. This book is part murder mystery and part historical romance but most importantly, it is a great piece of escapism. I spent a fascinating hour with Deborah talking about the writing, the research and her own family’s ties to this story. BUY THE BOOK
A spot of poetry
Poetry either gets a bad rap or gets ignored, both are unfair. It takes immense talent to say well in few words what most of us can’t express at all.
I stumbled across this poem by English poet Hugo Williams and it spoke to me of a topic we often discuss here at The Hoopla; marriage, relationships, he says, she says, and how the little details of everyday life reflect the larger relationship.
The odd thing put away
in the wrong place – cups and plates
back in the cupboard
that I always leave out,
curtains open on the street
that I always keep drawn,
remind me of your recent brief
progress through here,
looking for something in the attic.
How could I forget:
butter in the fridge, but never eggs,
burnt matches everywhere,
in spite of the gas lighter,
jam jars soaking in water
to get the labels off.
How typical of you
to give the Chinese teapot a last chance
to prove itself in company.
And look at that tea towel
slung like your signature
over the back of a chair.
I could weep for the small spoons
lying down with the forks,
the corkscrew with the tea strainer.
Leave them where they are forever?
Or harden my heart
and put them back where they belong?
Classics – coming to a Cinema near you!
May saw Text Publishing release a series called Text Classics. Thirty Australian classic books, complete with introductions by other notable Australians, celebrating the diverse rich vein of Australian writing talent.
As if that weren’t enough, if you live anywhere near Lygon Street Carlton, you can now trot along to Cinema Nova on Wednesday nights and see some of these classics brought to life on the silver screen in a series called Page to Picture. Starting Wednesday, June 6, you can see such movies as Careful, He Might He You, Stiff and My Brilliant Career. Read the book then see the movie or vice versa, what more can you ask for?
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