THE HOOPLA LITERARY SOCIETY
“The publishing imprints of Random House and Penguin will continue to publish their books with the autonomy they presently enjoy, and retain their distinct editorial identities.”
- Bertelsmann and Pearson press release, via Shelf Awareness.
The end (or the beginning) of an era for Penguin. Image: Stefan Wermuth, Reuters.
This week saw the end of, or the beginning of, an era, depending which way you prefer to look at it.
Only four days after officially confirming that they were in discussions about combining their book publishing operations, Pearson and Bertelsmann announced they are creating a joint venture named Penguin Random House.
The timing from rumour to fait accompli might seem super fast but there was possibly good cause for their alacrity. The deal effectively scuttled News Corp. potential offer of £1 billion ($1.62 billion) for Penguin that was reportedly going to be made later in the week. Had they been successful, we might be talking about HarperCollins Penguin instead of Penguin Random House.
Preceding the actual facts of the matter was the much more entertaining speculation ignited in the Twitterverse. The novelist Kameron Hurley was responsible for this graphic and there was much debate about whether the merged company would be renamed Penguin House or Random Penguin.
I liked this contribution from Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story, “All these years of trying to please my German masters and now I have to learn Cockney?”
Let’s hope that whatever happens the well-being of authors, the diversity of published works and the edification and entertainment of readers are not sacrificed.
The Island House by Posie Graeme-Evans
“Laenna said, softly, ‘Raiders. Nid told me. They’ve been seen up the coast. I thought he was trying to scare me.’ Under the blood and the mud, her face was white.
There was nowhere else to go. Signy grabbed her sister’s hand. ‘Come on!’
They turned and ran back the way they’d come, too terrified to scream; breath and energy were needed for survival. At their backs a thudding crash began. The raiders had seen the girls and that noise, sword hilt against shield boss, frightened the sisters more than facing the newcomers. That noise meant death; now, not later.
The children hit the top of the cliff. They screamed as they ran towards the Abbey, past Laenna’s captor, only now getting to his feet.
‘They’re here, they’re coming. Run!’
If the man did not understand, he heard the bellow of approaching death. And then he was sprinting after the girls, he was past them, yelling…
‘Brothers, Brothers, ring the bell. The bell! Raiders!’
That was the first night of the Wanderer in this world.”
By 800AD, the island of Findnar is home to a small Christina community of nuns and monks trying to set up a religious centre.
Before them, the local Picts visited the island to source valuable foods and worship the Sun god Cruach at a circle of stones where they performed their religious ceremonies.
Now the two peoples live in uncomfortable proximity but they are both united by their fear of the raiding Viking armies, whose sackings of local villages means death or slavery and years of poverty.
In 2012, Freya Dane is undertaking her PhD in archaeology when her father, also an archaeologist, dies. Freya hasn’t seen Michael Dane since she was a little girl and is shocked that he leaves her an island in his will, the island of Findnar. Freya travels from Sydney to Portsolly, Scotland determined to put her father’s affairs in order before selling the island.
But once on the island, Freya becomes caught up in her father’s work and is haunted by strange dreams and hallucinations of a strange dark haired girl.
Posie Graeme-Evans is best known to Australians as the creator and producer of the hit series, McLeod’s Daughters. However, when it comes to writing, Graeme-Evans has a penchant for historical rather than contemporary drama and in The Island House she has created both an archeological puzzle and a love story that spans centuries.
Artifacts, her late father’s notes and strange dreams eventually lead Freya to discover the fates of Signy, the Pictish daughter of a shaman who becomes a Christian nun, the man she loves and the tragic ending to their lives.
The Island House is a great read, as much for the rich historical detail as for the thoughtful exploration of what it means to love and what it means to belong.
|Page 1 of 3||next >>|