THE HOOPLA LITERARY SOCIETY
“On those occasions when I decide I am a bad writer, that I cannot string two words together, that Stephen and Jo must have been mad to accept my story, that I should simply take up house painting (or pole-dancing) full-time, and that the writing police are about to tap me on the shoulder and denounce me as a fraud, I will remember this day and think maybe, just maybe I am doing something right.”
~Speculative fiction writer Angela Slatter on winning the Bristish Fantasy Award
It’s an eclectic mix in this week’s Hoopla Literary Society. We have women’s fiction, horror, an Australian classic, poetry, chick-lit and young adult fiction.
What do they all have in common? Quality, of course! I’ve also been trying to squeeze in reading The Casual Vacancy in those five minutes I have spare (yeah right). Who’s finished it? What did you think? There’s so many great books and bookish news to share, I’m going to stop chatting and get stuck into it. Enjoy!
Love Anthony, by Lisa Genova
“She holds up the cardboard envelope from David next, staring at it for a long time moment before carefully tearing the tab and upending it.
Three white, round, perfectly smooth rocks fall into her lap. She smiles. Anthony’s rocks. And three of them. She shakes the envelope. There aren’t any more. He would’ve liked that there were three and not one or two or four. He loved things that came in threes. The Little Pigs, One-Two-Three-Go, Small- Medium- Big. Of course, he never said the words to her, Mom, I like the “Three Little Pigs” story. But she knew.
She rolls the three small rocks in the palm of her hand, enjoying the cool, smooth feel of them. When she’s done with the mail, she’ll add them to the glass bowl on the coffee table already containing at least fifty more of Anthony’s white round rocks. A shrine in a bowl.
Anthony wouldn’t have liked his rocks in Olivia’s bowl on the coffee table, however. He preferred them lined up like perfectly straight rock parades on the floor, all over the house.
Heaven forbid Olivia should clean up and put his rocks back in his box in his bedroom. But sometimes, she couldn’t help herself. Sometimes she simply wanted to walk through the house and not kick through a rock parade. Sometimes she simply wanted to walk through a normal house. It was always a huge mistake. They didn’t live in a normal house. And change, however small, was never Anthony’s friend.
She peeks into the envelope and sees a folded piece of stationery.
Found these three under the couch.
Olivia and David’s marriage crumbles after the death of their autistic son, Anthony. Years of anguish, of love unreturned by a child who cannot speak, avoids eye contact and hates to be touched is brought to a close by a seizure and with Anthony’s death dies all Olivia’s hope.
Grieving, Olivia goes to live in their holiday house on the island of Nantucket, a place of happier memories, to escape the reminders of Anthony’s short life as much as the pity from family and friends.
Her neighbour on Nantucket is Beth who moved to the island when she married Jimmy. Fourteen years and three daughters later, Beth discovers Jimmy is having an affair and throws him out of the house. Her emotions are on high alert as she struggles through feelings of anger, remorse, hatred mingled with love and regret for what Jimmy has done to their family.
But Beth also examines her life and wonders what became of the girl who had moxie, went skinny dipping and wanted to be a writer.
Beth knows nothing of Olivia’s recent tragedy or why she is on the island. When she finds an old journal in the attic and starts to write a story based on a little boy she saw lining up rows of white pebbles at the beach a few summers ago, never could she have imagined the impact that story could have on her and Olivia’s lives.
Love Anthony is a warm and compassionate tale about how to make sense of having an autistic child and finding love and meaning in a relationship that is almost completely one sided.
It’s also about loss and grief, guilt and betrayal, and the value and importance of friendship. Lisa Genova has written an intelligent empathetic novel that still manages to shine a strong light on the harsh realities of living with a disabled child. An absolutely worthwhile read.
You can read an extract of Love Anthony HERE.
Plus, enter for your chance to win a copy for yourself HERE!
The Blake Poetry Prize
Last night the shortlist for the prestigious Blake Poetry Prize was announced.
First held in 2008, the Blake Poetry Prize encourages Australian poets to engage in the dialogue between religion, spirituality and poetry. Past winners include Robert Adamson, Tasha Sudan and John Watson.
From a field of 454 entries, seven have been shortlisted for the $5,000 prize.
Congratulations to the following poets for making the shortlist.
David Bunn Once Upon a Time in the Rockies
Christopher (Kit) Kelen Celan
Graham Kershaw Altar Rock
David Musgrave Nine Crab Barn
Geoff Page Horseback
Mick Ringiari Redemption
Carmel Summers Breathing
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