Tag: book reviews

Lisa See’s — Shanghai Girls *****

Lisa See’s — Shanghai Girls *****

Two sisters, Pearl and May, lead exciting lives in Shanghai until their father’s once rich lifestyle is gambled away. Their father is forced to sell his daughters as wives to men in California seeking wives. Escaping from invading soldiers, they journey across to U.S.A. to begin new lives with the strangers they’ve married. This is Lisa See at her best.

Timothy Bottoms’ — Conspiracy of Silence *****

Timothy Bottoms’ — Conspiracy of Silence *****

This is a history of Queensland’s early European settlement that I was never taught. The novel documents an era during the 1800s when pastoralists claimed millions of hectares of Queensland’s interior for cattle and sheep grazing. When Aborigines objected, speared a sheep or approached waterholes they’d used for thousands of years, graziers either demanded the native police “disperse” the Aborigines or killed most of the tribe themselves.

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Richard Flanagan’s — Death of a river guide *****

Richard Flanagan’s — Death of a river guide *****

Alijaz is a river guide on the only remaining Tasmanian River that has not been dammed—the Franklin. In an attempt to save a tourist who’s fallen into the river, Alijaz gets trapped in the rapids. While he is entombed underwater, his dreams take him on an unforgettable journey.

Beautifully written, I didn’t want this story to end while at the same time, hoped Alijaz would survive.

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

Gail Tsukiyama’s — The samurai’s garden *****

In early 1938 Stephan is ill and leaves Hong Kong for Tarumi where he stays in his parents’ seaside Japanese house to recuperate. At first, he feels isolated in the village and finds Matsu who tends to his needs, too reserved, but as his health improves so does his relationship with Matsu. While he swims in the sea or paints, Stephan-san grows concerned as Japan invades China and its armies rampage south. But he forgets these worries when Matsu introduces him to his friend, Sachi who lives in Yamaguchi, a mountainside village for lepers. As the year draws to a close, is it safe for Chinese to remain in Japan? Will he be able to part from the close relationships he’s formed with Matsu and Sachi?