'Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing..' (Publisher's blurb)
'"Mum is the reference point. If you ever get confused about anything, there she is, waiting with all her knowledge of you."
'Grace Fisher, mother of three, one day decides her husband is a sore disappointment and moves the family from Melbourne to a coastal village in Victoria. But Ian's slow dissolution on the couch masked a depression that will harrow him into an early grave, leaving the kids with a lifetime of questioning: what happened to their father; how did he get so sad?
'Between their father's demise and Grace's hardscrabble existence working at a local bakery, each child is left to find meaning on their own. Edie, the eldest child, locks herself into a romantic ideal so lofty that it can't help but fail. The middle child, Juliet, struts and careens through life, filling it only with what she can seduce, steal and manipulate. Sibling rivalry between sisters proves the slowest and fiercest of burns. Love comes easily for Ted, the youngest, but when his wife abandons him to raise two daughters on his own, the perils of fatherhood are laid bare.
'When Grace, the distant, imperfect hub of the family, is diagnosed with terminal cancer, the siblings are forced to confront each other as adults, and come to understand their mother.' (From the publisher's website.)
'Anna Funder's utterly compelling first novel All That I Am is about the heroic and largely tragic fate of a small group of left-wing German activists who opposed the rise of Hitler. It centres on two real people: the playwright Ernst Toller (famously eulogized by his friend W H Auden), and one of his associates, Ruth Koplowitz. Ruth was also a friend of Toller, and came to live in Sydney after WW2, where Anna got to know her well in later life. Their lives were tied together by the charismatic, passionate Dora - All That I Am vividly, passionately and irresistibly brings back to life their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their fates.'
Source: Penguin News, 6 October 2010
'It's the 1880s and Marvellous Melbourne is a lavish and raucous city where anything could happen. Eccentric entrepreneur Edward William Cole is building the sprawling Cole's Book Arcade and filling it with whatever amuses him, or supports his favourite causes: a giant squid, a brass band, monkeys, a black man whose skin has turned white, a Chinese tea salon, and of course, hundreds of thousands of books.
'When Edward decides to marry he advertises for a wife in the newspaper, shocking and titillating the whole town. To everyone's surprise he marries his broadsheet bride and the Arcade grows into a monumental success.
'But the 1890s depression hits Melbourne - and Edward - hard, and the death of one of his children leaves him reeling. Grief, corruption and a beautiful, unscrupulous widow all threaten to derail his singular vision. But it's not until he visits Chinatown one night - and his own deeply suppressed past - that the idealist faces his toughest challenge.
'Utopian Man is the story of a man who lives life on his own terms, and leaves behind a remarkable legacy.' (Publisher's blurb)
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