Tag: Michelle de Kretser

Monthly Review – August 2013

Posted August 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

death in the afternoonAs we come to the end of August, it is time once again to have a look at the month’s reading. This month the book club read the non-fiction sports/travel book Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. While I am against bullfighting, this was an interesting dip into a sport I had no idea what was happening. Next month we are reading one of my wife’s favourite books; The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

I feel very proud of my reading this month; I read some great books and hope this trend continues. Fifteen books read and some of my highlights include Fadeout, Oryx and Crake, The Third Man, The Unknown, Kiss Me First and We Need New Names. There was just so many great books and I feel like I didn’t have any wasted reading time (with the exception of The Suite Life) but the biggest thrill for this month was The Machine by James Smythe a wonderfully dark and complex novel that really deserves more attention.

My Reading Month

Questions of Travel by Michelle de Kretser

Posted August 22, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction / 0 Comments

Questions of Travel by Michelle de KretserTitle: Questions of Travel (Goodreads)
Author: Michelle de Kretser
Published: Allen & Unwin, 2012
Pages: 528
Genres: Literary Fiction
My Copy: Personal Copy

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Laura Fraser is an artistic Australian, who lost her mother at a very early age and her father was cold and distinct towards her, as was her brother. On the other side of the world Ravi Mendes’ life was almost the complete opposite to Laura, but still struggles in life at times; currently he is determined to break into the computer science industry. Alternating from one character to the other, Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel explores why we are all influenced by travel.

Questions of Travel won the Miles Franklin award this year but if it wasn’t for my book club I would never have read it and I think that might have been a mistake. This novel is almost a post-modernist novel in the experimental way the author approached it. I read this book as if the two characters are sitting me down and going through their photo album and telling the story related to each picture. Slowly we get the full story but there are a lot of pieces we have to fill in for ourselves. The reason I thought this was just the way it was written and you have these really short chapters but every now and then you get a long one. Also the dates on each chapter become more specific as we got closer to the present day, almost like the character remembers the year rather than the decade now.

While reading this novel I got the impression that Michelle de Kretser was trying to explore the whole philosophy behind travel; why we do it? What we love about it? That feeling you get being in a strange country. This was a really interesting approach she took and really worked well with the experimental writing style. The author used to write for the Lonely Planet and throughout this novel you can see her small digs at these books and the bureaucracy behind them. Little things like this really helped lighten the mood for the novel.

Questions of Travel has some beautiful language throughout the book and you find yourself really taking the time to enjoy the book (even though I didn’t have much of that before my next book club meeting). This novel demanded more time than I gave it and I might have missed so much but due to time restrictions I had to power through it. There were times I found some great quotes and I wanted to write them down but I was in too much of a hurry (also I never seem to do that but am trying to make more of an effort).

The novel is both thought provoking and emotional; you’ll experience the highs and lows of the two main characters and even if you have found a favourite, both characters offer interesting insights to life and travel. Also on a positive note, this novel also offers one of the best opening chapters I’ve read in recent times, it comes out of nowhere and smacks you in the face. I spent days trying to decide if I liked this book and what I liked about it and that right there is why I enjoyed it; like Slaughterhouse-Five the time spent afterwards thinking about it is what I will remember more than the book itself. I’m not sure if I would recommend this novel to many people, you’d have to be willing to read experimental or post-modernist novels to really enjoy what Michelle de Kretser is doing.