It’s a perfect little gem of a book – a mere fifty pages – but they are just packed with Bennett’s trademark ascerbic wit, pithy obervations on social circumstances made all the more absurd at times by the whole Covid complication.
Now in his 80s, in fact almost 90, Bennett is physically impaired with his arthritis (I’m beginning to know exactly how he feels, poor bugger) but together with his partner, Rupert, maintained a routine of gentle exercise when possible as well as working. At the time of writing the filming of the BBC’s new version of his Talking Heads monologues was about to happen, involving much to-and-fro social distanced collaboration.
Mixed in with the commentary on contemporary incidents are reminiscences from his childhood and other stand out events which are both fascinating and fun.
Definitely worth picking up and spending half an hour of your time – read this great article from The Guardian who are of the same opinion. What a splendid literary treasure he is – read more about his marvellous canon of work here.
A deadly memoir about being bold, black and brave in work, life and love
As Reconciliation Week closes for another year how timely is it that I can share this impressive and inspirational memoir from the pint-sized dynamo Miranda Tapsell.
Many will know her from The Sapphires and more still from the recent movie which she co-wrote and starred in, Top End Wedding.
This memoir recounts her growing up in the Territory mostly focusing on Darwin, her determination to make it as a creative in such a tough industry and her passionate advocacy for her people, culture and country. Readers will follow Miranda’s journey from stage-struck Larrakia Tiwi kid to lauded actress and writer with delight while, at the same time, applauding her resilience, tenacity and self-belief. What a fabulous example to other young Indigenous kids aspiring to follow their own dreams!
It’s a testament to the readability of this book that I read it over just three (week) nights. Miranda infuses her writing with the same vivacity and joy she demonstrates on-screen along with much humour and a very down-to-earth attitude. She doesn’t hold back on her views about the ongoing struggle of our First Australian peoples and I would encourage anyone who wants to know more about both the past and the current state of play in this regard to pick this up and read it, reflect and, hopefully, act.
Sadly it is not just in our country that the racial issue continues to raise its ugly head as this week’s news unfortunately shows. It would seem that though the years roll on there are still so many who choose to remain ignorant and inhuman simply from their innate prejudices.
Miranda has added another string to her creative bow with this debut book. I for one hope that she will continue to produce more writing particularly with reference to opening the minds and hearts of fellow Australians.
I hardly need to say I recommend this highly for any reader from teen upwards – an important and deadly addition to any reading list.
Maybe it’s because spring is here (my favourite season) or maybe it is just the stars aligning but I have been so blessed to be sent so many absolutely delightful books to review lately. This is just gorgeous and I love it.
Young Freja is not your average child. She’s not used to people or social situations or even making conversation. It’s not because she’s an only child. It’s because for all of her ten years she has spent nine months of each year with her zoologist mother Clementine in the wildness of Arctic regions as Clem studies the wildlife. Freja revels in these annual expeditions and the beautiful discoveries her mother shares with her. It is only for three months of each year that she is forced to try to adapt to ‘civilisation’. Each Christmas period the pair returns to England where Clem lectures, raises funds and prepares for the next trip and Freja is endured by a parade of babysitters all of whom find her odd and ‘difficult’.
This year things are different. Clem tells Freja that she is ill and she must go to Switzerland alone for her treatment. There will be no trip until she is well. Freja is devastated – not just because of the trip but the trauma of being separated from her mother, not to mention the horror of ‘babysitters’. Enter Tobias Appleby and Finnegan his large hairy dog. Clem explains to Freja that Tobias is an old and dear friend and he will take great care of her. And so he does, in a completely bewildering and eccentric way to which Freja immediately responds. Their bond develops quickly though not without hiccups.
Yes, we can make assumptions here however nothing will be revealed so early in this new series.
Of course, the most exciting thing is when Freja (in one of her confused and shy moments) expresses a desire to see Rome and of course! For Tobias that’s simple as can be and soon the three of them (Finnegan as well) are acclimatising to the Roman way of life. For Freja it is a revelation. She discovers hitherto unknown social graces in herself and finds friends – friends!
This is a wonderful story about family, friendship and identity and I look forward to the next in the series with anticipation.
Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.