Casual fate: Taking Shelter by Jessica Anderson

Published in 1989, by Penguin Jessica Anderson (1916-2010) won the Miles Franklin Literary Award twice, for Tirra Lirra by the River in 1978 and The Impersonators in 1980. Taking Shelter is one of her less lauded novels (they all sound quite different). I picked it up mainly because of one of the cover blurbs: 'A provocative … Continue reading Casual fate: Taking Shelter by Jessica Anderson

The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Picador, 2004 9780330483216 (paperback, ebook) I was going to refer to Nick, the protagonist of The Line of Beauty, as unambitious. But when I think about it, it’s just that his ambitions are not professional. They are romantic, aesthetic, and social. Another skill he has is taking in the pleasure of the moment, and even … Continue reading The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn's Geek Love

Vintage, 1989 9780375713347 (2002 edn) (Also Aus, US, UK) Miss Olympia is an emotional, hunchbacked albino dwarf, and the complex narrator of this wonderful novel. In the present, Oly secretly watches over the remaining members of her carnival-of-freaks family: her daughter, Miranda, and her mother, Crystal Lil. Why her observance and care is secretive is revealed through … Continue reading Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn's Geek Love