Remembrance Day

 Today is Remembrance Day,   November 11 . We are to remember all those who died in war, all those injured, all those who survived. Yet sometimes it seems more like a celebration, a parade. Yes, it’s good that it’s over, but was the war really necessary? Where are the regrets for the war? Wouldn’t it be better to try harder to prevent war? Of course that is no easy task. But war  must always be the last choice. “And if I could, I would send you a bone. Not to call you to war, but away from it. Something you cannot avoid seeing, touching. Something to make the blood on our hands visible, unmistakable. A limb, a shoulder, a hunk of flesh dripping real blood, from the rubble beneath the bulldozer, the doorstep, from the child shot dead in the gunfight or buried under the house, from the bomb shelters of Baghdad and from the bloody busses of Tel Aviv. A bone red with blood to say: This is what colonization requires: blood soaked sand, holy earth defiled with death, human sacrifice.” — STARHAWK Below are two poems from Wilfred Owen, an English soldier, sent off to die in… Continue reading

Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

This is not an easy book to understand or to review. It does not fit into any known genre, there is no mystery in the normal sense; while there are murders, we know who committed them. Is it a love story? Not at all, but the book blurb thinks so. It is an historical novel, but more of a surrealistic history of a penal settlement, overlaid with humour and irony. The story is told by a felon, Billy Gould who portrays himself as nothing more than a lying rascal, yet he reveals himself in his own words to be educated and moral. If you have read James Joyce’s Ulysses, then you might have something to compare this novel with, but few people have actually read Ulysses, (apart from the final section) so there is not much help there. But if you have, then there are definite similarities in the word play, the metaphors, the allusions, the irony. Gould’s Book of Fish — should you read it — will probably be the most bizarre book you will read in the next 10 years. Is it worthwhile you ask. Yes, it is worth the effort, because it is an interesting, unusual, poetic,… Continue reading

My Quarter-life Crisis

 Perhaps it is time I presented my loyal blog readers with a humorous short story. Okay, even if you are not loyal, I’d like to give you a smile. I hope this works.                                     MY QUARTER LIFE CRISIS My life has been a bit of a mess so far. But a girl always has her parents to fall back on: rock steady, reliable. Three times after breakups with partners I have returned home to their comfort and stability. I can’t tell you how many bad boyfriends I’ve had. Drunks, cheats, clowns, you name it, I’ve had them all. So at the age of 27, when I discovered Raymond I decided that it had been worth the wait. At first my girlfriends were not jealous; they said he must be gay. He was just too considerate, too sophisticated, too well-dressed, too generous. We went out three times — and he didn’t try to take me to bed. I began to wonder if Priscilla might be right. Was he gay? I know I was over-anxious, I guess I should have waited for him to make… Continue reading

Inside Mystic Lodge by Marcus Clark

Book, Inside Mystic Lodge

  “When I was twelve years old, I almost killed my sister. I sometimes thought it might have been better if I had, instead I turned her into a paraplegic. We were down at the creek, jumping in and out of the water. I told her I would race her to the other side of the creek from the big tree. I pretended to do a running dive, but stopped at the last second; she didn’t. Cheryl dived into the shallow water, the sound of my laughter in her ears, and came up a paraplegic.” Kent Alpine has a debt to repay to his sister. His life’s mission is to find a way to help her walk again. At first he studies medicine, but realising he is not as gifted as other students, he turns to the thing he excels in: psychic healing. He joins a mysterious group working to improve the health of children who have terminal illnesses. In the meantime, his fiancee runs off with a more worldly acquaintance. At Mystic Lodge, he meets interesting people, a self-proclaimed witch, and the leader of the psychic healers, Forrest Atman. But just as they are apparently getting positive results healing… Continue reading