I’m sitting down to write this on the morning our lockdown restrictions in Melbourne have considerably eased, such as an increased movement radius and many others. I was jubilant during the press conference yesterday; I punched the air when it was announced that hairdressers would reopen. But I’ve woken up tired this morning, as most of us have the whole year. My hopes are heavily seasoned with a dose of let’s-wait-and-see expectation; the held breath of what’s-going-to-happen-next. This is why reading has been such a sanity-saving form of escapism!
I want to begin with the poetry collection Throat by Ellen van Neerven, which I actually read back in July during the second lockdown but before the BIG August lockdown (there are so many phases/stages to this year it’s hard to keep track), but I needed a period to reflect on it before being ready to write about it. And even now, I’m not. So I will point you in the direction of this excellent review in the Sydney Review of Books by Jeanine Leane instead. Suffice to say, van Neerven is one of my favourite poets. I wanted to include this video of Throat‘s launch, uploaded by the legends at Avid Reader Bookshop. It contains great discussion and the chance to hear van Neerven recite their work.
Finally, we come to Summerwater by Sarah Moss. I was only just saying last month about Ghost Wall, “…this one ended up being an emotional wallop”, and, well, therefore I really should’ve been prepared to buckle in for Moss’s latest novel. First, I could identify with the setting. A freezing cold caravan park getting absolutely pelted by rain and the elements. I’ve been in that situation at least twice! It’s not fun! Second, this summary from the Guardian speaks for itself: “The novel begins at dawn and ends in the dark, and from the first page you know something terrible is going to happen, but you don’t know on whose neck the axe will fall.” Moss is masterful at describing the mundanities of motherhood, and she is terrific at characterisation.
What are you reading this month?