Current Book Club Titles 

March 2019

chloe

The Arsonist

Author: Chloe Hooper

Avenue Elsternwick Book Club members click here to rsvp for this month's meeting

MEETING TIMES:

Wednesday 20th March 2019, 7pm FULLY BOOKED

Thursday 21st March 2019, 7pm FULLY BOOKED

Click here for reading notes or more information on this book

NOTES: The Arsonist takes readers inside the hunt for a fire-lighter. After Black Saturday, a February 2009 day marked by 47 degree heat and firestorms, arson squad detectives arrived at a plantation on the edge of a 26,000-hectare burn site. Eleven people had just been killed and hundreds made homeless. Here, in the Latrobe Valley, where Victoria's electricity is generated, and the rates of unemployment, crime and domestic abuse are the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn't know. 

The Arsonist tells a remarkable detective story, as the police close in on someone they believe to be a cunning offender; and a puzzling pyschological story, as defence lawyers seek to understand the motives of a man who, they claimed, was a na'f that had accidentally dropeed a cigarette.

It is the story not only of this fire - how it happened, the people who died, the aftermath for the community - but of fire in this country. What it has done, what it has meant, what it might yet do. Bushfire is one of Australia's deepest anxieties, never more so than when deliberately lit. Arson, wrote Henry Lawson, expresses a malice 'terrifying to those who have seen what it is capable of. You never know when you are safe'.

As she did in The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored, and reveals something buried but essential in our national psyche. The bush, summertime, a smouldering cigarette - none of these will feel the same again.

 


 

April 2019

chloe

Katalin Street

Author: Magda Szabo

Avenue Richmond Book Club members click here to rsvp for this month's meeting

MEETING TIMES:

Wednesday 17th April 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END MARCH

Thursday 18th April 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END MARCH

Click here for reading notes or more information on this book

NOTES: In prewar Budapest three families live side by side on gracious Katalin Street, their lives closely intertwined. A game is played by the four children in which Bálint, the promising son of the Major, invariably chooses Irén Elekes, the headmaster's dutiful elder daughter, over her younger sister, the scatterbrained Blanka, and little Henriette Held, the daughter of the Jewish dentist.

Their lives are torn apart in 1944 by the German occupation, which only the Elekes family survives intact. The postwar regime relocates them to a cramped Soviet-style apartment and they struggle to come to terms with social and political change, personal loss, and unstated feelings of guilt over the deportation of the Held parents and the death of little Henriette, who had been left in their protection. But the girl survives in a miasmal afterlife, and reappears at key moments as a mute witness to the inescapable power of past events.

As in The Door and Iza's Ballad, Magda Szabó conducts a clear-eyed investigation into the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love. Katalin Street, which won the 2007 Prix Cévennes for Best European novel, is a poignant, sombre, at times harrowing book, but beautifully conceived and truly unforgettable.

 


 

May 2019

chloe

Now We Shall Be Entirely Free

Author: Andrew Miller

Avenue Richmond Book Club members click here to rsvp for this month's meeting

MEETING TIMES:

Wednesday 15th May 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END APRIL

Thursday 16th May 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END APRIL

Click here for reading notes or more information on this book

NOTES: The rapturously acclaimed new novel by the Costa Award-winning author of Pure, hailed as 'excellent', 'gripping', 'as suspenseful as any thriller', 'engrossing', 'moving' and 'magnificent'.

One rainswept winter's night in 1809, an unconscious man is carried into a house in Somerset. He is Captain John Lacroix, home from Britain's disastrous campaign against Napoleon's forces in Spain.

Gradually Lacroix recovers his health, but not his peace of mind. He will not - cannot - talk about the war or face the memory of what took place on the retreat to Corunna. After the command comes to return to his regiment, he lights out instead for the Hebrides, unaware that he has far worse to fear than being dragged back to the army: a vicious English corporal and a Spanish officer with secret orders are on his trail.

In luminous prose, Miller portrays a man shattered by what he has witnessed, on a journey that leads to unexpected friendships, even to love. But as the short northern summer reaches its zenith, the shadow of the enemy is creeping closer. Freedom, for John Lacroix, will come at a high price. Taut with suspense, this is an enthralling, deeply involving novel by one of Britain's most acclaimed writers.

'His writing suspends life until it is read and is a source of wonder and delight' Hilary Mantel on Casanova in the Sunday Times

 

 

June 2019

lucashenko

Too Much Lip

Author: Melissa Lucashenko

Avenue Richmond Book Club members click here to rsvp for this month's meeting

MEETING TIMES:

Wednesday 19th June 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END MAY

Thursday 20th June 2019. 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END MAY

Click here for reading notes or more information on this book

NOTES: A dark and funny new novel from the multi-award-winning author of Mullumbimby.

Too much lip, her old problem from way back. And the older she got, the harder it seemed to get to swallow her opinions. The avalanche of bullshit in the world would drown her if she let it; the least she could do was raise her voice in anger.

Wise-cracking Kerry Salter has spent a lifetime avoiding two things - her hometown and prison. But now her Pop is dying and she's an inch away from the lockup, so she heads south on a stolen Harley.

Kerry plans to spend twenty-four hours, tops, over the border. She quickly discovers, though, that Bundjalung country has a funny way of grabbing on to people. Old family wounds open as the Salters fight to stop the development of their beloved river. And the unexpected arrival on the scene of a good-looking dugai fella intent on loving her up only adds more trouble - but then trouble is Kerry's middle name.

Gritty and darkly hilarious, Too Much Lip offers redemption and forgiveness where none seems possible.

 
 

 

July 2019

mcewan

Machines Like Me

Author: Ian McEwan

Avenue Richmond Book Club members click here to rsvp for this month's meeting

MEETING TIMES:

Wednesday 17th July 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END JUNE

Thursday 18th July 2019. 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END JUNE

Click here for reading notes or more information on this book

NOTES: The new novel from the master storyteller is his best in years. Brilliantly McEwan, richly entertaining, a moving love story and a mystery--yet for all its gripping plotline one of the most morally layered novels written for our times, as it carries us into a provocatively real alternative history and the profound challenges of Artificial Intelligence.

Set in 1980s London, the story revolves around Charlie: young and reckless, and in love with his upstairs neighbour, the enchanting Miranda whose hidden, murky past hangs between them. He has spent his inheritance on the acquisition of one of twenty-four highly developed new robotic humans--named Adam or Eve, each one beautiful, strong and clever--developed by Alan Turing after his success on the legendary WW2 Enigma codebreaking machine.

As London is consumed by the huge protests over England and Argentina's Falklands War and Margaret Thatcher's jingoistic ambitions, Charlie courts Miranda, and his Adam finds himself, inevitably, central to their affair.

Great novelist that he is, McEwan pulls us into the question of what it means to love, what makes us human in our fast-changing times, what might follow if a machine understands too well the human heart, and how precarious a construct is the world we live in and think we know..