So Far For Now
by Fiona Kidman
Fiona Kidman has written some amazing novels and The Book Of Secrets and The Captive Wife are two of my favourites. I haven’t read any of her non-fiction before and was interested to see how it would compare as she tackled journeys, widowhood and stories that are never over. Of course, it can’t and doesn’t. For me, this book went in fits and starts. I was immediately hooked in at the start. Kidman’s telling of the passing of her husband was raw and moving. I was fascinated by her childhood in Waipu which, of course, was the setting for The Book Of Secrets but then as the book continued, I wasn’t rushing to read more. I nearly decided not to continue but Kidman pulled me back in again with her research on Jean Batten and I found her stories about being massaged just delightful. She has been heavily involved with the campaign to retrieve the bodies of the Pike River miners and that too, made for fascinating reading. I’m glad I persevered and, overall, found this to be a warm and honest book that was a rewarding read.
The Echo Chamber
by John Boyne
his darkly funny book perfectly captures the cancel culture and politically correct 2020s zeitgeist. The story follows the fall from grace of the Cleverley family who live a privileged London lifestyle. George has had a longstanding and popular interview show with the BBC, his wife Beverley is a successful novelist and their three children are all still living at home, sponging off their parents while they think about their next move. The downward spiral starts when George makes an ill-advised tweet after finding out his lawyer’s receptionist has transitioned from Aidan to Nadia. Beverley starts to find out more than she would like about her Strictly Come Dancing partner and the children are getting into some serious mischief of their own. In this novel, Boyne shows just how shallow and negative social media is and how society is pandering to the whims of keyboard warriors who have nothing better to do than spread misinformation and create division and mayhem at will. It is a funny and easy read, but with an uncomfortable thread of reality.