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Three books we’ve read and loved recently

Three books we’ve read and loved recently

A Room Called Earth
 by Madeleine Ryan
'I decided to wear a kimono and high heels to the party because I wanted people to see me in a kimono and high heels at the party.’ So begins the frank and beautiful debut novel from neurodivergent author Madeleine Ryan.

A young woman gets ready to go to a party. Her preparations are punctuated by her thoughts on everything from astrology, romance, femininity, veganism, self-awareness, nature, creation and -over the course of the novel- these ideas build to a crescendo that is moving and sincere. This is a refreshing reading experience that will leave you feeling alive – and possibly full of wonder.

The Performance
 by Claire Thomas
The premise of this novel is excellent: three reasonably ordinary women, each 20 years apart, watch a performance of a Becket play (the one about the dying planet) in a Melbourne theatre as bushfires rage outside the city. As the play progresses, the reader learns more about each woman - her fears, desires, history, inner turmoil - by how she responds to the play, what resonates with her, what triggers her. It's a clever setup with just the right amount of meta in its structure that you're still entirely invested in the characters' lives. An immersive read about connection and art, our only complaint is that the play/novel ended too soon!

Detransition, Baby
 by Torrey Peters
"Yes, go ask this other woman, Katrina, to split her unborn child with a transsexual. I fully expect that she will murder you for the suggestion, for which I will take a portion of the credit without having to risk jail. If you are still alive in a week, we’ll take it from there."

Recently longlisted for The Women's Prize for Fiction, and the first book by a trans woman to have been, Detransition Baby is a delightfully engrossing and intelligent debut that challenges preconceptions of motherhood, fatherhood, femininity, family, gender, sex, relationships and misogyny. Set in New York, the book is centred around three women - transgender and cisgender - whose lives collide after an unexpected pregnancy. What ensues was described by The Guardian as "witty, elegant and rigorously plotted". We absolutely loved it!

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