Three books we’ve read and loved recently 📚

How to End a Story: Diaries: 1995–1998 by Helen Garner

Helen Garner’s third volume of diaries is an account of a woman fighting to hold on to a marriage that is disintegrating around her.

Living with a powerfully ambitious writer who is consumed by his work, and trying to find a place for her own spirit to thrive, she rails against the confines. At the same time she is desperate to find the truth in their relationship—and the truth of her own self.

This is a harrowing story, a portrait of the messy, painful, dark side of love lost, of betrayal and sadness and the sheer force of a woman’s anger. But it is also a story of resilience and strength, strewn with sharp insight, moments of joy and hope, the immutable ties of motherhood and the regenerative power of a room of one’s own.

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King

Told in the intimate voices of unique and endearing characters of all ages, these tales explore desire and heartache, loss and discovery, moments of jolting violence and the inexorable tug toward love at all costs. A bookseller's unspoken love for his employee rises to the surface, a neglected teenage boy finds much-needed nurturing from an unlikely pair of college students hired to housesit, a girl's loss of innocence at the hands of her employer's son becomes a catalyst for strength and confidence, and a proud nonagenarian rages helplessly in his granddaughter's hospital room. Romantic, hopeful, brutally raw, and unsparingly honest, some even slipping into the surreal, these stories are, above all, about King's enduring subject of love.

Lily King's literary mastery, her spare and stunning prose, and her gift for creating lasting and treasured characters is on full display in this curated selection of short fiction. Five Tuesdays in Winter showcases an exhilarating new form for this extraordinarily gifted author writing at the height of her career.

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

During a night of power outages, arson and gunfire, the diverse neighbourhood of 1st Street, Charlottesville comes under attack by a white supremacist mob. Fleeing for their lives in an abandoned bus, a group of family, friends and strangers find themselves in the hills above town, where they occupy and take refuge in Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's old plantation house.

Led by Da'Naisha, a young black descendant of Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, the group find ways to care for and sustain one another while Charlottesville burns below them. Their story unfolds over nineteen heart-stopping days, as Da'Naisha's beloved grandmother sickens, her own secret pregnancy preoccupies her, and the occupants of the house come together to try to prepare for their eventual fate. They only want the house, Naisha says, They cannot see us, how beautiful we are...

Told in the captivating voice of a young woman who sees with clarity, courage and extraordinary dignity, My Monticello interrogates the systemic violence of America past and present, while also offering a powerful vision of collectivism, resistance and hope.


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