Girl in a Pink Dress Kylie Needham
It’s impossible to hold this beautiful little hardback without coveting the book itself - and its sensory allure is just as strong on the pages within. It’s a love story - initially a coming-of-age and then a coming-of-middle-age; revealing the maturity and positioning of a woman on the other side of the affair, finding her place in the world as a woman and as an artist.
Nineteen-year-old Frances meets the charismatic, talented (and quite famous) painter Clem at art school, where she is a student and he is a visiting tutor. Desire, attraction and illicit romance follow as well as the burgeoning of Frances’s own painting style, and her unwillingness to be made a muse.
Kylie Needham is an award-winning screenwriter with what can only be described as first-hand knowledge of the Australian art scene (her husband is the brilliant artist Ben Quilty). We relished the deft realism and gorgeous local details from the affluent art collectors of Sydney to the weekend artisans of rural New South Wales, as well as a memorable dinner party scene with established Aussie artists sharing their thoughts on a woman’s career. Such a treat. — Cassie Stroud
Greek Lessons by Han Kang
Readers who loved Han Kang's sensual, distressing and profound The Vegetarian will, again, marvel at the author's artistry in Greek Lessons (translated by the lauded Deborah Smith). And it's the artistry you come to these slender but dense novels for. The plot is secondary to the delicate prose, the poetic metaphors, the evocative syntax. Exploring human intimacy, connection and deprivation, the novel is about a young woman who won't speak and her Greek language teacher who finds himself drawn to the silent woman, for day by day he is losing his sight. Slowly the two discover a profound sense of unity—their voices intersecting with startling beauty, as they move from darkness to light, from silence to breath and expression. — Laura Brading
Romantic Comedy by Curtis Sittenfeld
Like everyone else on the internet, I recently devoured Curtis Sittenfeld's latest novel Romantic Comedy. Following a comedy writer (think Saturday Night Live status) who thinks she’s sworn off love until a dreamily handsome popstar flips the script on all her assumptions, the novel gives the reader everything they could possibly wish for in a smart-rom: perfect page-turning pace; wisdom disguised in witty banter; serious interrogations on love, crushes and vulnerability; chemistry (so much chemistry!); and a good dose of feminist subversion to keep things on brand. Fun, flirty and wise, I cannot wait for the inevitable film adaptation. — Laura Brading