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Three books we've read recently and what we thought of them

Three books we've read recently and what we thought of them

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The Great Undoing by Sharlene Allsopp

When the digital platform storing the world’s identity information is hijacked and shut down, the world descends into chaos. Scarlet Friday, whose job is to correct historical records, is stranded on the wrong side of the globe. Befriended by a stranger, she grabs an old, faded history book and writes her own version over the top – a record of the Great Undoing on the run.

While beloved Australian dystopian novels typically point the finger of blame at larger global powers, Allsopp dares to suggest that Australia’s technological prowess and penchant for rewriting history puts the nation in a unique position to be the catalyst for a dystopian future. 

Interweaving stories from the distant and more recent past with Scarlet’s present, the novel plays with perspective and urges readers to think differently about all the things they believe to be true. 

“What if, instead of allowing one voice to tell history, we listened to everyone’s version of history? What if we said that meaningful truth is delivered by a ‘the more the merrier’ approach, and does one history really take away from the other history? I think a discerning person can read coloniser history and let it speak for itself as to its veracity, but only if we also have all the other truths alongside. The monologue is the problem,” Allsopp says in an interview with the Wheeler Centre.

The Great Undoing is one of those novels that has managed to shift the way we think about history and the days yet to come, forever. 

Piglet by Lottie Hazell 

With a childhood nickname adopted right across her life, Piglet has worked hard to build a life that others admire. A promotion, a dream house and just 13 days until her wedding, everything is falling into place. But when her fiance, Kit, shares an awful secret with her, the pieces of Piglet’s life she has so carefully arranged begin to unravel. 

The wedding countdown fills this debut with page-turning tension, leaving you wondering how things could possibly get worse. Piglet is filled with unlikeable characters, grey areas and open-ended questions, making it perfect for your next book club read. 

We always suggest looking up content warnings for books, but take particular care in reading this one if discussion around food and disordered eating is something you would prefer to avoid. 

Greta & Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly 

Siblings in the Vladisavljevic family, Greta and Valdin are navigating life, work, love and everything in between – all while being flatmates, completely in each other’s space. We follow each of them through a dual perspective story as they get to the bottom of their own feelings, explore their queer and multi-racial identities, and uncover what they really want out of life. 

This is one for those who love a family-driven story – you’ll be left wishing you were a part of the  Vladisavljevic family. The Maori-Russian-Catalonian brood is passionate, loud and heavily involved in one another’s lives. Ready for an argument at any moment, they forgive quickly and drop everything to help when they need to. 

Already a big hit across the ditch, Greta & Valdin is now making an impression across the world, and Rebecca K Reilly manages to fill her debut with equal parts humour and tender moments as she introduces you to a loveable cast of characters.



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