Books on Evenings with Robbie Buck – September 20

Here are the books I discussed with Robbie Buck on 702 Sydney on Tuesday September 20:

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt

This has just been shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. It is a Western set in the California goldfields in 1850. Eli and Charlie Sisters are guns for hire who are on the trail of a man who has stolen from their boss. The book is not about what they will do when they catch up to the man they’ve been sent to hunt down but their journey along the way. They encounter many quirky characters and the dynamics of the two brothers is always at the fore. A brilliant book full of Coen Brothers-esque humour. Read my full review here

The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman

This is an amazing book that packs so much into it you are left in awe about how Elliot Perlman manages to do it. Primarily this is a novel about The Holocaust but it is so much more than that. At its core it is about history. What is history? How do we record it? How do we pass it on? And the need and importance of remembering. Perlman manages to combine the horrors of what happened during The Holocaust with the civil rights movement in America during the 50s and 60s in such a profound way that you find yourself totally absorbed, outraged and horrified. Read my full review here

What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes

My favourite book last year was MATTERHORN by the same author, which was a novel about Marines in the Vietnam War. His new book is non-fiction but it is not a biography. The author looks at how nations from the Ancient Greeks through to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan prepare their young men to go to war but never prepare them to come home. He uses his personal experience as examples but this book is more a philosophical and spiritual look and what war means in our culture. Read my full review here

The Cut by George Pelecanos

George Pelecanos is one of my favourite writers. He is the reason I got into crime novels. He was also one of the head writers for THE WIRE. His new book introduces a new character, Spero Lucas, an ex-Marine who served in Iraq. He now wants to build a life for himself. He does work for a defence attorney tracking down missing goods and gathering information for or about clients. When he is asked to find some missing packages for a drug dealer he is under no illusions about what’s really gone missing. He doesn’t care, he just wants his cut. He soon discovers he has gotten himself in the middle of a viscous turf war and must make sure he doesn’t drag his friends or family in as well. Read my full review here

Sarah Thornhill by Kate Grenville

This is the sequel to the bestselling and award winning novel THE SECRET RIVER. Sarah Thornhill is the daughter of the William Thornhill and narrates the book. You can almost hear Sarah’s voice coming off the page. The time, place, harshness and beauty of colonial New South Wales is again evocatively captured. The heart of the story is a romance between Sarah and Jack Langland. We follow Sarah as her love for Jack blossoms but the Thornhills have built their life on a dark secret that not even Sarah knows and this secret will tear everything apart. Read my full review here


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