Sunday, July 19, 2009

The bookshop on Jacaranda Street by Marlish Glorie

Meet the Budd-Doyles: a suburban family in shambles, and about to unravel further as Helen Budd-Doyle in one fell swoop destroys her bed, abandons the family home, and buys a second-hand bookshop from a man in a pub - leaving her bewildered junk-collecting husband Arnold to sort out his life. But he can't. Enter Gabriel, one of their sons, wreaking havoc as he pushes his father to sell off the accrued junk of a lifetime. Add a little sibling rivalry with his brother Vivian fresh home and licking his wounds from a life in the far north ... and watch the fireworks on Jacaranda Street. [from the publisher]

This is a gem of a book from an Australian writer who has previously written for the theatre. It explores that most common theme, the dysfunctional family. I can't say it any better than Tolstoy: "All happy families are alike but an unhappy family is unhappy after its own fashion." Without giving away the plot, I'll just say that the reason for the Budd-Doyle family's dysfunction is one that allows us to sympathise with them all. It is funny and moving with characterisation that reminded me of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet. Perhaps the ending was a little too tidy to be realistic, but it was a satisfying read and one that had me pondering the 'what-ifs' for days after. I'll be looking out for more by Marlish Glorie.
Rating - I give this 4/5 GREAT!!
Get this from the library
Reviewed by Julie @ Wendouree library

1 comment:

mazzie52 said...

I feel fortunate to have come by this novel and look forward to anything the author has to write. It's a story of family life in all it's oddities, yet normalities.Beautifully wrtten,easily read and the messages taken to heart.