Thoughtfully, Caroline Overington releases her annual novel on my birthday. I’ve always found this to be a delightful case of serendipity because it means I can spend the October long weekend immersed in some of the best fiction I have ever read.
I start a lot of books. A lot. Do you?
The part I struggle with is those first few chapters of a book where – even if you are enjoying it – you need to invest time in getting to know the characters and slipping comfortably into the author’s writing style.
Often, I never get past those first few chapters. My bedside table is like a graveyard for books I’m yet to finish.
And then there are Caroline’s books.
When a new one arrives (this is her third, there’s also the gripping Ghost Child and the magnificent I Came To Say Goodbye) I often will pick it up and quickly flick to the first page to see what it’s like. And then within the first sentence I literally have to put my life on hold and surrender to the extraordinary way she has of transporting you into the minds and lives of her characters.
I read Caroline’s books standing up. I take them to the bathroom with me – that’s how engrossed I become.
Like her last book, Matilda Is Missing is narrated by an older man. How a young woman like Caroline can so perfectly channel the speech of an elderly man is a mystery to me but by God she does. It’s a beautiful, emotional, illuminating read. It tells the story of a relationship breakdown – actually a few of them – from the points of view of the heart-broken, angry and bewildered characters who are so real as to spark off the page. It’s a contemporary tale of the family court but told with such insight that comes from her career as a journalist covering some of the most difficult cases you can imagine.
It’s one of those books you can’t stop thinking about and don’t want to end.
Below we have the top 20 bestselling books of the moment from Booktopia.
What are you reading right now and what was the last book you finished?