Daily Archives: October 23, 2016

The Extraordinary Adventure of Clancy MacTaggart by Brett Hallam

clancy-mctaggartGoing to work with mum or dad when you are a preteen is usually restricted to those occasions when school is closed or supervision is not available and staying home alone is not an option. But when Clancy’s dad Mac unexpectedly suggests that he join him at work instead of going to school Clancy can hardly believe his luck. Little does he suspect when he climbs into the family car beside his dad that this red desert road in South Australia will take Clancy towards the ride of his life!

Mac wants Clancy to witness history in the making, however the chain of unforeseen events which will ricochet into Woomera are about to unravel Mac’s carefully ordered world on a cosmic scale. Clancy is thrust into the hot seat to valiantly attempt to save the day, and perhaps humanity. But can he save himself? Clancy discovers that he is cool beyond his years, surprisingly calm in the face of danger, and accepts challenges beyond anything he has ever experienced in the school playground.

Readers will happily suspend disbelief to join Clancy on a Boys’ Own adventure that is sure to excite the imagination of any teen/young reading enthusiast. The twists and turns of the fast paced plot take the reader along on a rollicking adventure, sharing the highs and lows of this extraordinary journey with likeable characters and intriguing scenarios.

In the vein of John Marsden and Matthew Riley, Hallam has conjured a captivating tale about an excellent adventure which grips the imagination and catapults the reader into Clancy’s extraordinary adventure.

Reviewed by Christine McGuigan May 2016

Kensington Review

Available from Sid Harta Publishers http://sidharta.com/title/The_Extraordinary_Adventure_of_Clancy_McTaggart

Advertisements

All that I am by Anna Funder

Books-All-that-I-am“All we are not stares back at all that we are”.

This is the lament of the acclaimed English poet W.A.Auden, making a cameo appearance in the 2012 Miles Franklin Award winner, “All that I Am” by Anna Funder. Reaching beyond the era of her enthusiastically received first publication “Stasiland”, Funder brings into sharp focus elusive stories of courage shown by those who attempted to resist the relentless pursuit of power by Hitler and his supporters.

Anna Funder skilfully recreates the world of writers and political activists in Germany between the wars, incongruously juxtaposed with Bondi Junction in the present. “All that I Am”, cannot be placed firmly in a single genre. This absorbing novel is part thriller, part romance, and part historical recreation. Real people have inspired the author to open the blinds in a dim corner of the 20th century which is worthy of illumination and remembrance.

Central to the novel are five intertwined figures presented through the alternating narratives of playwright Ernst Toller in New York in 1939, and photographer Ruth Becker in Bondi Junction almost 70 years later. Both narrators ultimately face the naked truth behind bravery and betrayal, love and loss, courage and confusion in the face of an overwhelming power which shatters their security. “All that I Am” reminds us that we all have the capacity for self deception; for not seeing what stares back at us in the mirror, for ignoring the inconvenient truths around us. Chilling parallels exist between Toller’s vicarious ‘voyage of the damned’, when refugees from Nazi Germany aboard the SS St Louis in 1939 were turned back from ports in Cuba, America and Canada, and the turbulent voyages that continue to feature in the news today.

The characters’ performances in the novel are not choreographed by Toller and Ruth – or Funder. These individuals are not fictional creations but authentic historical figures and their actions as presented may be verified with a few mouse clicks. Auden, Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and Thomas Mann are names readily recognised by the reader, and while others may be unfamiliar, Funder breathes life back into their existence as the plot unfolds towards its finale – set not in Auschwitz but in the safe haven of bustling Bondi Junction. The source of much of the novel’s content is the real Ruth, with the characters enlivened and conversations reconstructed through Funder’s intelligent instinct, mastery of language and skill in presenting the theatre of life.

The judges of the Miles Franklin award have recognised the timeless value of this novel, a Pandora’s box presenting the woes of the world as well as hope emerging from a forgotten archive to be dusted off and re-examined in the blinding sunshine of Bondi Beach. It is a reminder of “all that we are individually, collectively and globally…..”

Reviewed by Christine McGuigan

Kensington Review