The Hobart

The Tassie Book Club – July 2024

by Hobart Magazine
The Tassie Book Club – July 2024

The Woman Booker Prize Club is a local Hobart book club. Here they share their thoughts on books by Tasmanian authors, set in Tasmania, or about Tassie topics. Over to the club!

This month we dive into two beautiful stories about women, grief, and what happens after loss. Don’t be put off by the morose themes, these wonderful books are well worth adding to your reading lists and will make for perfect winter company.


Heartsease by Kate Kruimink (Picador Australia, May 2024)

Review by Kathryn Montgomery

Kate Kruimink has written my favourite sort of read: heartbreakingly sad, with witty one liners and a sharp focus on exploring moments in time between the characters. It’s about love, memory and grief and their ability to impact our perceptions. 

The story centres on two sisters, Charlotte and Ellen, who meet at a silent retreat in the Tasmanian countryside. Ellen’s storyline is told through a first person perspective leading up to a major event and an untimely death, while Charlotte’s is told through third person after the event. It is an incredible way to experience the story; suspense builds up in Ellen’s view, interspersed with the slow stumble unfolding afterwards in Charlotte’s. 

It also explores the complicated grief the sisters hold after the death of their mother 18 years prior. While they have an acutely close relationship, the story hones in on the divide created between the sisters and the ways they have grieved. It unpacks the divergent paths they have taken after a huge loss and their realisation of the gaps between them. I found it wonderfully drew out reflections in me, which I thoroughly enjoy when reading. 

Heartease is beautifully crafted, tender and thought-provoking. With rave reviews from other equally talented Tasmanian authors, do not miss reading this book!


 

The Conversion  by Amanda Lohrey  (Text publishing, Oct 2023)

Review by Emily Schade

What do the buildings we live in say about us? And as religion becomes a less prominent thread of our social tapestry, what fills those vacant ceremonial and spiritual spaces? Big questions indeed, that Amanda Lohrey seeks to answer in her latest novel, The Conversion

We meet Zoe and her husband as they inspect a deconsecrated church in a small town, interested in the possibility of converting it into their home. Zoe isn’t convinced they’ll be able to escape the building’s “churchiness” and lacks her husband’s passion for the project. But when he dies unexpectedly, leaving Zoe with complicated grief, she buys the building and picks up the project as a legacy. 

More than a book about a renovation, The Conversion is a discussion about how architecture can shape the lives we lead and how we see ourselves through our homes. If you’ve read Amanda’s award winning novel The Labyrinth, you’ll find similar themes and ideas here. This is a story that’s as easy to read as it is thought-provoking and would be an excellent book club read. Amanda is a treasure and I recommend adding this to your reading list. 

Book Chatter or reader recommendations 
The biennial Tamar Valley Writers Festival is coming up, running from 11-14 October. ‘For the readers, the writers, the thinkers’, this year’s theme is Light in the Dark. A very exciting lineup includes headliner Markus Zusak (The Messenger, The Book Thief, Bridge of Clay), Benjamin Stevenson (Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone), A.G. Slatter (All the Murmuring Bones), Kylie Moore-Gilbert (The Uncaged Sky), Minnie Darke (Star-crossed, With Love from Wish & Co) and more to be announced. Make sure to jump on the festival’s website (tamarvalleywritersfestival.com.au) and sign up to the newsletter to be first in line for further program announcements and early bird tickets. 

Keen to chat books with us?
Find us on Instagram @thewomanbookerprizeclub or email thewbpc@gmail.com

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July 2024

Stay up to date with everything happening at the Hobart Magazine.

Thank you to Luke Brokensha for mobilising his friends and local residents recently to host two rubbish clean ups along the Hobart Rivulet after heavy rains.
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Just when you think your cousins are alright. NZ Opposition Leader Judith Collins took aim at Tassie during her recent (unsuccessful) campaign, calling us Australia’s “poor cousin.” She also seems worried about us nabbing tech businesses, “It’s a lovely part of the world but do you necessarily want to go there with your high- tech business? Possibly not,” she said. We beg to differ!