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17 January 2019 @ 07:59 pm
Book Bingo #1  
My first bingo square, for a book set in your state / country or by a local author. This one fits both.

Book Bingo 2019 1

A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey.

This is a story about not getting what you want, and learning to live with the consequences; of metamorphosis and adapting to the change in yourself and your circumstances.

It starts out lightly. Irene and Titch Bobs have moved to the (then) sleepy town of Bacchus Marsh, in an attempt to escape the shadow of Titch's famous, domineering father. Irene is determined that Titch will be his own man and this leads eventually to their entry in the Redex trial, a famous car rally that circumnavigated Australia. The author has drawn from history, here, and the rallies were actual events, and a lot of the characters he describes really were competitors. This added to the book, for me; in fact I ended up googling Irene Bobs just to see if she was real.

So off they set, with their neighbour Willie Bachhuber as navigator, a role that he turns out to be surprisingly good at. If you're at all interested in motor races and cars, as I am, this is one of the most enjoyable sections of the book. The author vividly brings to life the trials and dangers of the rally and the inhospitable country which they face. There's a bit of bush-mechanic-ing thrown in for good measure and added colour. The book doesn't shy away from the ugly side of Australia's history, either - in fact it becomes integral to the plot as the story progresses.

Broome is where events come to a head; the book to me stagnates a bit after then but soon picks up speed again as it follows these three on their individual paths.

The story is told via alternating viewpoints; one chapter Irene Bobs and the next Willie Bachhuber, up until the last few chapters where we lose Irene's voice. I felt Irene's story deserved a bit more time, as I don't think it was thoroughly resolved, but then it is Willie whose circumstances continued to change so I guess it's natural that the book should follow him to the end.

The other main characters are the inhabitants of an Aboriginal camp, and Australia itself - huge, desolate, sprawling, with a fringe of coastal green to keep the desert sand at bay. This is the country that Willie comes to know, rather more than he wants to!

I think this book especially spoke to me because I still remember the Australia that Carey writes about; the suburbs on the fringes of cities where the main street was tarred but everything running perpendicular were still hard-packed dirt; the highway no more than a goat track - oh and I can relate to their trip through the Snowy Mountains with no brakes! But even without that firsthand knowledge,it's still an amazing read. I was grabbed by the first sentence - For a girl to defeat one father is a challenge, but there were two standing between me and what I wanted, which was - not to fiddle-faddle - a lovely little fellow named Titch Bobs. And it kept me engrossed all the way.

Edited to add: not sure what went wrong but my LJ cut isn't working - retyped a couple of times and still the whole entry is showing. But I guess LJ is quiet enough now that I can get away with it.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
byslantedlight: Doyle Rack reading (ilywela13)byslantedlight on January 17th, 2019 10:48 am (UTC)
Well done on your first square! I remember liking Carey's Ned Kelly book, and thinking I'd have to read more of his.

My flist seems to have picked up lately with alot of reading posts, which is nice - though I always hope for Pros fandom posts too, so I've been trying to get back to being good about using lj-cuts. I always wish people would leave some pictures outside cuts though, which cheers up my flist no end. *g* Annoying when the lj-cut isn't working though. Do you hand-code them in or use the buttons? I couldn't see any sign of code for it on an inspect-page look (my word the stuff that's part of posting to lj according to that! *g*)
miwahni: Pros Booksmiwahni on January 17th, 2019 10:51 am (UTC)
I hand-code, and the sentence starting "This is the story..." was the original cut text but all that happened was that it didn't display that sentence, so I tried again, after checking and re-checking the code... then gave up and removed the code completely.
Fiorenza_afiorenza_a on January 17th, 2019 11:42 am (UTC)

Lj does that sometimes, I used to find (in the old edit system for posting) that sometimes if you put it in yourself under the HTML page and then didn't review it in the other page, it would work. But not always.

I read your post in my messages anyway, so the cut was irrelevant in my case :0)

Like you say, I think you can get away with it.

I usually avoid any book with a lone woman on the front like the plague - but as this doesn't appear to have that, I might have been tempted!

It sounds like quite a good read. I don't read fiction much any more, I just don't seem to have the concentration or the time. I'm even struggling to read fic now - although happily I have managed to read a few lately.

I admire anyone attempting any of the book challenges because they're way out of my league.
miwahni: Pros Booksmiwahni on January 17th, 2019 11:57 am (UTC)
I'm glad the absence of a cut didn't bother you :-).

I think if there had been a lone woman on the cover of the book I'd have never picked it up, but there was a car - and that's always going to catch my attention. On the copy that I bought, the car had Redex trial stickers on it so that really piqued my interest.

I really don't think I'll finish all of the squares on the bingo card this year but will give it a red hot go. I know what you mean about not having the time,though - if it wasn't for my one hour in each direction daily commute I don't know when I'd get to read a book at all.
Should probably spend less time here.... ;-)
Fiorenza_afiorenza_a on January 17th, 2019 12:17 pm (UTC)

I work partly from home at the mo and my work IT is playing up, so I have a few minutes to play - but the last two days I couldn't find time to go to the loo (no accidents just very crossed legs!).

It doesn't help that I am stuck with low energy levels anyway (gift of my depression which no one seems able to fix) - being flat out all day just leaves zero time for me.

So I spend a lot of time looking at the pretty pictures!

And reading about other people's book adventures :0)