The Melbourne based writer Christos Tsiolkas has won one of Australia’s most prestigious literary awards in recognition of his work that spans more than a quarter of a century.
The $60,000 Melbourne prize for literature was announced earlier today and was awarded to Tsiolkas for his “outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life”, according to the prize’s judges.
Throughout his career Tsiolkas has written a number of bestselling novels, including Loaded, Barracuda, and The Slap. Many of these have also found themselves being adapted for the big and small screen.
His 2020 novel Damascus also won him last year’s Victorian premier’s prize for fiction.
The author thanked his family and publisher, Jane Palfreyman in a short speech, saying: “I feel like the luckiest fella tonight.”
The essayist and poet Eloise Grills won the $15,000 writer’s prize.
The public is also able to vote for a $3,000 civic choice award however the winner of that prize will not be announced until the 11th of November.
Let’s kick off with a warning before I start this review. Pat Luther’s Yellow Tape and Coffee is a big book, and I mean a really big book. The print version is 706 pages long, that’s not an easy undertaking for anybody, let alone the casual reader. I think that might put some people off and that’s a huge shame because this is a very good book.
Yellow Tape and Coffee follows a number of different but interwined stories, stories that bring to life four different people from various backgrounds all with their own agendas and ideals.
For four hundred years a secret society of werewolves has remained hidden in Portland, Oregon. Some people want nothing more than to reveal this society, while others will do anything to maintain the status quo. Intriguing right?
For the most part the book is chocked full of action and great character development. There are moments of dullness I have to say but that has to be expected in a book of such epic scale and vision.
The biggest difficulty for me in reading Yellow Tape and Coffee was getting over my initial prejudice about one of its main selling points, werewolves are just not my thing. I think they’re boring, tedious and over done.
I’m thankful to say though that I was wrong. Pat Luther has managed to breathe new life into this over-milked cow.
I have to give special mention to Luther’s writing talents. His work is filled to the brim with wonderful imagery and description while managing to remain concise and flowing. The novel is also well edited, for being 706 pages long there’s little to nothing I would be happy putting in the bin. Some of the dialogue felt a little over bloated sure but for the most I’d personally want nothing to change.
As for the multiple view points this is not really my cup of tea, I like a concise story where I can really get to know one character really well. At points I did dislike the jumping from one person to another but once I’d gotten used to it it was no problem at all. In fact I learnt to findthe mix of characters enthralling, each one was as vivid and intriguing as the last.
The female lead Veer needs special mention however, she is sharp, intelligent and a fierce investing reporter who is uniquely well written. A true example of female protagonist writing done well.
Overall Yellow Tape and Coffee is more than a solid debut, it’s a magnificent one and Pat Luther is certainly one to check out and keep an eye on. He has managed to balance suspense, humour, a little bit of terror and drama in a delightfully composed cocktail of literature.
I would love a sequel to this novel but whatever he writes next will certainly be on my list.
Remark shocked Chief of Staff John Kelly according to author MIchael Bender
During a visit to Europe to mark 100 years since the end of the first world war it is reported that Donald Trump turned to his then chief of staff, John Kelly and uttered the inexplicable words; “Well, Hitler did a lot of good things.”
This remark is said to have stunned Kelly, a retired US Marine Corps General, and is being reported in a new book by Michael Bender of the Wall Street Journal.
The book, “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” is being heavily advertised ahead of its publication next week.
According to Bender the then president Trump made the remark during a quick history lesson during which Kelly had to “[remind] the president which countries were on which side during the conflict” and had to “connect the dots from the first world war to the second world war and all of Hitler’s atrocities”.
Bender is one of a number of authors who has been able to interview Trump since he lost his second election to Joe Biden.
In a statement issued in response to this allegation a Trump spokesperson said: “This is totally false. President Trump never said this. It is made-up fake news, probably by a general who was incompetent and was fired.” This sounds a little familiar if truth be told.
Bender however claims that unnamed sources have reported that Kelly; “told the president that he was wrong, but Trump was undeterred”, apparently the president continued to emphasize the German economic recovery that occured under Hitler during the 1930s.
“Kelly pushed back again,” Bender writes, “and argued that the German people would have been better off poor than subjected to the Nazi genocide.”
Bender adds that Kelly had to tell Trump that even if that economic claim was true; “you cannot ever say anything supportive of Adolf Hitler. You just can’t.” I feel this is just common knowledge to most people.
This international trip saw Trump run into more trouble than normal. He controversially cancelled a trip to an American cemetery and is reported to have called US soldier who died in the war “suckers” and “losers”.
Kelly, who lost his own son in Afghanistan in 2010, left the White House team in 2019 and has spoken critically of the former president ever since, even calling him; “the most flawed person I have ever met in my life”.
Bender reports that Kelly tried his best to educate Trump and overcome his “stunning disregard for history”.
“Senior officials described his understanding of slavery, Jim Crow, or the Black experience in general post-civil war as vague to non-existent,” he writes. “But Trump’s indifference to Black history was similar to his disregard for the history of any race, religion or creed.”
During Trump’s presidency concern over the countries far right movement grew drastically. This concern continues as even in defeat Trump maintains a tight grip over the Republican party. He continues to make positive remarks about far-right and white-supremacist groups.
This masterpiece is more relevant today then ever before
When I first read George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (hence-forth referred to as 1984) I was in school, and it didn’t really hit me as anything brilliant. I found it a little dull and dreary, and the undertones didn’t mean much to me.
Now though Orwell’s dystopian vision of our future really hits home, and it scarily feels a little familiar. We live in a world where Big Brother exists and is always listening and watching, shout out to the NSA, MI6 and the CIA, also let’s not forget to say hi to your Alexa.
Orwell gave us a dark world of never ending wars, where xenophobia is the main weapon of the government, a world where refugees being shot at sea is used for movie inspirations and is cheered in cinemas across the nation. A world where the truth doesn’t truly exist, it is not “something objective, external, existing in its own right” — but instead it’s, “whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.”
Our books hero though see’s it all a little bit differently than he should. Early on Winston Smith promises to reject the party line and instead promises to defend “the obvious” and “the true”. As he tells himself “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four,” even though his party will insist that “two and two make five”.
Within this novel Orwell gives us a dark dystopia called Oceania, a place where the government controls everything, even its own reality. Propaganda is ever present within people lives, where ridiculous tabloids and sex-filled movies are made to control them and keep their interests away from politics and history.
Books and news articles are regularly and routinely rewritten so that the past becomes a blurry mess where the truth is hidden and twisted into the parties version of reality.
Unsurprisingly 1984 hits harder in this modern world of fake news and ‘post-truths’, a world where nationalism is on the rise and where ‘alternative facts’ are just as relevant to people than the objective truth.
This is a world not unlike Orwell’s hellish vision of 1984.
Perhaps we should all take after Winston a little more, take a look around ourselves and rebel a bit.
It is scary to see how easily our world could fall under the control of a twisted and cruel overlord, where the truth is not what we see but what we are told. A world where an ever present and omnipotent power can see and control our every waking thought and movement. A world where our very lives are in their hands.
That I think is the most frightening but power notion that Orwell presented to us in 1984. He gave a stark warning for the entirety of the human race, a warning to resist mass control and oppression, and not blindly allow it to take control.
Rating: 10 out of 10.
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The Manningtree Witches takes the £10,000 first novel award
The author AK Blakemore has won the Desmond Elliott prize for best debut for her historical novel about the English witch trials in the 17th century. The Manningtree Witches was praised heavily by judges who called it a “stunning achievement”.
The novel follows the character of Rebecca West, a husbandless and fatherless woman who is only just tolerated by the villagers of Manningtree. The story showcases the fallout of events after a pious newcomer called Matthew Hopkins begins to ask villagers about the women on the margins of their society.
This is Blakemore’s first novel, although she does also have two published poetry collections under her belt.
“My dad lives in Manningtree so it was an area I knew quite well. The process of the writing began when I was in a fallow period of writing poetry. I was messing around with prose, just to have something to write, and the story just really sort of jumped out at me,” Blakemore said.
“I didn’t really have the intention of writing and completing a novel, it started as play. But coming at it from poetry, I had a decent sense in writing of aesthetics and a cinematic, graphic way of composing scenes in my mind. And something about having a story from history that already had a beginning, middle and end, was quite liberating in that sense.”
The Manningtree Witches beat other shortlisted novels such as little scratch by Rebecca Watson and The Liar’s Dictionary by Eley Williams. Blakemore will take home the £10,000 prize.
A previous winner of the prize, Lisa McInerney, was one of this year’s judges and said that Blakemore’s tale “takes limited historical detail and, with what seems like effortless grace and imagination, crafts a breathing, complex world full of wrenchingly human characters, and tells us their stories in language that bears endless rereading, so clever and unexpected and pleasurable it is”.
The author herself said that she was “really, really thrilled” to win. “And honoured – the shortlist was just full of amazing books.”
The extract has been exclusively published by New York magazine.
The journalists first book on Trump, Fire and Fury, exploded onto bookshelves in January 2018 and created a new genre of scandalous political books. While his first book did very well however his sequel, Siege, did not meet expectations.
On January 6th this year, while Congress met to confirm Biden’s election win, Trump spoke to his supporters and told them: “We’re going to walk down [to the Capitol to protest] – and I’ll be there with you.”
According to the excerpt Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was approached by concerned secret service agents but said: “No. There’s no way we are going to the Capitol.”
Wolff writes that when the president was approached by Meadows he seemed unsure of what his chief of staff was talking about.
“You said you were going to march with them to the Capitol,” Meadows reportedly said. “How would we do that? We can’t organize that. We can’t.”
“I didn’t mean it literally,” Trump then replied.
The former president is also reported to have been puzzled when his supports began a riot that led to five people losing their lives.
Wolff also claims that Trump was confused and disappointed by: “who these people were with their low-rent ‘trailer camp’ bearing and their ‘get-ups’, once joking that he should have invested in a chain of tattoo parlors and shaking his head about ‘the great unwashed’.”
Trump and his close family would watch the attack unfold on TV at the White House.
According to Wolff the exchange between the president and his chief of staff shed’s light on how Trump abandoned his most fervent supporters.
As Wolff reports the White House quickly came to the realisation that Mike Pence had “concluded that he was not able to reject votes unilaterally or, in effect, to do anything else, beyond playing his ceremonial role, that the president might want him to do”.
Trump’s aid Jason Miller is then reported as saying, “oh shit” before turning to the president’s lawyer and election fraud cheerleader, Rudy Giuliani.
The writer reports that the former New York mayor was: “drinking heavily and in a constant state of excitation, often almost incoherent in his agitation and mania”.
As the attempted insurrection escalated Trump posted a tweet attacking his vice-president and continued to ignore the numerous aids who were pleading with him to ask his supporters to stand down.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter and advisor is reported to have seen the attack as nothing more than an optics issue. Wolff states that it took an hour for Trump to make the: “transition from seeing the mob as people protesting the election – defending him so he would defend them – to seeing them as ‘not our people’”.
Trump the reportedly asked Meadows: “How bad is this? This looks terrible. This is really bad. Who are these people? These aren’t our people, these idiots with these outfits. They look like Democrats.”
He then added: “We didn’t tell people to do something like this. We told people to be peaceful. I even said ‘peaceful’ and ‘patriotic’ in my speech!”
During the silent but terrifying Cold War William Golding produced his masterpiece, Lord of the Flies. Not only is it a gripping tale about a group of schoolboys forced to survive on a deserted island after a plane crash, it is also a brilliant allegorical tale about the conflicts between civilization and primal savagery.
This simple and easy to understand symbolism has made Lord of the Flies on of the most popular and beloved books in the world. It is a memorable and chilling tale with characters portrayed with nuance and subtlety.
The novel focuses on a series of events that occur after a plane crash leaves a group of young schoolboys stuck on a deserted island at the height of a nuclear armageddon. It is at its heart a story of those boys shocking survival.
At the beginning the boys feel like their dreams have miraculously come true. They find themselves master of their own domain, without an annoying adult to be found. However, it doesn’t take long for them to realise they need a leader, someone to follow. The books main protagonist, a boy named Ralph, is quickly chosen to lead the group, thanks mostly in part to his popularity.
It isn’t long though before dissent begins to ferment. What appeared to be a dream situation at first quickly unravels and sinister moments quickly sprout up throughout the story.
The Lord of the Flies is a thought provoking and action-packed story of surviving against all the odds, but it’s also deeper than that.
William Golding uses his novel to explore three important aspects of human society. Human’s gravitate naturally towards social and political order, we want and need legislation and governments to have order in our society, hence the boys use of the conch and platform.
Secondly human’s are naturally inclined to being violent and savage if given the chance. This leads to a natural need for a military for defence, as shown by the boys who become hunters and then murderers.
Finally Lord of the Flies shows us that human society is naturally tuned to believe in divine interventions and supernatural beings, as shown in the sacrifices and dances the boys use to appease what they call the “beast”.
If you have never had the chance to read Lord of the Flies before now I heartily recommend you rectify that immediately.
The epic tradition represents a record of heroic actions that were once celebrated through song and folktale. Examples of epic stories that started out as folklore and were then written down are the epics of Gilgamesh and Beowulf.
The epic tradition includes key elements such as the epic hero and the form of an epic poem, which thus provides the rhythm which made it easily able to be sung. The epic tradition has influenced fiction over time, and certain elements can still be found in modern fiction today although altered as times have changed.
A key aspect of the Epic tradition as shown in both Gilgamesh and Beowulf is that of an Epic hero. An epic hero is ‘a brave and noble character in an epic poem, admired for great achievements or affected by grand events: Beowulf, an epic hero with extraordinary strength’ (dictionary.com).
The Epic hero has to be someone of high status, preferable a royal and they must have aspects of greatness and superhuman qualities, such as great strength and courage, and in the case of Gilgamesh, the epic hero has connections to the Gods, showing the hero to be above all others.
The epic hero also has to in some way achieve greatness within the story, Gilgamesh for example changes drastically from being a mean and uncaring king, to becoming great and compassionate by realizing the importance of love and loss and Beowulf begins as a highly regarded prince and by the end he has become legendary by his brilliant courage in defeating the evil of the world.
The epic hero features prominently in mythology, such as in the two Greek poems The Lliad and The Odyssey with the epic heroes, Achilles and Odysseus, both central figures in the Trojan War. These two are key examples of epic poetry in ancient literature.
Further aspects of the epic tradition is the fact that stories such as Gilgamesh and Beowulf weren’t written for the purpose of being a novel, but instead were simply a story or folk lore which was told and passed down through generations, and often recited to music until finally being written down. This means that the story has no determinable author and is told as a third person narrative. The story is also not set out as a novel but as more of an epic poem told in a refined manner. As the stories of the epic tradition were primarily for oral transmission they include long speeches and often the story is told through a series of flashbacks.
This means that the stories do lack description and imagery which are fundamental aspects of modern novels, and instead were written as more of a chronology of events and facts and was written as evidence of heroic actions.
The epic tradition has had great impact on modern literature. All novels have a hero, and although they are no longer what one would call epic, as they are not necessarily of high status or do not possess superhuman qualities they are still heroes.
In Shakespearean plays, there are tragic heroes, which contrast to the epic hero, as the tragic heroes usually start off great but through their own flaws they become tragic and fall from their heroic status. Although tragic heroes in Shakespeare’s plays are not exactly the same as the epic heroes, the epic narratives and heroes have greatly influenced the plays as they all centre around one hero, a hero that like that of the epic narratives, is of a high status.
Although the tragic heroes have flaws and at times do bad things, they are essentially good and essentially heroic in the outcome. The tragic hero of Hamlet although different from the epic hero of Beowulf, still achieves a form of greatness by exposing his murdering uncle.
The tragic hero is also represented in the novel of Frankenstein. The influence of the epic tradition on modern literature can also be seen in the story of Robinson Crusoe, as you see a man exert extraordinary courage and strength to survive in a hostile environment, much the same as the epic heroes of the past.
However in the case of Robinson Crusoe, the hero is a sailor and not someone of noble birth or high status. This represents the changes in society at the time the novels are written. In modern times an average man or ‘underdog’ achieving great things is considered more epic than someone of a privileged status. However although Gilgamesh was a noble who was two-thirds God he himself much like the tragic heroes had flaws which meant that he was not very liked and could even be viewed as a villain at the beginning of the story.
But whereas the tragic heroes begin as respected and then are brought down by their mistakes, Gilgamesh learns from his mistakes and after a heroic quest he becomes a hero worthy of the name. The way in which the heroes are represented and the journeys they take determine the differences between the epic hero and the tragic hero.
Michael Wolff’s final book on Trump, Landslide, will cover his ‘tumultuous’ last months in the White House
The American journalist Michael Wolff has announced that he will be publishing a third book about Donald Trump, this time focusing on his final days as US president. The book is set to be released in July and has the wonderfully provocative title: Landslide.
Trump lost the 202 election to his Democrat rival Joe Biden by more than 7m votes and by 306 – 232 in the electoral college, a result he himself called a landslide when it was in his favour against Hillary Clinton back in 2016.
Trump, never the one to admit defeat, has continued to spout the lie that Biden’s victory was the result of electoral fraud, a speech on this topic helped fuel the deadly attack on the US Capitol on 6th of January.
Wolff published his first book on trump’s presidency in 2018, rocking the White House and Trump’s administration.
Hunter Biden will be publishing a memoir in April that explores his struggle with drugs.
Trump attempted to block publication of the book, titled Fire and Fury, calling Wolff “a total loser who made up stories in order to sell this really boring and untruthful book”. The public however ignored the president. The brilliantly explosive exposé went on to sell some 1.7m copies in just three weeks.
Wolff found himself marginalised and stripped of privileges by the White House press team, but that didn’t stop him publishing his next book, Siege, in 2019 which looked at a “presidency under fire”. The book tackled topics like Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible ties between Trump and Moscow. He even managed to produce another bombshell by exposing the fact that Mueller and his team had shelved an indictment against the president on three counts of obstruction of justice.
While Wolff said that he has obtained documents relating to this revelation from “sources close to the Office of the Special Counsel”. The special counsel itself rejected his claim, saying: “The documents that you’ve described do not exist.”
Due to this controversy, and a number of competiting Trump focused books, Siege did not sell as well as Fire and Fury.
According to his latest books publisher Wolff managed to interview the former president for an inside looks at what have been described as Trump’s “tumultuous last months at the helm of the country”.
Trump himself recently claimed to be writing “the book of all books” and according to the former president he has already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, adding: “I do not want a deal right now. I’m writing like crazy anyway, however.”
After major figures in the publishing world said they would not touch a Trump memoir he insisted “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”.
“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future,” he said. “… If my book will be the biggest of them all … does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?”
Mike Pence, Trump’s vice-president, has himself landed a seven-figure two book deal with Simon & Schuster, despite a staff rebellion at the publishing house.
Jared Kushner, the former presidents son in law, has already bagged himself a publishing contract with his book slated for release sometime in 2022, the details of this deal are not known.
Clearly there is still an insatiable appetite for books about the divisive Trump administration.
Friends of the National Libraries aims to raise £15m to save “once in a generation” library from falling into private hands
A huge consortium of libraries and museums across the UK have come together in an “unprecedented” attempt to raise £15m to save an “astonishingly important” collection of literary manuscripts for the nation.
This consortium includes the likes of the British Library and the library of Scotland Museum and was announced last month after the lost Honresfield library was put up for auction at Sotheby’s. This library was put together by industrialists William and Alfred Law in the early 1900’s and has been inaccessible since 1939. When it was announced that this literary jewel would be going on sale experts warned that action needed to be taken to prevent it being sold off piece by piece to private individuals.
The initiative to purchase these manuscripts on behalf of the nation is being led by the charity Friends of the National Libraries (FNL), which includes institutes such at the British Library, the Bodleian, the National Library of Scotland, the Brontë Parsonage Museum and many other smaller libraries and museums.
The FNL is currently in discussions with both private philanthropists and public funders as it desperatly seeks to raise the £15m it believes would be necessary to secure the entirety of the Honresfield library. It will also be launching a crowdfunding appeal.
The Honresfield library contains a veritable treasure trove of rare items, including a handwritten manuscript of Emily Brontë’s poems, once thought by experts to have been lost to time. It was also revealed on Thursday that the collection includes two “hugely significant” letters written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra, one of which deals with the reception to her novels Pride and Prejudice, and Sense and Sensibility. The other letter meanwhile was written on the eve of a ball as Austen humorously anticipates the end of a love affair: “At length the day is come on which I am to flirt my last with Tom Lefroy, and when you receive this it will be over. My tears flow at the melancholy idea.”
All in all the collection contains more than 500 manuscripts, first edition novels and letters, including the working manuscript of Sir Walter Scott’s famous novel Rob Roy.
While the FNL attempts to raise the funds the vendors and Sotheby’s have graciously agreed to postpone the auction for the first part of the library which had been due to take place in July. The FNL has stated that once the library is purchased individual items will be passed to the appropriate institute across the UK.
“Once in a generation, a collection of books and manuscripts appears from almost nowhere that is met with a mixture of awe and stunned silence, followed by concerted action to bring it into public ownership,” said John Scally, chief executive of the National Library of Scotland. “The UK-wide consortium is determined to raise the funds to ensure we can save the Honresfield library for everyone to share and enjoy.”
Charles Sebag-Montefiore, trustee and treasurer of FNL, described the charity’s plans as “a crucial national endeavour to raise enough funds to keep this unique treasure trove in Britain”.
The alliance of libraries and museums was first formed after the Brontë Society raised a call to action about the upcoming sale, describing the auction as a “calculated act of heritage dispersal”. As more institutions got involved, the FNL was approached to spearhead the campaign.
Gabriel Heaton, Sotheby’s historical manuscripts specialist, said the auction house was “pleased to play our part in this potential outcome for this great library”.
“This proposed acquisition is a fitting tribute to the Law brothers’ voracious literary interests and their family’s excellent care of this material for over a century. The unprecedented initiative is testament to the continued power of literature to inspire the public so many years after these writers first put pen to paper,” he added.
Figures at major publishing houses say it would be ‘too hard to get a book that was factually accurate’
Donald Trump has revealed he is writing “the book of all books”, this despite major figures within the US publishing industry saying it was unlikely that any big publishing house would touch the memoir of the 45th president as it may cause a “a staff uprising”, and that it would be difficult “to get a book that was factually accurate”.
To be fair that fear is not without merit. When Trump exited the White House for the final time in January the Washington Post reported that he had made 30,573 false or misleading claims while President.
It is common practice for former presidents to write their own memoirs when they leave office, Barack Obama’s “A Promised Land” was a roaring success. Trump’s announcement therefore is not unexpected.
In a statement last week the 75 year old former president said he had already “turned down two book deals, from the most unlikely of publishers”, which he of course did not name. “I do not want a deal right now,” he said. “I’m writing like crazy anyway, however, and when the time comes, you’ll see the book of all books.”
The New York Times recently reported that a two-book deal Mike Pence landed with Simon & Schuster was “grating” on Trump, this was denied by a Trump spokesman. The Pence deal however caused problems for the publishing company, with many of its staff saying the company should not promote bigotry. Other rightwingers have run into publishing problems since the attempted coup on the 6th of January.
Simon & Schuster itself dropped a planned book on antitrust written by the Missouri senator Josh Hawley, a man who encouraged the rioters and objected to the electoral college results. His book was eventually picked up by rightwing publisher Regnery and will still be distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Any Trump memoir looks likely to be published in a similar manner, outside of the mainstream. Politico has reported that senior figures at Harper Collins, Penguin Random House, Macmillan and Simon & Schuster have said they would not touch a Trump penned memoir. “It would be too hard to get a book that was factually accurate, actually,” one was quoted as saying. “That would be the problem. If he can’t even admit that he lost the election, then how do you publish that?”
Another senior figure said he was “skeptical” about Trump’s claim to have had two offers, saying: “He’s screwed over so many publishers before he ran for president none of the big five would work with [him] any more.”
Keith Urbahn of Javelin, an agent who has represented numerous Trump books told Politico: “It doesn’t matter what the upside on a Trump book deal is, the headaches the project would bring would far outweigh the potential in the eyes of a major publisher.
“Any editor bold enough to acquire the Trump memoir is looking at a factchecking nightmare, an exodus of other authors and a staff uprising in the unlikely event they strike a deal with the former president.”
Trump hit back by once again insisting that “two of the biggest and most prestigious publishing houses have made very substantial offers which I have rejected”. Once again he wouldn’t name them.
“That doesn’t mean I won’t accept them sometime in the future, as I have started writing the book,” he added. “If my book will be the biggest of them all, and with 39 books written or being written about me, does anybody really believe that they are above making a lot of money?
“Some of the biggest sleezebags [sic] on earth run these companies.”
Trump’s personal worth has plummeted since his first year in office, and now he faces extensive legal proceedings. The fact that memoirs written by his predecessor sold for $65m may have given him some idea on how to raise some more funds.
I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan, his Discworld collection is a majestic vision of a humorous, dangerous and quite absurd universe within which anything is possible. That being said some of those stories are better than others.
His first two books in the series, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, for instance are not exactly his best. They are certainly quite funny and take a parodic shots at many fantasy tropes, but because of that they don’t really have their own voice. Those two novels feel disjointed, like a bunch of jokes held together with the flimsiest bit of plot tape.
His third novel though, Equal Rites is definetly where Pratchett finds his own voice, now he has a real plot and some actual storytelling behind the wonderfully crafted jokes.
At its core Equal Rites is a tale about equality and the injustices of the Discworld, and it does a great job of exploring these themes while maintaining a witty tone. While I greatly enjoyed the first two books in the series it was really Equal Rites that first got me hooked onto Terry Pratchett.
This is a fun, humerous, and well crafted story about a young girl names Esk and her experiences of growing up in the world of magic. As the third in the series Pratchett doesn’t bother diving too much into the Discworld mythology, this allows him to progress the story much more easily, yet sadly this will leave big points of confusion for readers who may start their journey here.
The story is simple, there’s nothing ground-breaking here at all, yet it is well executed and the main character is remarkably charming, making for an all around fantastic read.
One criticism I would have though is the finale, the grand spectacular ending we were promised page after page is none existent, the great battle between witches and wizards is highjacked and ignored, possibly so as not to fundamentally change the social status of the Discworld, yet it feels like a copout all the same, and makes the entire journey seem almost pointless.
The biggest strength of Equal Rites is the wonderful character development we get to experience. Unlike the first two stories the character here feel more fleshed out, more real rather than simple one dimensional parodies of other, bigger, fantasy characters. These beings are charming, witty, likeable, but also hugely flawed, and it is their moments of self actualisation that are the most interesting to me. Throughout the novel these characters grow, change, evolve, they become better, or indeed worse, than they were when we first met them.
Characters are a huge part of Pratchett’s writing so it’s great to see that even early on in his career he was so adept at this skill.
Of course with Equal Rites being so early in his Discworld career there are some low points. He spends too long trying to explain Discworld’s magic and how it works, this is tedious and unnecessary and upsets the otherwise excellent flow of the novel.
The best thing about Equal Rites though is its ability to resonate with people, whether or not they are a fan of fantasy novels there is something to love about this book. The story of a young girl asking why women can’t be wizards transcends the genre, and while it’s not a masterpiece it is a strong and easy to read novel that explores those real world topics in a unique and brilliantly funny way.
After the great response to our giveaway of L.A. Noir, and to give back to our wonderful readers, we are giving away five copies of the brilliant psychological thriller, Eyes of Sleeping Children by D.A. Butcher.
If you missed our review of this amazing book you can find it here. I’d recommend giving it a read to know what you’re in for.
The copies of Eyes of Sleeping Children will be bought through Amazon and will be in kindle format.
To enter this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment on this post and on the 10th of March the winners will then be selected at random and emailed.