Before we go on, let’s ignite our wanderlust by watching this video showing the beautiful sights of Australia:
Remember this post about me joining the 2014 Aussie Author Challenge hosted by Joanne at Booklover Book Reviews? Well I think it would be a great idea to start this feature with books set in Australia.
I have not read many books set in Australia. The first book I read that has Australia as a setting is Walkabout by James Vance Marshall. When it comes to books written by Australian authors, one of my favorite books of all time is Mark Zusak’s The Book Thief. Graeme Simsion is a New Zealand-born Australian author that most of you would be familiar with. The Rosie Project, anyone? *Gives high fives* Which reminds me, I should write a review about that book soon.
If there’s one place I’d really like to visit in Australia, it would be the Great Barrier Reef. I’ve seen it in pictures countless times and I’m absolutely enthralled by the promise of adventure and discovery.
Of course, it’s no secret that Australia is known for its beautiful beaches.
Okay, so on with the books...
Two of the books I mentioned here are set in Queensland, Australia. To awaken that wanderlust in all of us, here are pictures that will make you want to go there right now.
Thornwood House by Anna Romer
When Audrey Kepler inherits an abandoned homestead in rural Queensland, she jumps at the chance to escape her loveless existence in the city and make a fresh start. In a dusty back room of the old house, she discovers the crumbling photo of a handsome World War Two medic – Samuel Riordan, the homestead’s former occupant – and soon finds herself becoming obsessed with him. But as Audrey digs deeper into Samuel’s story, she discovers he was accused of bashing to death a young woman on his return from the war in 1946. When she learns about other unexplained deaths in recent years – one of them a young woman with injuries echoing those of the first victim – she begins to suspect that the killer is still very much alive. And now Audrey, thanks to her need to uncover the past, has provided him with good reason to want to kill again. (Goodreads)
Eyrie by Tim Winton
Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely, a man who’s lost his bearings in middle age and is now holed up in a flat at the top of a grim highrise, looking down on the world he’s fallen out of love with. He’s cut himself off, until one day he runs into some neighbours: a woman he used to know when they were kids, and her introverted young boy. The encounter shakes him up in a way he doesn’t understand. Despite himself, Keely lets them in. What follows is a heart-stopping, groundbreaking novel for our times – funny, confronting, exhilarating and haunting – populated by unforgettable characters. It asks how, in an impossibly compromised world, we can ever hope to do the right thing. (Goodreads)
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
Alice Love is twenty-nine, crazy about her husband, and pregnant with her first child. So imagine Alice’s surprise when she comes to on the floor of a gym (a gym! She HATES the gym) and is whisked off to the hospital where she discovers the honeymoon is truly over — she’s getting divorced, , she has three kids, and she’s actually 39 years old. Alice must reconstruct the events of a lost decade, and find out whether it’s possible to reconstruct her life at the same time. She has to figure out why her sister hardly talks to her, and how is it that she’s become one of those super skinny moms with really expensive clothes. Ultimately, Alice must discover whether forgetting is a blessing or a curse, and whether it’s possible to start over. (Goodreads)
Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany
On the outskirts of an Australian country town in the 1950s, a lonely farmer trains his binoculars on a family of kookaburras that roost in a tree near his house. Harry observes the kookaburras through a year of feast, famine, birth, death, war, romance and song. As Harry watches the birds, his next door neighbour has her own set of binoculars trained on him. Ardent, hard-working Betty has escaped to the country with her two fatherless children. Betty is pleased that her son, Michael, wants to spend time with the gentle farmer next door. But when Harry decides to teach Michael about the opposite sex, perilous boundaries are crossed. Mateship with Birds is a novel about young lust and mature love. It is a hymn to the rhythm of country life — to vicious birds, virginal cows, adored dogs and ill-used sheep. On one small farm in a vast, ancient landscape, a collection of misfits question the nature of what a family can be. (Goodreads)
Elianne by Judy Nunn
In the tough world of Queensland sugar mills, it’s not only cane that is crushed … In 1881 ‘Big Jim’ Durham, an English soldier of fortune and profiteer, ruthlessly creates for Elianne Desmarais, his young French wife, the finest of the great sugar mills of the Southern Queensland cane fields, and names it in her honour. The massive estate becomes a self-sufficient fortress, a cane-consuming monster and home to hundreds of workers, but ‘Elianne’ and its masters, the Durham Family, have dark and distant secrets; secrets that surface in the wildest and most inflammatory of times, the 1960s. For Kate Durham and her brothers Neil and Alan, freedom is the catchword of the decade.Young Australians leap to the barricades of the social revolution. Rock ‘n’ roll, the Pill, the Vietnam War, the rise of Feminism, Asian immigration and the Freedom Ride join forces to rattle the chains of traditional values. The workers leave the great sugar estates as mechanisation lessens the need for labour. And the Durham family, its secrets exposed, begins its fall from grace. (Goodreads)
Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post, or any book set in Australia? Or are you a proud Australian blogger? Let me know in the comments! :)
You can read more about the Armchair Travels Feature here. Suggestions welcome :)
February 19, 2014 at 10:35 pm
Love this post, love this idea for a feature! I rarely seem to read books set in Australia, which is a shame. Thanks for the ideas! I have read both The Book Thief and The Rosie project. LOVED them both :D
February 22, 2014 at 7:28 pm
Thank you so much! I’m so glad you liked the recommendations. I hope to get to read some soon. Right now, I’m reading M.L. Stedman’s The Light Between Oceans.
Always glad to find someone who loves the books I’ve read ;) We seem to have the same taste for books :)
February 20, 2014 at 12:53 am
I keep hearing good things about What Alice Forgot. I had no idea it took place in Australia!
February 22, 2014 at 7:26 pm
It’s been in my TBR list for quite a while now and I hope I get to read it soon :)
February 20, 2014 at 11:02 am
I love this series of yours :)
February 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm
Nish, thank you so much! :)
February 20, 2014 at 6:00 pm
I’m a proud Aussie blogger and though like you I am an eclectic reader, I also make sure I ead a lot of Australian fiction. Unfortunately it doesn’t get the global recognition it deserves, so I try to do my own small part in its promotion.
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February 22, 2014 at 7:20 pm
So glad to meet you, Shelleyrae! I think it’s great that you’re doing your part to promote Australian fiction! There are not many I know of so I’m really looking forward to read some of the books mentioned in this post. I also entered the Aussie Author Challenge and I’m going to read three books for that.
February 20, 2014 at 10:30 pm
For my book-from-every-country project, I read Foreign Correspondence by Geraldine Brooks which I quite enjoyed. It’s non-fiction about her childhood in Australia and the penpals she had from many different countries. I also read The Light between Oceans, which I didn’t like as much.
February 22, 2014 at 7:18 pm
Thank you for that recommendation! I’m currently reading the book by M.L. Stedman. It has a very slow pacing so I’m not sure where all of this will end up, but I’m enjoying it quite a lot right now. I think your project of reading a book from every country is a great idea. I will be lurking for suggestions :)
February 25, 2014 at 5:54 pm
I didn’t know Mark Zusak was Australian! There seems to be so much good Australian writing out there at the moment. I feel like Australia is having a real renaissance. In the last year i’ve read The Rosie Project and Barracuda which were very different but both excellent.
February 27, 2014 at 3:42 am
Yes, he is! I was quite surprised myself!
I have to agree with you about Australia having a renaissance. I’ve been checking out some of the book lists in the challenge page and I did not realize that some of the books in my TBR list like Lexicon (Max Barry), Burial Rites (Hannah Kent) and The Night Guest (Fiona McFarlane) were all written by Australian authors. I think it’s wonderful that there are more books available now that are written by them. I’m going to read Barracuda soon for the challenge :)
February 27, 2014 at 3:46 am
I didn’t realize Hannah Kent was Australian!
February 27, 2014 at 4:11 am
I’m not so sure, but I think she was born in Adelaide? I really have to read her book Burial Rites. (Wish I had more time).
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