Current Book Club Titles
Author: Esi Edugyan
Wednesday 20th February 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END JANUARY
Thursday 21st February 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END JANUARY
NOTES: Shortlisted 2018 Man Booker Prize - A dazzling new novel of slavery and freedom by the author of the Man Booker and Orange Prize shortlisted Half Blood Blues.
When two English brothers take the helm of a Barbados sugar plantation, nervousness and fear run high. Washington Black - an eleven-year-old field slave who has known no other life - is aghast to find himself selected as personal servant to one of these men. His new master is the eccentric Christopher Wilde - naturalist, explorer, scientist, inventor and abolitionist - whose single-minded pursuit of the perfect aerial machine mystifies all around him. Through Wilde, Washington is initiated into a world of wonder: a world where the night sea viewed from a hilltop shivers with light; where a simple cloth canopy can propel a man across the sky; where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning.
Then, on a disastrous voyage of escape, Wilde disappears. Washington is forced to make his way back to the civilized world alone. One day, however, a man appears in the doorway of his new life, making claims of the past. Is this truly the long-lost Wilde? If so, what are the real motives for his return? And is it possible that his resurrection will destroy everything?
Based on an infamous 19th-century criminal case, Washington Black tells the story of a world destroyed and made whole again, where certainty seems unattainable, and men must remain strangers even to themselves.
Author: Chloe Hooper
Wednesday 20th March 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END FEBRUARY
Thursday 21st March 2019, 7pm BOOKINGS OPEN END FEBRUARY
NOTES: The Arsonist takes readers inside the hunt for a fire-lighter. After Black Saturday, a February 2009 day marked by 47 degree heat and firestorms, arson squad detectives arrived at a plantation on the edge of a 26,000-hectare burn site. Eleven people had just been killed and hundreds made homeless. Here, in the Latrobe Valley, where Victoria's electricity is generated, and the rates of unemployment, crime and domestic abuse are the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn't know.
The Arsonist tells a remarkable detective story, as the police close in on someone they believe to be a cunning offender; and a puzzling pyschological story, as defence lawyers seek to understand the motives of a man who, they claimed, was a na'f that had accidentally dropeed a cigarette.
It is the story not only of this fire - how it happened, the people who died, the aftermath for the community - but of fire in this country. What it has done, what it has meant, what it might yet do. Bushfire is one of Australia's deepest anxieties, never more so than when deliberately lit. Arson, wrote Henry Lawson, expresses a malice 'terrifying to those who have seen what it is capable of. You never know when you are safe'.
As she did in The Tall Man, Chloe Hooper takes us to a part of the country seldom explored, and reveals something buried but essential in our national psyche. The bush, summertime, a smouldering cigarette - none of these will feel the same again.