What We’re Reading: McKinty, Woollett and Hill

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films and TV shows we’re watching, and the music we’re listening to.


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Mark Rubbo is reading The Chain by Adrian McKinty

McKinty is the author of the cult crime novels featuring Belfast detective Sean Duffy. McKinty used to live in St Kilda (he reviewed frequently for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald) but has now moved to the US. The Chain is a departure from his Belfast novels. It is, he acknowledges, his first attempt to write a commercial thriller set in the US and it’s a real page turner. If you like a pacy thriller with evil psychopaths, brave heroines and lots of twists and turns then this is for you.


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Georgia Brough is reading The Love of a Bad Man by Laura Elizabeth Woollett

My first introduction to Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s writing was in her fictionalised account of the Jonestown Massacre, Beautiful Revolutionary, where I was completely enamoured by her rich, textured language, with a tone that can only be described as lush and fecund. Her prose was so elegant, so evocative, that I had to test out her preceding collection of short stories, The Love of a Bad Man. I’m not so fully swept away by the language of The Love of a Bad Man, but absorbed nonetheless by this collection of narratives from women embroiled in volatile, toxic relationships with ‘bad men’. We hear from Myra Hindley (lover of Ian Brady, and co-perpetrator of the Moors murders), Eva Braun (Hitler’s mistress) and Marceline Baldwin (Jim Jones' first wife), among others. It’s insidious, sometimes disturbing, and spine-tingling – the stories get under your skin, and Woollett is adept at absorbing you in these women’s lives.


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Elke Power is reading See What You Made Me Do by Jess Hill

I have been reading See What You Made Me Do, and have raved about this book to anyone moving at anything less than a run anywhere near me. This book is amazing. It is also horrifying. Domestic abuse can happen to anyone – and it does, all the time. That said, some Australians are significantly more likely to experience domestic abuse than others, and Hill addresses this aspect of the issue in such a nuanced and respectful manner that I can’t pretend here to do justice to her work or to those members of our community – you need to read Hill’s own words, and, most importantly, those of the people with whom she spoke, for yourself.

I am moderately informed about the issue of domestic abuse generally, but I was not prepared for the strategic sadism evident in many of the case studies Hill carefully includes to illustrate the realities of what people are experiencing in Australia every day. It is a harrowing reading experience and at numerous points I felt despair (I can’t even imagine what the research and writing experience was like for Hill), but at all times I was conscious that I was reading from a very privileged perspective. Those among us who can read this book without compounding trauma must do so, because Hill doesn’t lay out all the problems and then leave the reader with no hope for the future. On the contrary, she details the ways that we can all make a difference to those affected, right now. And if there’s one thing about which you’ll feel sure after you’ve read this book, it’s that, whether or not they have ever alluded to it, we all know and care about people who are affected by this issue.

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See What You Made Me Do

See What You Made Me Do

Jess Hill

$32.99Buy now

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