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Book Reviews



Reviewed by Fin & Mel, Balgowlah

We all absolutely LOVE this book. This is one of The Great Reads” a book that only occurs once a decade and redefines the genre.  I literally read non-stop until four in the morning in order to finish: about eight hours for those curious.  A Techno-Thriller that straps you ... (continued)

Coast: A History of the New South Wales Edge by Ian Hoskins

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

I can't surf.  I'm not the greatest swimmer and I certainly can't sit all day on the beach. Like Woody Allen, "I don't tan, I stroke." Yet I feel keenly connected to the coast and enjoy living near the beach.  I can look at a map and see the nearest beach an... (continued)

Tatiana by Martin Cruz Smith

Reviewed by Geraldine Ash, Berkelouw Books Customer

  The investigative journalist, Tatiana Petrovna, falls to her death from a sixth floor apartment. Is this suicide or murder? After the death of the fabulously wealthy criminal, Grisha Grigorenko, cynical investigator Arkady Renko and his vodka-swilling partner, detective-sargeant... (continued)

Eyrie by Tim Winton

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

To read Tim Winton's new novel Eyrie is to be reminded of the author's sublime ability with language and insight into human hearts. It also reminded me that Winton is a storyteller who does not tie things up neatly but requires your engagement to distil the story. Tom Kee... (continued)

The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books Mona Vale

Perhaps nothing epitomises the paranoia prevalent in this book better than the family of the interrogator - he is not sure whether his parents are actually both blind (as they insist they are) or simply pretending to be blind because it is safer, in some way it allows them to see more clearly ... (continued)

TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Colum McCann's new novel is intricate and ambitious. Mining the 19th and 20th century connections between Ireland and America, he animates the historical  context that embraces four generations of women whose stories are at the heart of the novel. The novel comprises three books. ... (continued)

The Good Life by Hugh Mackay

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Hugh Mackay's latest book, The Good Life, is unusual in that it is not a report back on the state of mind of the Australian community distilled from his social research. It is much more an appeal to that community to fundamentally reconsider the way they live, the aspirations they nurse an... (continued)

The Crane Wife by Patrick Ness

Reviewed by Sarah, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Patrick Ness, known for his Chaos Walking series as well as his beautiful graphic novel, A Monster Calls, has reworked the famous Japanese folklore tale, The Crane Wife to beautiful effect in this his latest novel.  One evening a crane falls into George Duncan’s garden with an arrow... (continued)

The Women in Black by Madeleine St John

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

I am just catching up with the delightfully acerbic writing of Madeleine St John. The Women in Black although first published in 1993 is a portrait of an earlier Sydney where women remain at work until they marry and have children, where husbands  drink after work with their mates (but on... (continued)

High Sobriety by Jill Stark

Reviewed by Kate, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

When February came around this year and I decided to give my body a break from the alcohol,  I was looking for some inspiration or encouragement and saw this book. Jill Stark is a senior journalist for The Age (Melbourne). Her specialty is health issues. She has won a journalistic awa... (continued)

Silent House by Orhan Pamuk

Reviewed by Gillian, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

In Silent House, Orhan Pamuk, gives us a portrait of family whose complicated affairs mesh tragically with Turkey's history. Gathered in the house of Fatma (Grandmother), they come to enjoy a summer holiday by the sea.  Pamuk tells his story through five rotating first person narrativ... (continued)

Speechless by James Button

Reviewed by Jake, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Journalist and son of a former Federal Labor Minister, James Button reflects upon his time spent as Kevin Rudd’s speechwriter in the period leading up to his downfall from the height of Australian politics. More than an insight into the world of Australian politics, Button delves in... (continued)

Confront and Conceal by David E. Sanger

Reviewed by Jake, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

New York Time’s journalist and author of The Inheritance, David E. Sanger delves into the covert world of cyber warfare, US Special Forces and espionage. Having written extensively for The Times on US National Security and Nuclear Proliferation, Sanger uses a career’s worth of cont... (continued)

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver

Reviewed by Sarah, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

This book made me look at the future of our world and the consequences of climate change, how it combines with us and what choices we can decide to make to change our ways.   Dellarobia is a young girl who married her childhood sweetheart and had two children. She is bored and ... (continued)

Underwater Dogs by Seth Casteel

Reviewed by Graziela, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

This book uses the very creative concept of taking pictures of dogs underwater as they chase their toys. Photographer Seth Casteel has put together a wonderful collection of photos, some hilarious, some adorable and some not so elegant, which are sure to entertain every doglover. There are aro... (continued)

The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson

Reviewed by Graziela, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

This is a debut novel from Swedish author Jonas Jonasson and has been a great success in Europe before being translated into English. This book capitvated me from the start, and didn't disappoint as it unfolded. The main character, Allan Karlsson, runs away from his nursing home on the... (continued)

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Reviewed by Kate, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Best read  for me in 2012 was The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Rothfuss has the art of telling a good story in which you lose yourself. It has been a long time since I have read a novel with such simple good storytelling. This poetically written story is told through the eyes of ... (continued)

All That I Am by Anna Funder

Reviewed by Kate, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

All That I Am  by Anna Funder is a great story told through the eyes of activists against Hitler. The main characters find themselves engaged in  cloak and dagger activities against the Nazi regime from London where they are in exile. It took a bit of time to get into the story ... (continued)

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami

Reviewed by Kate, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

   I started 2012 reading the last installment of 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami. With an incredible build up in the first two books I expected good things. Murakami is a master  of detail with an intelligence in his writing that challenges the reader to look beyond the first ... (continued)

Defending Jacob by William Landy

Reviewed by Kate, Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale

Imagine John Grisham writing a We need to talk about Kevin  sort of story. Interesting look at the criminal justice system in Massachusetts. Landy worked as an assistant district attorney and his observations about the legal system are sharp, cynical and realistic. And it’s a... (continued)