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A Room Made of Leaves

A Room Made of Leaves

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A wonderfully expressed and engaging read that I know I will be thinking about and reflecting on further. To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average.

I’ve only read one previous book by Kate Grenville, Sarah Thornhill the final book in her trilogy that started with The Secret River (although I didn’t realize it was part of a trilogy at the time). Unfortunately, I found the pace of the book slow at times with scenes of significance recounted only briefly and others, such as Elizabeth’s tea parties (her ‘Antipodean salons’) described in detail. I listened to the audiobook version narrated by Valerie Bader and was initially daunted when I saw it had 131 chapters.Grenville cleverly uses Elizabeth’s bland and pleasant missives home, showing that they were a carefully constructed fiction.

Her only source documents in the book (the letters that the real Elizabeth wrote home to her family and friends) are recast almost as parody, with Grenville's Elizabeth explaining away how when she said she was 'abundantly content' she, of course, meant the opposite. But, like most historical fiction, it starts in the same place history does: in the record of the past left to us in documents, oral traditions, buildings, landscapes and objects.Despite my unease, I enjoyed the opportunity to view colonial settlement through a different perspective. Forced to travel with him to New South Wales, she arrives to find Sydney Town a brutal, dusty, hungry place of makeshift shelters, failing crops, scheming, and rumours.

Generously, she attributes his behaviour to the traumatic experiences of his youth and a sense of inferiority. I had been leaning up at the windowsill, listening in an idle way, not much concerned whether they saw me, but at that I sank down out of sight and crouched against the wall, making myself shrink to the smallest volume. I was hot with a sudden shame for being wilful, as well as for having no looks and no portion, ashamed that no one would want me. Endeavouring to grow crops from a cultivated and cold land was never really going to work well in the hot, dry and uncultivated area of the first settlement.Grenville's Elizabeth is sympathetic to the First Nations people, going so far as to say that she doubts her husband's account of the 'affray' in which many lost their lives because of her knowledge that 'Pemulwuy's people are neither weak nor foolish' and that she is 'a newcomer here, ignorant of the inner grain of the place' and that 'the lifetime of one woman cannot be put beside the uncountable generations of the people who were here before me. Her books have been published all over the world and translated into many languages, and two have been made into feature films. Tačiau skaityti gali būti įdomu – aš dabar jau tiksliai žinau, kokių žinių bagažą noriu papildyti ir kokias istorines spragas sieksiu užpildyti. She and John and their infant son landed in a new, raw, violent, hungry penal colony – a thousand convicts and a couple of hundred guards – six months’ sail from home. The descriptions of Sydney are glorious, but unfortunately, it was not enough to take us back to colonial Australia where I am sure the horrendous suffering of women, including Elizabeth, would have created characters far more vengeful, competitive and and manipulative.



  • Fruugo ID: 258392218-563234582
  • EAN: 764486781913
  • Sold by: Fruugo

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