5 June 2014

Review: ELEMENTAL, Amanda Curtin

  • first published in 2013 by UWA Publishing
  • ISBN 978-1-74258-506-2
  • 436 pages
  • source: library book
Synopsis  (Publisher)

It has taken a lifetime for me to see that the more afraid people are of the darkness, the further into it they will flee.

Nearing the end of her life, Meggie Tulloch takes up her pen to write a story for her granddaughter. It begins in the first years of the twentieth century, in a place where howling winds spin salt and sleet sucked up from icefloes.
A place where lives are ruled by men, and men by the witchy sea. A place where the only thing lower than a girl in the order of things is a clever girl with accursed red hair. A place schooled in keeping secrets.
Moving from the north-east of Scotland to the Shetland Isles to Fremantle, Australia, Elemental is a novel about the life you make from the life you are given.

Book Club Notes are available for this title.
Click here to read an extract from Elemental.

My Take 

First of all I need to tell you that this is not crime-fiction. It is part of my challenge to myself to occasionally read outside my comfort zone. I am grateful to Bernadette at Reactions to Reading for recommending it to me.

Fish Meggie sets out to give a 21st birthday present to her grand daughter Laura - the story of her life, so that Laura will know her origins. She describes people and places that Laura has never heard of and a life so tough that it would be beyond Laura's wildest imaginings. It is a life that brings Meggie Tulloch from Scotland's northern islands to Fremantle in Western Australia.

Laura doesn't get to read her Grunnie's journals, written in exercise books in a variety of coloured pens, until she is facing a crisis herself, and at last she understands things about Meggie, and her own mother Kathryn, that have always been a puzzle. Her grandfather, known only to her through photographs, comes to life.

This story is a reminder of what those who lived through the 20th century went through, and how much life has been changed by technology, migration, and wars.

My rating : 4.6

About the author

Amanda Curtin is a writer and book editor, who lives in Perth, Western Australia with her husband and cat in a house that used to be a general store selling milk and bread, newspapers and petrol, and phone calls for ‘tuppence’.

Her first novel, The Sinkings, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim and her award-winning short stories have been widely published in literary journals and anthologies, before being collected in Inherited to further acclaim in 2011. Amanda’s new novel, Elemental, was released to critical acclaim in 2013.

Amanda has been granted writing residencies in Australia, Scotland, Ireland and the United States. She also lectures in writing and editing at Edith Cowan University, and presents workshops for writers.

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Oh, Kerrie, I've been wanting to read this! Thanks for reminding me that I really must.


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