“If you read … you’ll like …”
When you’ve read a book, do you sometimes find yourself thinking “oh, that really reminds me of *insert name of another book*”?
Welcome to a new feature, in which my team and I make reading suggestions based on your favourites, be they classics, or newer best sellers. Our recommendations consider not just genre, but writing style, plot—and that ‘feel’ you can’t quite put your finger on.
This week’s choice is from team member Cathy:
The Dry is set in small town Australia as is The Silent Kookaburra. They both benefit from strong characterisations, an atmospheric setting and sense of place. Both deal with family secrets and multiple issues.
The Silent Kookaburra opens with Tanya packing up her parents’ home after their deaths. An old newspaper cutting her grandmother saved brings memories rushing back and, despite her uneasiness and resistance, pulls Tanya back to the sweltering summer of 1973 and her eleven year old self. The story is narrated from Tanya’s perspective in the third person. She is overjoyed at the birth of her baby sister, after multiple miscarriages suffered by her mother. The family, along with Nanna Purvis, live in Gumtree Cottage, Wollongong, a small town in New South Wales.
Written extremely well with wonderful, distinct characterisations and incredible imagery, this is a poignant story driven by cause and effect, the characters’ reactions completely convincing. Dealing with sensitive subjects, abuse, post-natal depression and grooming amongst others, it’s sometimes difficult to see things through Tanya’s eyes. There’s so much she doesn’t yet understand or isn’t able to express but the reader can see where certain situations are heading, sharpening the suspense and the sense of danger, while dread of the likely end result builds.
It wasn’t hard to become immersed in the story, the sense of time and place is intense and the mindset and attitudes along with dialogue are completely believable. I love Nanna Purvis’ hilarious misuse of words and strongly held opinions. One unanswered question has haunted Tanya ever since that summer. The narrative ends where it began, with Tanya at her parents’ house as the story comes to a completely unexpected and shattering conclusion. Liza Perrat’s descriptive, assured prose and story-telling skills make this a compelling and evocative read.
What psychological suspense novels have you read, that these remind you of?