Welcome to Triple Choice Tuesday. This is where I ask some of my favourite bloggers, writers and readers to share the names of three books that mean a lot to them. The idea is that it might raise the profile of certain books and introduce you to new titles, new authors and new bloggers.
Today’s guest is Australian writer, journalist and broadcaster Ramona Koval.
Ramona is the editor of Best Australian Essays and was the presenter of ABC Radio National’s The Book Show for many years. She now interviews writers for The Monthly‘s online book club.
She has recently written By the Book: A Reader’s Guide to Life, which is published in hardback by Text Publishing (priced £12.99) and which is a fabulous look at how all kinds of books and literature have shaped her life. I’ve read it and really loved it; I plan on reviewing it later this week.
In the meantime, here are Ramona’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
My Mother’s House is a collection of autobiographical sketches by the French writer Colette. She remembers her childhood in the French village of Saint-Saveur, her mother’s garden, the trials of dealing with her difficult older sister and the somewhat mysterious love between her aging mother Sido and her father, the one-legged veteran whom she calls The Captain.
Moving from the point of view of a young child to that of an older woman looking back, Colette’s work is wise, sharp-eyed and sensual.
Rarely do you find a novel that breaks new ground but Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing does just that. This Irish first-time novelist has read her James Joyce, but applies her lessons to a subject matter that Joyce could never tackle — the inner turmoil of a girl whose deep connection with her damaged brother both saves and torments her in a life of self-destruction. I know it doesn’t sound cheery but for sheer original bravura you should try it. I was given new hope for the future of fiction.
Robert Antemle’s 1947 memoir The Human Race was only published in French 10 years later and translated into English in 1992, so I missed it till just this year. He was the husband returned from Dachau that Margeurite Duras wrote about in The War. She looked after him but was in love with another man. An anthropologist before his arrest by the Gestapo for his work in the French underground, Antelme’s heartbreaking insights into the minds of his fellow human beings — both fellow captives and their captors — are profound.
Thanks, Ramona, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
The only one I have read is A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing — and I must agree: this is the kind of book that makes you hopeful for the future of literature, it is so self-assured, challenging, confronting and memorable and definitely one of my books of 2013.
What do you think of Ramona’s choices? Have you read any of these books?