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 the author Suzanne Leal.
Suzanne — a lawyer experienced in child protection, criminal law and refugee law — lives in Sydney with her husband and four children.
Her critically acclaimed first novel, Border Street, was published in her native Australia in 2006. Her second novel, The Teacher’s Secret, was a bestseller in Oz, where it was compared withThe Slap and Big Little Lies. The story explores good and evil in schools and is billed as a big-hearted book about a small community and the search for grace, dignity and love in the midst of dishonour, humiliation, grief and uncertainty.
It has just been published in the UK by Legend Press, and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing it very soon.
Without further ado, here are Suzanne’s Triple Choice Tuesday selections:
I’ve come to Eimear McBride only recently and read her recent novel The Lesser Bohemians before embarking on her much-lauded first novel, A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
The Lesser Bohemians took me completely by surprise. I am not generally a fan of stream of consciousness writing but once I was into the rhythm of the narrative, I was completely captivated. I’ve always been pretty rule based – never a wild child, although sometimes I wish I was – and The Lesser Bohemians is for me a writing wild child. In The Lesser Bohemians, McBride throws all the rules of grammar and punctuation out the window. But rather than making the book indecipherable, as I had feared, McBride’s grammatical lawlessness gives to the narrative a passion and a rhythm that is absolutely intoxicating. Like Ulysses by James Joyce, it is a book that needs your time and your attention and rewards being read aloud.
A book that changed my world: The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
I thought and I thought about this one but I can’t go past The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton. Enid Blyton did for me what J. K. Rowling has done for my children: she taught me that magical worlds are to be found in between the covers of books and that in themselves, words on a page can provide an escape from ordinary life. As a child, I felt that Enid Blyton was writing just for me and that The Enchanted Wood was my special book. I mark my lifelong love of reading and writing from this point.
A book that deserves a wider audience: The Full Ridiculous by Mark Lamprell
I do a lot of interviewing at writers’ festivals and literary functions and I first came across Mark Lamprell in this context, following the publication of his first novel, The Full Ridiculous. To be honest, I was a bit disconcerted when I began reading it because rather than being written in the first person or the third person, Lamprell chose to write the novel in the second person. For a page or so, this felt a bit odd. After that, it was completely liberating. The story of a man whose life is spiralling out of control, Lamprell’s writing is crisp and funny and insightful and compassionate and always honest.
Thanks, Suzanne, for taking part in my Triple Choice Tuesday!
This is a nice reminder for me to read The Lesser Bohemians because I, too, loved A Girl is a Half-formed Thing.
Enid Blyton is, of course, an old favourite of mine, having grown up with the Noddy books, the Magic Faraway books and both the Famous Five and Secret Seven series. (My favourite Blyton book, however, is The Children of Cherry Tree Farm.)
Finally, I love the sound of The Full Ridiculous: I do quite like it when people write in the second person. It’s so rarely done, probably because it’s so hard to get right. But when it’s done properly it can be brilliant.
What do you think of Suzanne’s choices? Have you read any of these books?