The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman: review by Toni Whitmont

It is not often that a book give me goosebumps but by the second page of The Street Sweeper I was covered in them. I had an inkling on page one with the opening paragraph.

Memory is a wilful dog. It won’t be summoned or dismissed but it cannot survive without you. It can sustain you or feed on you. It visits when it is hungry, not when you are. It has a schedule all of its own that you can never know. It can capture, corner you or liberate you. It can a leave you howling and it can make you smile.

A page later I knew I was in the hands of a master – someone whose deliberately crafted prose, stunning ability to weave a story, intelligently thought through issues leaves the reader humbled, in a state of grace, in awe.

I don’t know about his career as a barrister, but in his writing, Elliot Perlman has rarely hit a wrong note. Known for Three Dollars, and then for the very satisfying Seven Types of Ambiguity, The Street Sweeper will certainly cement the reputation of man already described as having “traces of Dickens’ range and of George Eliot’s generous Continue reading

Nick Earls, author of The Fix, Zigzag Street, The True Story of Butterfish and many more, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Nick Earls

author of The Fix, Zigzag Street, The True Story of Butterfish and many more

Ten Terrifying Questions

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 1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

Born: Northern Ireland. For years I thought I was born on the fire escape of Newtownards Hospital, since someone pointed to the building when I was three and said ‘That’s where you were born’. It’s still the first image I see when anyone asks me.

We moved to Australia not long before I turned nine, and I’ve lived in Brisbane since then.

I went to Churchie (now the Anglican Church Grammar School) in Brisbane and then did Medicine at UQ, scraping through with the dodgiest honours degree in my year, probably due to my examiners being distracted by the Continue reading

Paul Daley, author of Armageddon: Two Men on an Anzac Trail, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Paul Daley

author of Armageddon: Two Men on an Anzac Trail

Ten Terrifying Questions

———————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

My background is completely unremarkable, especially for a writer. I was born in Melbourne to middle-class parents and I had a fairly cloistered, traditional Catholic upbringing – parish primary school with nuns (among them Sister Brendan; I kid you not) who were tougher than any trooper I’d ever go on to meet, then private boy’s school. The priests and brothers were a mixed lot: some were incredibly compassionate and dedicated to teaching – others unthinkably cruel and driven by frustration. I was blessed to receive a free tertiary education. University bought me time – time to carouse and experiment more energetically than I’d like my kids to. But time also to figure out what I wanted to do with myself when play-time was Continue reading

Christopher Kremmer, author The Chase, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Christopher Kremmer

author of The ChaseThe Carpet Wars
and more

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Bethesda Hospital overlooking Enmore Park in Sydney. On the day I was born I was given the last rites because my lungs collapsed, but I survived after spending six weeks in an oxygenated crib. After that things slowly Continue reading

Caroline Brothers, author of Hinterland, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Caroline Brothers

author of Hinterland

Ten Terrifying Questions

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1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Hobart but my family went back to live in Melbourne when I was very small, and that’s where I grew up and went to school.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

I don’t have specific memories of what I wanted to do at those ages, though I did want to be a writer from very early on. But first I wanted to get some experience of the world, and being a journalist seemed like a great way to get a front row seat on events. So I took a very round about route to novel-writing, even though I was Continue reading

FILM: Patrick White’s The Eye of the Storm

FILM: The Eye of the Storm

Directed by Fred Schepisi

In a Sydney suburb, two nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth Hunter as her expatriate son and daughter convene at her deathbed. In dying, as in living, Mrs Hunter remains a formidable force on those around her. It is via Mrs Hunter’s authority over living that her household and children vicariously face death and struggle to give consequence to life.

Estranged from a mother who was never capable of loving them Sir Basil, a famous but struggling actor in London and Dorothy, an impecunious French princess, attempt to reconcile with her. In doing so they are reduced from states of worldly sophistication to floundering adolescence.

The children unite in a common goal – to leave Australia with their vast inheritance. Moving through Sydney’s social scene, they search for a way to fulfil their desire. Using the reluctant services of their family lawyer Arnold Wyburd, a man long Continue reading

FILM: The Pirates! Band of Misfits (from the makers of Wallace & Gromit)

In The Pirates! Band of Misfits, Hugh Grant stars in his first animated role as the luxuriantly bearded Pirate Captain — a boundlessly enthusiastic, if somewhat less-than-successful, terror of the High Seas. With a rag-tag crew at his side (Martin Freeman, Brendan Gleeson, Russell Tovey, and Ashley Jensen), and seemingly blind to the impossible odds stacked against him, the Captain has one dream: to beat his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) to the much coveted Pirate Of The Year Award.

It’s a quest that takes our heroes from the shores of exotic Blood Island to the foggy streets of Victorian London. Along the way they battle a diabolical queen (Imelda Staunton) and team up with a haplessly smitten young scientist (David Tennant), but never lose sight of what a pirate loves best: adventure!

The film is based on Gideon Defoe’s book The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists.

All The Pirates! books will be reissued before the film’s release.

Madeline Miller, author of The Song of Achilles, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Madeline Miller

author of The Song of Achilles

Ten Terrifying Questions

—————————–

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Boston, MA, but moved to New York City when I was still a baby. I spent my early years there, within walking distance of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. My mom would take me there twice a month, and let me choose the exhibit I wanted to see. I alternated: Egyptian or Ancient Greek.

For high school I moved to Philadelphia, PA, where I began taking Latin in earnest, and was lucky enough to have an absolutely terrific and inspiring teacher, who also offered extra-curricular Greek. I jumped at the Continue reading

FILM: The Adventures of Tintin : The Secret of the Unicorn


BOOK:
The Art of The Adventures of Tintin
Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are teaming up to launch The Adventures of Tintin in late 2011.

The Secret of the Unicorn, the first of two films, brings to life the enormously popular books by Hergé in performance-captured, 3D form. The conceptual design and visual effects for the movie are being created by Weta, the multi Academy Award-winning company who helped create global blockbusters such as Avatar, The Lord of the Rings, District 9, King Kong, The Chronicles of Narnia and many others.

The very same Weta artists who are working on the movie will be launching The Art of The Adventures of Tintin book in October 2011.

Readers will get the inside story on how the movie progresses from the original works, through the movie design process, to the final look on the Continue reading

Barry Maitland, author of Chelsea Mansions, answers Ten Terrifying Questions

The Booktopia Book Guru asks

Barry Maitland

author of Chelsea Mansions, Dark Mirrors and more

Ten Terrifying Questions

——————-

1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?

I was born in Paisley, an industrial city in Scotland. When I was five my family moved to London where I grew up and went to school.

2. What did you want to be when you were twelve, eighteen and thirty? And why?

At 12 I wanted to be an architect like my father; at 18 I wanted to run away to New York and become a painter like Continue reading

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