The Secret River

I read The Secret River in a week, which is usually a good sign, but not in this case.

I had heard good things about the book, and Sands really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading it, but as I turned each page I found myself wondering what all the fuss had been about (in terms of the book not the subject matter), and when it would start to get ‘interesting’.

The subject matter – convict shipped to Australia in the 1800’s, achieving a pardon, then reclaiming land from the Aborigines – is a powerful story that (still) doesn’t seem to be resolved and which nobody should be proud of. While reading this book I spoke a few times to an Australian lady here who works with the Aborigines, and the fact that the process of claiming the land off them is still ongoing sort of made the book seem like it was making light of a serious subject.

I found the book somewhat glib and lightweight, and wouldn’t recommend it.

4 thoughts on “The Secret River

  1. Wayne LeFevre

    Well I just spent the weekend reading the last Harry Potter. OK, it’s not heavy, (or as you quoted light,) as something so serious as the Aboriginies and land, it’s still one that must be read. (I really think that’s a law somewhere.) I am taking your suggestion for the last book you talked about since you liked it so much,A Fine Balance and have ordered it off Amazon.

  2. Chris Marshall Post author

    I will get the Harry Potter, but when it is in paperback as I have all 6 in paperback and I couldn’t face not having them all the ‘same’ on the shelf 🙂

    Will be interested in what you think of the book.

  3. Wayne LeFevre

    Though the secret of Harry Potter is probably well known by now, I am not going to spoil it. Which is one reason I wanted to read it now instead of accidentally stumbling upon the end somewhere. I thought it ended as well as it could, however, and appreciate her choice.

    That being said, One of the things that I’ve always had a gripe about is JK’s writing style when it comes to the battles or any action sequence. She jumps around a lot, and throws in these “magical” terms and names that no one could possibly know what it is at the same time, and makes the whole thing very disjointed and hard to follow. I found myself almost skimming past parts because they are overly long and makes you assume an awful lot.

    Other than that, I liked the whole series and it brings in a whole new generation of readers. It’s almost what the “John Carter of Mars” series did for me as a child, and I try to read at least a book a week.

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