Saturday, February 22, 2014

"The Lieutenant" by Kate Grenville

I went into the Rundle Mall Dymocks bookshop last weekend, and asked a staff member there if they had a section for Australian fiction books. The helpful woman said that although they didn't have a section dedicated to Australian fiction, she could suggest a few authors that she thought were great Aussie authors. She recommended a few that I have already read and loved (such as Hannah Kent's "Burial Rites" and ML Stedman's "Light between oceans"), but she also suggested a few that were new to me (perfect for the Aussie Author Challenge), including Kate Grenville's "The Lieutenant" and Gail Jones' "Sorry".

I decided to try her suggestion of "The Lieutenant" by Kate Grenville first. The book is an historical novel (one of my favourite genres) set mainly in Sydney during the late 1700s. The main character, Lieutenant Daniel Rooke, is an astronomer with the First Fleet. He establishes a make-shift observatory just outside the convict settlement in order to look out for and record Halley's comet. The main focus of the book becomes the relationship that forms between David and a small group of native Aboriginals he befriends - in particular a child called Tagaran. While initially he is most interested in learning their language, a strong bond develops between them which has quite powerful effects on the path his life takes, contrasting starkly with the attitudes of the military/convict settlement of the time.

I really enjoyed this book. It was really beautifully written, the words seem to capture the essence of the wild landscape, the slice of history and the nature of humans. Kate Grenville has written several other books (both fiction and non-fiction) and I definitely will be reading more of her books in the future! Thank you to the helpful woman at the Dymocks bookstore for recommending this author to me! :-)

Started reading: 22nd February 2014.
Finished: 28th February 2014
My score: 8.5/10

Aussie Author Challange 2014: The author is Female, New to me, Genre: Historical novel.

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