Saturday, March 8, 2014

"Sorry" by Gail Jones

This book was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2008, and was recommended to me by a lady who works in Dymocks bookshop in Rundle Mall as a great 'Aussie author'.

I found the actual writing style and prose of this book to be quite captivating, it was simply beautifully written. I enjoyed reading the book just for the beauty of the language used. However as the book progressed I was left a bit unsatisfied with the actual story; it was quite a short book (approximately 200 pages), and so many of the themes and characters could have been explored in more detail. All the characters seem to be lonely misfits in one way or another, and the characters and the story are all quite tragic, and pretty far-fetched and unbelievable in many ways. Little snatches of Shakespeare appear throughout the book, and while at first I enjoyed this, it soon became overdone and a bit ridiculous in the remote Outback setting. The main character, a girl named Perdita, lives in the outback with her two strange, apparently mentally-ill parents.  The book spends a lot of time skirting around a traumatic event in Perdita's life that leaves her with a debilitating stutter, and although it is finally explained towards the end of the book, there is no justice, so I found the ending pretty empty and sad. My favourite characters were Perdita's two friends - a deaf and mute boy, Billy, and an Aboriginal girl, Mary, - they were by far the characters that I felt the most empathy for, and I would have liked to read more about them, and less about Perdita and her melodramatic mother and unlikable father.

Started reading: 9th March 2014
Finished: 21st March 2014
My score: 6.5/10
Aussie Author Challenge stats: Female author, New to me, Genre: Literary fiction.


  1. I really appreciate your candid review Sarah. Although I have not read this particular title of Jones' I know what you mean about the her stories sometimes not living up to the outstanding quality of her prose.

  2. Thanks Joanne. After reading this book I looked around at a few reviews (including one of yours) of books by this author and found other reviewers also loved the writing/prose but didn't feel the actual story was that satisfying. It's a shame, because the writing is so beautiful. I think Hannah Kent's Burial Rites was equally beautifully written, but her book also had a well-told story.

  3. Thanks Merricks :-) It's nice to know some people read my reviews and enjoy them :-)