20 Feb 2017

THE SILENT KOOKABURRA.

THE SILENT KOOKABURRA by LIZA PERRAT.

BACK COVER BLURB: All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives - the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.

Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.

Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web.

 Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory.

FIRST SENTENCE {CHAPTER 1: 2016}: Knuckles blanch, distend as my hands curves around the yellowed newspaper pages and my gaze hooks onto the headlines.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {PAGE 57}: Mum took a Valium with her milk, the pills the doc had prescribed for anxiety and sleeplessness in those sad times after the unborn babies. She crushed part of another tablet into the bottle she made up for Shelley's night feed, along with a dose of Old Lenny's Coca-Cola.

SOURCE: Received for review from the author.

READ FOR: Not applicable.

MY THOUGHTS: YAY! With three previous works of amazing historical fiction under her belt, Liza Perrat does it again with, no, not another historical fiction, but this, a novel of psychological suspense. And my, is the suspense palpable.

In a total about-change from her previous novels which are set in rural France, The Silent Kookaburra, a truly chilling read made all the more so by the fact its narrated by eleven year old Tanya Randall, is set in 1970's Australia. 

Taunted by many of her peers and with a mother who has mental health problems, I saw much of my younger self in the pre-pubescent Tanya. But it wasn't Tanya, nor indeed her seemingly dysfunctional parents, who captured my imagination so much as Nanna Purvis. 

A relative many of us growing up in the early 1960's to late 1970's will recognise. An opinionated character who, 'tells it as she sees it', Nanna Purvis is as ignorant as much as she is prejudiced but, with her 'very cow's veins' and friendship with Old Lenny, provides some wonderfully light moments which considering the books themes - severe depression, adultery, paedophilia, the death of a baby, etc - are sorely needed. 

Every inch the tale of a family struggling with its demons .. past and present.  Though without a doubt dark, there is nothing gratuitous in the author's writing. Indeed I commend her wonderful story-telling for the fact that whilst of course I wanted Tanya's tormentor to get their comeuppance (who wouldn't?) at the same time a part of me came to understand that they too had their demons albeit ones that could never justify their heinous actions.



17 comments:

Kelly said...

This sounds marvelous! Having also enjoyed her historical fiction trilogy, I'll put this one on my wish list for future reference. I need to get caught up on my must-reads so I can dip into things like this.

Great review!

Gina R said...

Wow. It sounds like the author handled the darkness well and have us at the very least two memorable characters to really carry it home. Thanks for the fab review!

frayed at the edge said...

Read your review, turned on the Kindle,and bought the book!!

So many books, so little time said...

I like the sound of this one Tracy, never read this author, off to have a nosey at her work!

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Elizabeth said...

I read one of her books...very good.

Nice review.

Thanks for coming by my blog earlier, Tracy.

Elizabeth

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

I have the same earlier books by Liza, as both yourself and Kelly have read and enjoyed, still on my Kindle and I am shaking my head in shame at having to admit that.

Adding this one to my list is a definite 'no brainer'. I also had one special nanna in my childhood, who would always stand up for me and fight my corner (you might well say that she plain spoiled me!!) and that relationship was always very personal and just between the two of us.

I can also relate to some of the more serious issues which crowded Tanya's childhood, so it will be interesting to discover just how Liza deals with them.

Thanks for sharing :)

Yvonne

Suko said...

Excellent, enthusiastic review! I like how you described the suspense as palpable. I will keep an eye out for this book.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I don't think I know the author, but that's great you really enjoyed this one. I do love a good suspense book and this sounds really intriguing.

-Lauren

Brian Joseph said...

Great commentary Tracy. The book sounds very good.

I certainly remember characters like Nanna Purvis when growing up. I am thinking that theer are a few folks like that still around :)

nightwingsraven said...

Tracy,
An excellent review. And this
sounds like a dark and haunting
book which I would appreciate very
much. I have added it to my list.
Raven

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Loved your review, Tracy. Sounds intense and one I'd need to be in the mood for reading. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Natasha Hill said...

This sounds so good and your enthusiastic review definitely has me hooked! I'm on the lookout for new books at the moment, as I am about to finish my current few books I've been reading on and off so this comes at a good time! Will definitely have to pick a copy of this up soon. - Tasha

kimbacaffeinate said...

The teasers hooked me. Wonderful review. I added it to my wishlist.

Tracy Terry said...

Barbara Fisher said...
I can’t read the words gumnut blossom without thinking about May Gibb and her Gumnut babies. I wonder if that is where the author got the idea from, or perhaps it’s common to use that term for babies in Australia. Anyway that aside, I really want to read this it sounds wonderful. I kept losing track of my books wanted list, so I’ve started a ‘secret’ board on Pinterest and have just added this one to it. Actually, I might change the board from secret to public - I have nothing to hide! :-)

20 February 2017 at 14:49 Delete

Literary Feline said...

This sounds really good, Tracy! I am so glad you enjoyed this one. I will definitely have to check it out. Paedophilia is generally a turn off for me in books, as is adultery, but I think in this case it would be worth reading.

Melliane said...

It's nice to see she is great into another genre as well!

Karen Alderman said...

While not a huge fan of thrillers - I do love books set in Australia.

And thumbs up for authors that can write several genres well.

Karen @For What It's Worth