Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Long And Short Of It


Here is my review of Barracuda by Christos Tsiolkas: Wow. Fucking wow. Fucking AMAZING.

The End.



And here is the same review again, in a few more words:

 I read it a couple of weeks ago and I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop talking about it either but I am struggling to choose my adjectives, because all the ones I want to use sound like impossibly overblown hyperbole. Also, the kinds of words I am tempted to use are "visceral", "heartbreaking", and "searing" which make it sound like a difficult and dreary read when in fact it is so vibrant and tender and beautiful that I couldn't get enough of it. Never have I been more glad that a book was over 500 pages long.



I think the way Tsiolkas uses language is fantastic but what I really love is how he manages to get right to the heart of a matter, beyond layers many of us never even notice are there. I feel he has managed to write a novel both intimate and far-reaching. I was gripped from the very start and I loved every bit of it. It made me think AND feel. Barracuda is one of the most wonderful, deeply moving books I have read in a long, long time and I cannot urge the reading of it strongly enough.

It is such a treat to read a book so utterly well crafted yet nevertheless full of energy and vim. Tsiolkas has an excellent reputation in Australian literary circles which can only increase with this novel. My only hope is that when I write my review of his next book, Google will have caught on and not put a little red line under his name when I type it.

And just one final adjective before I sign off: breathtaking.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Girl Booker for this lovely and spoiler free review of Tsiolkas latest novel, Barracuda. I have pre-ordered the book weeks ago hoping to have it in a short while, after its release, here in Italy (where I live).
    I can easily and with great confidence say that Tsiolkas has become one of my favourite writers in these last years, if not my fave one. I really (really) can't wait for the book to be shipped and delivered at my place and I already know that the wait will be well rewarded by the reading of the novel.
    I love Tsiolkas's style, his enthralling and 'rapturing' prose and his ability to master words and to add to them a special delicate allure of intimacy and tenderness even though when they're used in a straightforward and a punch-in-the-guts way.
    Reading Christos' books always makes me feel close to Australia and I always find myself amazed and stunned at the similarities that draw nigh my country (Italy) to Australia and its society.
    Lately I've had the chance to read a fantastic report and personal view about refugees and racism (written by Tsiolkas in Sept. this year) and I had the feeling he was describing so perfectly well also talian dramatic situation, donno why but I feel so close to both Australia and Tsiolkas, and through his (half greek half austalian) eyes I can perfectly find myself and the world I live in.

    :)) Thank you again fo the review, and cheers from Rome.
    Mauro.

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    1. ps. sorry about the typos and mispelled words.. sigh

      'talian dramatic' = 'Italian dramatic'
      ;)) my english sometimes is a little bit dumb, like myself :)
      Mauro.

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    2. Mauro I do not think you will be disappointed; it was such a beautiful book (as I have already mentioned!!). I have read a couple of reviews that talk about it being a dark book but I actually thought it was about resilience and overcoming the past - I thought it was full of hope and the good in people. Let me know what you think when you have finished it - I would love to hear your opinion.

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  2. Okay, okay, I'll read the book!
    Happy now?

    Great review by the way :-)

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    1. Yes I am happy now! I think it might just be one of those rare books that you, Anne AND I like :)

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    2. I thought you might like to check this out too xoxo
      http://bronasbooks.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/2-in-1-classics-club-memebecause-i-can.html

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  3. I'm just about to start it, I hope I find it as mindblowing :)

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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    1. Shellyrae I hope so too. I think it has pretty broad appeal... I will be pushing it on as many people as possible for Christmas!

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