April 27

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His Other House by Sarah Armstrong

I have waited 11 years for Sarah Armstrong’s new book. Her first novel, Salt Rain, was published in 2004 and it was a beauty. It is perched on my bookshelf where it will remain, always surviving my annual book purges (this is a necessity given the amount I own! Sometimes, you just have to clear ’em out as much as it hurts, trust me).

Sarah Armstrong is up there with my favourite female Australian writers Charlotte Woods, Nikki Gemmell, Helen Garner and Geraldine Brooks. So was the wait worth it? Yes, I think so. It is a good read.

There are three main characters. Dr Quinn Davidson, his wife Marianne and his lover Rachel and as the saying goes, two’s company, three is a train wreck. Dear old Quinn is a selfish, lying git and of course, gets himself and everyone around him in a giant mess that is the proverbial ticking time-bomb. Told in two parts, the first focusses on the building of the bomb. The second is all about the fallout and collateral damage when it goes off.

What this guy sets up is so very sad and heartbreaking but Sarah Armstrong handles each of the characters with grace and respect so you certainly feel for them all – in varying degrees, of course.

It is all secrets and lies and smoke and mirrors so let’s face it, it’s perfect for a book club!

COURAGE and MORALITY are two key themes so it will get the juices going and the moral compasses raging well and truly. And when you add the powerhouse themes TRUTH and LOVE, well you have a mighty recipe for some book-club argy bargy.

But that is just my two cents worth.