Monday, April 30, 2012
When Once Is Not Enough
Do you re-read your books? I do, and not because I don’t have anything else to read. Most of us who read know about The Power of One. My granddaughter introduced me to this book which has become famous around the world.
In Australia, Bryce Courtenay is the bomb. He’s as well known as Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman combined. In addition to The Power of One, he has written several other books set in Africa, one of which tears me apart every time I read it. In interviews, Bryce has said that Peekay in The Power of One is based on himself in his earlier life, but I suspect that the story of Tom Fitzsaxby in Whitethorn is also influenced by his early years.
I’m constantly amazed that Mr. Courtenay can capture so clearly the voice of a young boy as narrator for his stories. The humour, the heartbreak, the wonder, it’s all there in his exquisite prose. Not only are his stories hugely entertaining, but he manages to slip in some history in each book...some more than others.
It’s unfortunate that Mr. Courtenay isn’t more widely known in the US. I’m inspired by him, and if you go to his website at http://brycecourtenay.com I think you’ll be inspired too...especially the part about why he was kicked out of Africa.
My all-time favourite Bryce Courtenay book is Four Fires. Set in Australia, it has it all...family saga, a love story and a good dose of history. As with his African books, you gain insight into the lives of the characters as well as life in a small Australian town of that era. I never tire of this book.
I re-read lots of authors but while we’re “down under” there are two more authors whose books in my library clearly show the signs of having been read more than once: Colleen McCullough and Patricia Shaw. McCullough is of course widely known for The Thorn Birds, but I particularly enjoy Morgan’s Run, a gritty but ultimately satisfying tale. On the lighter side, Patricia Shaw writes what I loosely call adventure sagas, generally with a love story thrown in for good measure. She’s not easy to find in our local Canadian book stores, but the next time I order from Amazon, I’ll throw in a couple of Patricia Shaw books for good measure. I'll probably read those again as well.