En route book review #7

Hmm. It seems I may have given the impression that I hated The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I didn’t; I just didn’t see why people love it so much. I found it a cold book; the characters are all head and no heart – I very rarely got the sense they were fleshy, pulsing beings, which I didn’t like – but even so I’m left wondering whether I missed some crucial point. Or maybe I should just accept that I don’t like thrillers and leave it at that. Much like I ignore anyone who tells me to listen to death metal or go to an exhibition of impressionist painters because, while there’s nothing wrong with these things, I know they’re not for me.

Seriously though: what did I miss?

This is not helping me get to the point of this post. The point of this post is Julian Corkle is a Filthy Liar by DJ Connell, an uncorrected proof I picked up for free at the Bookswap. And it’s perhaps the book I’ve enjoyed most on this trip of mine. Imagine, if you will, a Tasmanian version of Beautiful People (I certainly found that it helped to visualise Samuel Barnett while reading). Julian Corkle has panache, a desire for stardom and a knack for hairdressing, none of which goes down very well in macho 1970s Tasmania. It generally keeps quite a light tone but occasionally veers into darkness – as is only right and proper when writing about being adolescent and gay in a society that really doesn’t approve of ‘poofs in coloured shirts’. Julian’s an antihero that I stuck with even when he’s being infuriatingly annoying, and I’ll forgive the book its Hollywood-feelgood-ending because it’s carried off with only a hint of self-conscious corniness.

Not a classic, but an amusing read with a host of good, funny, down-to-earth characters. I think it’s out properly in July, and I’ll recommend it.


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