July 2019

The Year of The FarmerThis month we discussed The Year of the Farmer by Rosalie Ham.

Many of us have a fondness for Rosalie Ham and have read and enjoyed The Dressmaker and her other novels, so we were looking forward to reading her latest book, The Year of the Farmer. It has her wonderful descriptions of landscape and entertaining Dickensian names for her characters, and she is obviously very passionate about rural communities and the sustainability of water resources for the environment as well as for primary production. Water is the novel’s primary theme and the whole district is on the brink of financial and social collapse because of years of entitlement, mismanagement, exploitation, and corruption as well as a prolonged drought. This is in fact the depressing reality for many farming districts and families throughout Australia but we found Ham’s treatment light weight even frivolous. The story offers a cast of cardboard cutout characters and they interact with “passive aggression, old grudges and fresh pique”. The narrative is reduced to a love story and a thinly veiled murder mystery.

So we were all disappointed to some degree and our ratings reflect that. Although most of us found it “a light and easy read”, we felt it lacked credibility, was unsubtle with its political agenda, clichèd and predictable.  While our hero Mitch was naively optimistic, he lacked in any self-determination or grit, his wife Mandy was wholly awful and he left all his problems to be solved by Neralie his childhood sweetheart. Ham goes on far too long about the technical details of irrigation and water trading but doesn’t offer any insights into the issues raised about who owns rivers systems or how to address ecological disaster. The barely token acknowledgement of Indigenous presence was an unacceptable oversight. Thanks to everyone for our bumper attendance and a great discussion.

Ratings: Cindy 3.5, Claudia 2.5, Di 3, Gail 2.5, Janet DNF, Jillian 2, Judith 2, Kim 3, Lynda 3, Margy 2, Nicola 3, Pauline 3, Rosemary 3.5, and Viv 2.5.

Our next meeting will be 12/08/19 at 6:30PM at Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops) to discuss Draw Your Weapons by Sarah Sentilles.

Hope to see you all there and happy reading!

 

About Us

We are a group that gets together once a month to discuss good books. Each of us gets to choose a book on a rotational basis, preferably one outside our personal comfort zone – we try to keep the trash to ourselves. After the discussion, we comment on other books we read that month. Most of the time we remain friends after the meeting.

Preece HouseWe meet at the 1948 heritage Preece House, 50 Nerang St Bischof Pioneer Park, Nerang (next to 54 Nerang St. shops. This venue has no toilet but here’s one in the park) on the second Monday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. excluding Public Holidays. A small contribution is required towards the rent of the room, but not if you are a first timer. The amount depends on the number of people attending.
One book title is chosen each month and we all read that book. There is a ‘host’ who introduces and co-ordinates the discussion. The role of host is rotated around the group so that each member has the opportunity to nominate their book (it could also be an author, theme or genre). The host also acts as chairperson for that meeting.
Although we are not a social club (we are readers), we occasionally attend literary events, relevant movies or plays here at the Gold Coast, Brisbane or Byron Bay. We conform to basic meeting practices and everyone has an equal opportunity to express their opinion. Everyone’s interpretation is valid, as long as it’s expressed respectfully.
We welcome any new members who share our aims and are happy to contribute to our group. Newcomers are not required to have read the book to attend the first meeting and no contribution is required from them.
Feel free to have a look at our Booklist for 2019 and Newsletters in the sidebar. If you are reading this blog in a mobile device, switch to desktop view.

CONTACT DETAILS

We meet from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the 2nd Monday of every month at the heritage listed Preece House located at Bischof Park, Nerang Street (next corner White St), Nerang next door to shops at 54 Nerang Street. Please contact us for info on meetings that fall on Public Holidays.
For more information use the contact form.

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