Absolute aural joy

Thanks to my friend ST’s excellent book review site Whispering Gums I discovered the writings of Tasmanian Heather Rose.

My first Rose novel was Bruny, and I could scarcely leave iTunes, once I started listening. So much did I like it that I sent an email to her publisher to express my absolute pleasure in this terrific novel. (I got an acknowledgement from the Publisher, but I doubt that my email was passed on ..)

To me, that’s a somewhat underwhelming grab, even if all those things are true: they seem, somehow, to reduce the book to something less than it is. I have, I must admit, no alternative to present to this (to me) unsatisfying statement. Just be assured that this is my favourite book since Truth*, and that’s saying something !

So, with 1 credit available on Audible, I searched under Rose’s name and came up with The Butterfly Man. Audible’s précis is attention-grabbing, and I very willingly rendered up my last current credit. I must confess here that I am avoiding Rose’s The Museum of Modern Love, simply because I read of it when I was in Cluny mode, and was put off. (No, there’s no way of comprehending how my mind works: heaven knows, I’ve tried ..)

It’s really difficult to describe this book. Maybe if I tell you that it caused me to wonder how in the name of all the gods someone can put together such amazing fiction – so intelligent, so fascinating, so creative, so .. appealing ! .. then you might get some idea of the effect it had on me. I listened to it with awe for Rose’s skill – but that came after the actual listening response; and that was utter enjoyment.

I’ve often discussed with other audiobook ‘readers’ the importance of a book’s narrator. In Rose’s case, both Bruny’s Zoe Carides and The Butterfly Man’s Humphrey Bower are – well, ideal. Perfect choices, happily for me and for their other audiobook listeners. In fact, it’s my firm opinion – yes indeed, they are all firm ! [grin] – that listening to Bower’s gentle Scottish accent provides a better all-round experience that merely reading the book could. Mais chacun son goût.

I don’t intend to start posting book reviews, many will be happy to learn; but I haven’t experienced such pleasure in ‘reading’ two books by the one writer since the wonderful Peter Temple – all nine of whose novels are up there on top of my list.


*Peter Temple is now and always will be my favourite writer in the world. The news of his death hit me like a blow and took me a long time to recover from.