Culture Street asked me to select five books of influence. One of those shoe-horning exercises best completed on top of the doona on a Saturday afternoon, besocked for smoother leverage, with a laptop and White Rabbit (beer not magical friend). There are of course so many books I had to leave out but here are the ones I chose that day, all of which I feel deeply for:
And here are another five beauties that were particularly useful while writing Leap:
The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham
We all know what a fantastic novel this is. The central character Tilly is smart, funny, beguiling, complex, and was one of the inspirations for my main man Joe. The Dressmaker is usually referred to as a novel of revenge but I somehow read it as a story about making good (fine line?) and the art of displacement - one of the central themes in Leap. Can't wait to see Kate Winslet trying on Tilly.
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Just so brilliant on motive in action and the long haul of guilt.
The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Not only because of the tiger and fine writing but because the main character constructs such an elaborate, exquisite fantasy to avoid the pain of loss.
A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka
Truly LOL funny while also being incisive about family in all its oddity, beauty and dysfunction. I drew heavily on this book to construct Lena.
Judas Child by Carol O'Connell
Carol (with whom I share a birthday, incidentally) is an excellent crime writer. I read this about ten years ago when reclining on a beach somewhere and was appropriately thrilled by her twisty twist. Reread it while writing Leap to try to, well, copy, but you're not going to find any spoilers here.