Bruny by Heather Rose – Book Review

Set in a fictional Tasmania in the not-too-distant future, there is a bridge being built to join Bruny island to the mainland of Tasmania. After a terrorist attack which causes severe damage, the government changes laws to foreign workers to ensure the bridge is completed on time, allowing crews from China to be brought in and work shifts with the current crews. Astrid Coleman is brought in by the Premier, JC, her brother, to try to smooth the progress of the bridge with the many local protestors. Their sister, Max, is the leader of the opposition, so the family are divided, yet brought together by their father’s illness.

There’s a lot going on in this book. I couldn’t put it down, I was so keen to know how it was going to be resolved, and at times, I wanted to rush through some of the subplots to know the answer. It’s a book that raises a lot of questions, like could this actually happen? Will corruption and self-interest win out? Writing this during a shocking bushfire season with a disappointing response from the government, it feels as though corruption and self-interest are winning.

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose – Book Review

Inspired by the installation by artist Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present, Heather Rose tells the stories of people who visit the exhibition, either to sit and gaze into the eyes of Abramovic, or to watch those who do. In particular, there is Arky Levin, a composer whose wife is ill and refuses to allow him to visit. He’s torn by his love for her and what is right for him to do, and finds watching the interactions in the museum some kind of salve.

I was drawn in by the way Rose captured the experience of the show, and compelled by the characters she create and what they were doing. I loved it, and found it was one of those books that I never wanted to finish reading. I can’t stop recommending it to everyone I know. So read it!

The Museum of Modern Love won the 2017 Stellar Prize