A local cinema has been showing classic movies recently and I had the great pleasure of watching The Philadelphia Story on the big screen – the original 1940 version with a very young Jimmy Stewart playing a tabloid journalist, Macaulay Connor, and Katherine Hepburn as the reclusive heiress, Tracy Lord. Both characters despise each other on contact but there follows a wonderful scene in a library that illustrates beautifully the complex relationship and dialogue that exists between author and reader and I couldn’t help thinking about how true it still felt 72 years later.
Siddon Rock is the debut novel from Blue Mountains author Glenda Guest. I had the great luck to be shown some sample chapters of this book while it was being shown around to publishers and I have kept up to date with its progress through what can sometimes seem the industrial process of modern publishing process. I was impressed from the very first line and hooked after the first chapter and now that the book has finally made it all the way to the bookshop shelves I am very glad to see that the sparkle of those early drafts has survived and prospered.
The dense brevity of this book makes it a perfect starting point for those who wish to quickly assay themselves with the most compelling atheist arguments before tackling more in depth works such as the God Delusion or The End of Faith. For card carrying atheists, reading this book will feel like an inspiring battle cry. For everyone else, the book makes bold statements that are thought-provoking but not entirely irrefutable and should at least provide the basis for much debate.
The Lizard Cage is a beautiful, lyrical novel about a savage dictatorship and those who continue to stand against it. It is the work of a serious young talent and a deserved winner of the Orange Broadband Prize for New Writers in 2007.