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The Fern Tattoo
by David Brooks | Literature & Fiction
Registered by livrecache of Hobart, Tasmania Australia on 5/31/2008
Average 7 star rating by BookCrossing Members 

status (set by jeniwren): to be read


8 journalers for this copy...

Journal Entry 1 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Saturday, May 31, 2008

This book has not been rated.

One of the books in the Miles Franklin shortlist challenge.

Kevin Rabelais, in The Australian, finds the novel difficult to get into at the start, but he warms to the style and concept as he goes: "One of the achievements of The Fern Tattoo, Brooks's second novel and fifth work of fiction, resides in its refusal to distinguish between truth and lies...The novel proceeds slowly, with meandering sentences -- at times needlessly long, for Brooks tends to reiterate -- and minimal dialogue. His prose demands patience and aspires to a lyrical quality that it often fails to achieve. While rhythmic, his sentences are laden with the kinds of inessentials, most notably a plethora of adverbs, that weaken the narrative's authority. Brooks is a stylist in the sense that he writes as much for his reader's ear as for their eye. His sentences can evoke several senses at once, as when he describes the 'continuous scream of summer heat'...With The Fern Tattoo, Brooks has given us an ambitious novel about how stories outlive and form us."

Judith Armstrong in The Australian tends to concur: "This is a novel structured like a mosaic, each chip, big or little, complete in itself, but deriving its ultimate significance from a larger, as yet undisclosed, scenario. Not until most of the pieces are in place does the overall schema become even half clear, and then you must take a pencil and paper and do a lot of working out for yourself, in an effort to give to somthing resembling a jigsaw puzzle, disordered and fragmentary, the teleology and linearity associated with both history and narrative shape.' Which may sound like a lot of work for the reader, but Armstrong concludes that "..the writing is simply too masterly not to be, in itself, a spectacular reward."


Bookring order -

livrecache
DrCris
freelunch
tqd
fleebo the book is here
jubby
crimson-tide
jeniwren

Back to livrecache.

Bookring guidelines:

Please ensure you do the following:

1. Make a journal entry when the book arrives safely.
2. Please try to read the book within 6-8 weeks of receiving it (or make a journal entry to let us know how you're getting on if you need longer)
3. When finished, journal your thoughts about the book.
4. PM the next person on the list and send it to him or her.



 


Journal Entry 2 by livrecache from Hobart, Tasmania Australia on Saturday, January 10, 2009

This book has not been rated.

All these months, and I haven't even read this book!

As I'm sending books to DrCris I'll slip it in with those . . . 


Journal Entry 3 by DrCris from Templestowe, Victoria Australia on Monday, January 19, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely with me. Seems like everyone has been a but remiss in reading these Booker nominees. I have a liong list at the moment, so it will take a month or so to get moving again. 


Journal Entry 4 by DrCris from Templestowe, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, February 03, 2009

This book has not been rated.

I started reading this book yesterday. Already got caught up in the story. Hopefully, I will get through it quickly 


Journal Entry 5 by DrCris from Templestowe, Victoria Australia on Tuesday, February 17, 2009

9 out of 10

Captivating. Simply gorgeous. Very intricate tale with lots of interweavings. I'm not sure I even have it clear in my head now. An immediate re-read is very tempting. Instead, I will send it on the the next reader. 


Journal Entry 6 by freelunch from Cairns, Queensland Australia on Sunday, February 22, 2009

This book has not been rated.

received today, thanks to DrCris for passing it on and to livrecache for making it available. 


Journal Entry 7 by freelunch from Cairns, Queensland Australia on Monday, March 02, 2009

9 out of 10

Immensely enjoyable. I got a little lost in places, but I feel this may have been the author's intention.

I'll be posting it on to tqd later this morning (and not keeping it for my wife to read first as previously arranged) 


Journal Entry 8 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, March 09, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Have to say I wasn't expecting this one so soon, I was hoping it'd turn up after I'd knocked a few more bookrings off Mt TBR first! I'll give it a while, and if I don't start it by next meetup (bookdrinks!), I'll pass it on unread (and try to hop on again later). The reviews by previous readers are tempting me though, it does sound good (and I've enjoyed all the Miles Franklin shortlisted books I've read so far...).

Argh, damned temptation. 


Journal Entry 9 by tqd from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Thursday, June 18, 2009

7 out of 10

Am of two minds about this book. When I liked it, I really really liked it (the haunting ghost stories; the whole concept of interwoven stories that tell our narrator about his unknown family; the incredibly well drawn and fascinating characters; the stories themselves), but there were sections that just drove me nuts at the same time (his sentences run on worse than mine do and possibly have more asides which made for some bloody difficult reading at times; the snippets of stories that I never quite worked out what or who they were about; the sudden jumping about just as I thought I was getting a handle on it). I'm torn, the good bits were so good, and the annoying bits were extremely annoying because they got in the way of the good bits!

I'd like to sit down and re-read it right again, right now. But I don't have the time. I'm also toying with putting together a chart of all the characters and how they all fit together to save future readers of this bookring any potential headaches for trying to work out how it all fits together, but I think that would be serious spoiler material!

I have Fleebo's address, and she's up for another bookring, so shall pop this in the post asap. Thanks livrecache for the ring! 


Journal Entry 10 by tqd at Balmain, New South Wales Australia on Friday, August 21, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Released 8 yrs ago (8/20/2009 UTC) at Balmain, New South Wales Australia

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

How long did this take to get into the post? I won't regale you with tales of discovering it was just too big to fit into a 500g pre-paid satchel after standing in long queues at the Post Office (no way was I finding an envelope and rejoining that queue!), and forgetting to take it to meetup (bookdrinks!) the one night I've managed to make it lately, etc etc and so forth.

But it is now, finally, in the post to fleebo.

Happy reading! 


Journal Entry 11 by Fleebo from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, August 24, 2009

This book has not been rated.

Received safely from tqd. Thank you! 


Journal Entry 12 by Fleebo from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Friday, January 01, 2010

6 out of 10

Sorry this has taken so long.
I really didn't care for this book once I got past the first, enjoyable, part and found that it turned into a bunch of vaguely connected vignettes, none of which grabbed my attention due to an extreme lack of getting into any characters' heads. I have not the slightest inkling of why a librarian decided to get a full-body tattoo, for example.
I didn't actually read the second half of the book properly at all. Thanks for the opportunity anyway.
 


Journal Entry 13 by jubby from Sydney, New South Wales Australia on Monday, January 11, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Another day, another bookring.

THank you very much for sharing this bookring with me. Hopefully I can get to it soon, or will post on. 


Journal Entry 14 by jubby at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Released 7 yrs ago (2/10/2010 UTC) at Bookring, A Bookring -- Controlled Releases

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Posted to Crimson-tide. Comments to come. 


Journal Entry 15 by wingcrimson-tidewing from Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Friday, February 26, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Arrived this week while I was out of town for a few days. Thanks very much. Don't know much at all about this book and looks like it engenders varying reactions, so that should make it interesting reading. 


Journal Entry 16 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Sunday, July 18, 2010

7 out of 10

So sorry to have held onto it for so long. In summary, I'm with tqd . . . there was much to like about this novel, and much that frustrated the hell out of me. Does the man not know the meaning of a short sentence????

I enjoyed the linking of story and character but was totally at a loss as to why some sections were in there. Having to reread many of those meandering, pretentious sentences just to be able to link the conclusion to the initial thought slows everything down too much, weakens the narrative and annoys the reader. Way too much extraneous detail. Most characters were well portrayed; we didn't always understand why some people behaved as they did, but that's human nature I guess. One huge flaw though, was that the old lady was telling stories about some things that in my opinion she wouldn't have been given the details about. Can't elaborate without spoilers.

So all told - I enjoyed it but wouldn't rave, glad I read it but probably wouldn't recommend it.

Off to jeniwren soon. 


Journal Entry 17 by wingcrimson-tidewing at Balingup, Western Australia Australia on Monday, July 19, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Released 7 yrs ago (7/19/2010 UTC) at Balingup, Western Australia Australia

CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:

Off to jeniwren as the next reader in the Ring. 


Journal Entry 18 by wingjeniwrenwing at Greigs Flat, New South Wales Australia on Monday, July 26, 2010

This book has not been rated.

Arrived safely in my hands after a walk to my mailbox in the glorious winter sunshine. Thanks to livrecache for making this available and to crimson-tide for sending on. I have read the previous journal entries and thoughts and it looks like this may live up to its *challenge*.
I have several books in line before I can start this one but should have it returned to its home territory within the next few months.  


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