First book club book of 2018. Not a book I would normally be drawn to. But isn’t that the point of joining a book club.
The book is written by a “melbournite” and is probably a large reason why I enjoyed reading this book. Having spent the better part of 5 years living in the same suburbs these characters live in, it was like being back there. The descriptions of the city were detailed and well done and at times I felt he had painted a great picture of what it is to live in inner-Melbourne.
I will admit right now that I don’t know that much about art. I’m very much of the view that if I enjoy looking at it, it’s a winner. Of course, making this admission would probably mean that the main characters of Max, Edward, Sally and Gertrude would probably want nothing to do with me.
At times I did find that my lack of art knowledge meant that I needed to do a little research throughout this book to keep up. However, educational as it was, as I never knew about the art heist of the ‘weeping woman’. So that was interesting to learn about.
Tom (our narrator) moves into Cairo the apartment block and is befriended by Max. To put it nicely, Max is a whack-a-doodle. He is fascinating to both Tom and us the reader. He has interesting friends and views. His wife Sally seemed quiet in comparison to him and is Tom’s love interest.
The book moved at a good pace once you got about 60 pages in and had met Max and co., prior to that I was ready to walk away from it.
It has many iconic Melbourne/Aussie items in it and generally the characters are likeable as you begin to get to know them more. Max is the only one that I have mixed emotions about throughout the book. He sleeps around, hits his wife, bullies his friends, kills a person and generally things everything should be his way. Towards the end I wanted Tom to work out this man was not a good man. Which he does and he tries to show Sally the truth too. However, she’s too far gone.
My one left over question that I would like confirmed is …. Is Sally’s baby fathered by Tom???
My rating 3/5.