‘Cairo’ by Chris Womersley

cairoFirst 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.



‘Playing with Fire’ by Tess Gerritsen

playing with fireWhat a fantastic book?! I loved it.

I certainly wasn’t expecting the story that was told in this book and yet once I got started I never wanted to put the thing down.

It has 2 story lines.

One is of Julia, a musician who finds a beautiful piece of music and upon playing it her daughter begins to act strangely (e.g. killing the family cat – poor kitty). No one believes Julia that her daughter is doing these strange things but Julia believes it to be the music.

The second story is of a Lorenzo, he lives in Venice, he’s a Jew and its just before the Second World War. He’s is the composer of the music Julia now owns.

The true star of this book is the haunting piece of music called ‘Incendio‘ and it is a real piece of music. YouTube it! It is amazing and those last few notes are beautifully played and makes the tears fall for all these characters.

Tess has managed to write a book where both stories compliment each other throughout. Neither is over shadowed by the other.  She has woven the historical facts of the Second World War into this story in an eerie way. I felt physically sick reading about what happened to Lorenzo in that camp and yet isn’t that the sign of a good writer to make me feel?

If I was to have one issue with this book, it would be how quick the story was wrapped up.  I’m guessing someone was calling ‘dinner’ when she got towards to the end! But this is a small issue in comparison to a great book, so i’ll forgive her.

This book has inspired me to read something else by Tess in the future. I look forward to what else she can teach me.

My Rating 5/5.

FYI – “incendio” is also the Harry Potter spell for making fire!