Our First Thursday Book Club meets at 7:30 pm on the first Thursday of every month to discuss the latest literary prizewinner. All are welcome and no RSVP is necessary. Download the program here, or see below for upcoming meetings.
September 5th 2019: The Overstory – Richard Powers (winner Pulitzer Prize 2019)
A wondrous, exhilarating novel about nine strangers brought together by an unfolding natural catastrophe
An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies, and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. An Air Force crewmember in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan.
This is the story of these and five other strangers, each summoned in different ways by the natural world, who are brought together in a last stand to save it from catastrophe.
‘The best novel ever written about trees, and really, just one of the best novels, period’
October 3rd 2019: Taking Tom Murray Home – Tim Slee (winner Banjo Prize 2019)
The winner of the inaugural Banjo Prize, Taking Tom Murray Home is a funny, moving, bittersweet Australian story of fires, families and the restorative power of community.
Bankrupt dairy farmer Tom Murray decides he’d rather sell off his herd and burn down his own house than hand them over to the bank. But something goes tragically wrong, and Tom dies in the blaze. His wife, Dawn, doesn’t want him to have died for nothing and decides to hold a funeral procession for Tom as a protest, driving 350 kilometres from Yardley in country Victoria to bury him in Melbourne where he was born. To make a bigger impact she agrees with some neighbours to put his coffin on a horse and cart and take it slow – real slow.
But on the night of their departure, someone burns down the local bank. And as the motley funeral procession passes through Victoria, there are more mysterious arson attacks. Dawn has five days to get to Melbourne. Five days, five more towns, and a state ready to explode in flames …
Told with a laconic, deadpan wit, Taking Tom Murray Home is a timely, thought-provoking, heart-warming, quintessentially Australian story like no other. It’s a novel about grief, pain, anger and loss, yes, but it’s also about hope – and how community, friends and love trump pain and anger, every time.