Sunday, July 01, 2007
Books - Book Review - Gilgamesh - Joan London
I love finding treasures, especially books on the street.
After a marathon 6 hour knitting session, I noticed a table with a sign that said "FREE BOOKS."
I parked my car, and both AS and I selected many books. Most of them were advance copies, but hey, a free book can be a great book, and I really hit the jackpot with this book.
Gilgamesh tells many stories. First all, the myth of Gilgamesh. If you don't know all the details, don't worry about it. It gets interweaven in the novel.
A second story is the Depression and WWII from unconventional places. Most of the Depression stories that I have read are from the U.S.; although it is sad, I enjoyed reading about it from an Australian farmer's perspective. Also, most of the information I have about WWII is from the European, Japanese, or US fronts; this story tells what happened in Armenia and how the people had horrible shortages.
A third story is how people from England survived in Australia as farmers after WWI. They went to Australia willingly and not on the convict ships in the 1700s. They were looking for new opportunities and received land grants. Many families survived; however, the open skies depressed Ada and the land was not kind to Frank. One daughter was happy to stay there; another one would not be.
Another story is an exploration of what family and home means and how it can change in various situations.
The main character, Edith grew up looking at the skies and the land, but she wanted more out of life. One day, her cousin from London comes to a visit and brings a friend, Aram from Armenia.
Leopold and Aram met at an archaelogical dig in Iraq. They had both travelled a lot in their youth.
However, Australia felt strange to Leopold. On his first night there, "The bush advanced. A herd of creatures seemed to be moving around the house, chewing and thudding, bumping agains the thin walls...Far away he could hear the crack of the surf. The air was cold."
Leopold, Aram, and Edith have an interesting times together. However, when they leave, she is sad. Then, she finds out she is pregnant, and feels that she must search for Aram to tell him about the child.
While in Armenia, she takes care of an elderly lady. "Asleep, it was as if she was alaready transformed into another state, withered and speckled, becoming nature, like old leaves or bark or stone...This was Edith's task, and she had discovered she was good at it. To give Tati form, bring her back into the world for one more day."
This novel won many prizes including the 2002 Age Award for Fiction and recognition for the 2004 Orange Prize Long List Nomination.
This will definately be on my list to recommend for my International Fiction Book Group.
Labels: Joan London