Fingers crossed

January 3, 2017

Sent my novel manuscript to a publisher for the first time.  Feelings would best be described as excitement and abject terror.



Eyrie – Tim Winton

September 7, 2016

Image result for eyrie tim winton

I like Tim Winston’s writing.  I like his highly readable prose and earthy, often funny, similes.  His characters are well defined and his descriptions of landscape evocative without being overwrought.  I even like the Australianess of his voice.  Sometimes it feels forced, but maybe that’s due to a bias born of the pervasiveness of American and English fiction. It’s partially for these reasons that Cloudstreet is one of my favourite novels.

All Winton’s strengths are present in his latest novel, Eyrie.   Despite this, it (pun intended) fails to soar, largely because it commits the cardinal sin of taking the reader for granted.

Eyrie centres on Tom Keely, a former environmental spokesperson who has shut himself away from the world in his apartment, high atop a notorious high rise for Freemantle’s down-and-out.  An undefined public scandal and divorce have left him a wreck of a man, broke, jobless, plagued by mysterious migraines and pain, only able to get through the day with booze and fistfuls of pills. Read the rest of this entry »

Who the hell are we?

February 24, 2016

First post for the All-Melbourne, All-International Writing Group. Woot!

All-Melbourne, All-International Writing Club

by Gabriel Ng

Welcome to the blog of the All-Melbourne, All-International Writer’s Club. Like it says in the blurb, we’re a group of writers based in Melbourne, Australia, who meet every couple of weeks to share our writing and get feedback on our work.

We’ve been meeting for a couple of years now. Credit for initial formation of the group should, I think, largely go to Adele. A few of us are refugees from another writing group (which will remain nameless for the reason of me being a coward) we found on  Meetup. Unfortunately, the megalomaniacal tendencies of that group’s convener drove away many of the saner attendees, but Adele, like a master talent scout, kept in touch with people who showed commitment to writing, receptiveness to feedback and a veneer of sanity. Then I ran into her in the street and she made an exception. Since, we’ve…

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams

January 4, 2015

Dirk Gently UK front cover.jpg

Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a funny book, both in the ha ha and peculiar sense. It introduces a lot of loosely connected plots about a computer programmer, an Electric Monk (which, for those that don’t know, is a kind of labour saving android that believes things on behalf of its owner), a dotty old Oxford Professor of Chronology, a millionaire philanthropist, his cellist sister, and a spoiled wannabe intellectual with a grudge. The titular character and antagonist doesn’t even enter the story proper until over a hundred pages in.

The first time I read this book about six years ago, I put it down half finished. Each plot seemed to amble along while the characters encountering complications ranging from mild to ridiculous, with only a vague promise that it would all tie together somehow to engage the reader.  During my recent reading, I found the same problem with the first half of the book, but I persisted. Read the rest of this entry »

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

July 27, 2014

Despite apparently being Australia’s most popular book, I put off reading Pride and Prejudice for a long time.  I imagined it to be about dreary, terribly proper English people gossiping about how some lady exposed her ankle at a ball, and engaging in chaste, bloodless courtships while having their boots polished by peasants. Since I’d seen The Bridget Jones Diary, I also thought I pretty much knew the whole plot.

Now that I finally picked it off the shelf, I know that I wasn’t really wrong on either of these counts. The only thing is that it’s all so well written that I couldn’t help enjoying Pride and Prejudice from beginning to end. Read the rest of this entry »

Les Miserables (Part 3) – 10 differences between the novel and musical

September 9, 2013

Do you like lists?  I like lists.  They’re fun.

1. Backstory.  Reading Les Miserables is like watching the reading the appendices of the musical – it gives you more backstory on the characters and era than you ever wanted to know.

2. Jean Valjean goes back to prison after he reveals himself in court to save the wrongly accused man.  He escapes by faking his own death.

3. Gavroche is the Thernadiers’ abandoned son.  They also have another daughter besides Eponine, and two more sons that they sell to be raised as nobles.

4. Jean Valjean and Corsette live in a monastery for most of her childhood.  Valjean first enters the monastery by using his mad-convict skillz to scale the outer wall.  He then smuggles himself out in a coffin, and re-enters by the front door to apply for the job of gardener. Read the rest of this entry »

Turner from the Tate @ The National Gallery of Australia

August 18, 2013

Went to the Turner exhibition in Canberra yesterday.  His panoramic landscapes are full of themes of awe and redemption, a world filled with deep shadows and ethereal hope.  He is forever the master of light and atmosphere.  You can almost feel the spray off the breaking waves in a dramatic seascape, or the soft, chilled morning sun over the mountains.

He was carried away by sunrises and moonrises, storms and clouds, like a man tossed about by the strength of his emotions.  A Romantic.  In many of his paintings, he cannot resolve the material world of people, buildings and ships with the landscape.  They often look stolid and out of place.  Only in his luminous visions of Venice and his almost abstract, Impressionistic later work are objects and atmosphere in harmony, as if he could only gain peace by concentrating on the elements of art, and white-washing the mundane.