March meeting : Any book by Ruth Park
Rating : excellent
All members enjoyed their Ruth Park experience. Some readers ‘met’ the author for the first time, others revisited a favourite author.
Park is renowned as one of Australia’s most distinguished, widely read and loved authors. Many of her books reflect her childhood spent in New Zealand, her experiences of the Great Depression and the hardships she endured. Park documented extreme poverty, wrote about tolerance, resourcefulness, charity and human reactions from the inspiring to the degrading. Many experiences are based on her time spent living in Surry Hills, in inner Sydney. Park has recorded her fascination with the city’s culture, stimulating a sense of place, vividly present in her writing. She evokes powerful sounds, smells and emotions through her rich gallery of characters as she describes their emotions, displaying her immense knowledge of Australian-Irish Catholic heritage, and exposing the dark underside of human behaviour. Park was a prolific writer for over six decades.
Books read include :
‘A power of roses’ – comments
*Park paints a wonderful picture, especially the description of the jumble sale, although too graphic at times (cats meat stew), she evokes nostalgia (the power of the Catholic Church especially the Nuns) and the descriptions of Sydney living
‘Poor man’s orange’ – comments
A most enjoyable book, heartwarming, Park displays a unique writing style, presents real characters, enjoyed reading about historic Sydney, the abject poverty, working class man’s lifestyle, neglect of children yet tough discipline,
‘Missus’ – comments
Initially didn’t relate to the Irish/Catholic theme, women in the workforce is the opposite today’s model and attitudes to women in general, descriptive writer
‘Witch’s thorn’ set in NZ, bizarre, funny, innocent fun of school time early 1950s, racist white versus Maoris.
‘Dear hearts and gentle people’ set in NZ, “one of the most marvellous things about NZ is the fact that you only have to knock on the door and there you are in the past…”, nostalgic, endearing characters