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Book Club - Tony Birch's Women & Children

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Manage episode 381901845 series 2381791
Treść dostarczona przez 2SER 107.3FM. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez 2SER 107.3FM lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.

Tony Birch is the author of novels, poetry and short fiction. You’ve met him on the show before with his collection Dark as Last Night which won the Steele Rudd award at the Queensland Literary Awards. Today Tony is joining us with his new novel Women & Children.

Joe Cluny lives with his Mum and his sister Ruby. He attends the local Catholic school where he generally wishes he got in less trouble and could avoid the hell the nuns keep threatening him with.

Joe’s no stranger to violence, getting the strap more often than accolades at school. In Joe’s world there’s plenty of violence to go around and his sister Ruby has warned him that you don’t ask questions about other people’s bruises.

But then when one day Joe’s aunt Oona arrives at the house bruised and shaken, Joe’s mother must act to keep her from further harm. Joe doesn’t understand what is happening but he will come to learn how much violence lurks in all their lives and what it takes to stand up to it.

Tony Birch’s Women & Children takes us back in time but not so far that we won’t recognise the behaviors and attitudes that fuel domestic violence and fear. Through Joe Cluny’s eyes we see a world where beatings and even the threat of violence are used to control people, beginning in the institutions where children should feel safest.

The novel is about the reality of this violence but it is not the perpetrators that are central to the books. As the title suggests, Birch zooms in on the lives of the Women & Children who must face up to the daily grind of fear and how they are able to carve out space for themselves.

Joe is a powerful character, whose perspective allows the reader to indulge their incredulity at the prevalence and frequency of beatings across all levels of life. Through Joe we are able to witness the horrible injuries which his aunt arrives with and understand that these are shocking but also understood. Joe reminds us that even at an age when this should all be foreign he knows that this can happen.

Against this we see Joe’s mother Marion, his aunt Oona and even his teenage sister work themselves up to the point that they can resist, whatever that may look like.

Through Joe we see the horrible paradox as a vicious cycle, where only more violence might see an end. The constant remonstrations that Joe shouldn’t be witness to this only serve to reinforce that violence perpetuates itself.

Birch counters this narrative through the friendship between Joe’s Grandfather Charlie and Ranji Khan. The two men meet and discuss their lives in the manner of showmen regaling an audience and through their comradery give Joe a glimpse of life well lived through bonds built on love.

As Joe explores Charlie’s collections and Ranji Khan’s bric-a-brac it may well be that he finds the solution to all their problems but, the narrative asks us; will it be right to use it?

Loved this review?

You can get more books, writing and literary culture every week on the Final Draft Great Conversations podcast. Hear interviews with authors and discover your next favourite read!

Book Club is produced and presented by Andrew Pople

Want more great conversations with Australian authors?

Discover this and many more conversations on Final Draft every week from 2ser.

Get in touch with Andrew and Final Draft. We love to hear about what you’re reading!

Twitter - https://twitter.com/finaldraft2ser

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/finaldraft2ser/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/finaldraft2ser/

  continue reading

402 odcinków

Artwork
iconUdostępnij
 
Manage episode 381901845 series 2381791
Treść dostarczona przez 2SER 107.3FM. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez 2SER 107.3FM lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.

Tony Birch is the author of novels, poetry and short fiction. You’ve met him on the show before with his collection Dark as Last Night which won the Steele Rudd award at the Queensland Literary Awards. Today Tony is joining us with his new novel Women & Children.

Joe Cluny lives with his Mum and his sister Ruby. He attends the local Catholic school where he generally wishes he got in less trouble and could avoid the hell the nuns keep threatening him with.

Joe’s no stranger to violence, getting the strap more often than accolades at school. In Joe’s world there’s plenty of violence to go around and his sister Ruby has warned him that you don’t ask questions about other people’s bruises.

But then when one day Joe’s aunt Oona arrives at the house bruised and shaken, Joe’s mother must act to keep her from further harm. Joe doesn’t understand what is happening but he will come to learn how much violence lurks in all their lives and what it takes to stand up to it.

Tony Birch’s Women & Children takes us back in time but not so far that we won’t recognise the behaviors and attitudes that fuel domestic violence and fear. Through Joe Cluny’s eyes we see a world where beatings and even the threat of violence are used to control people, beginning in the institutions where children should feel safest.

The novel is about the reality of this violence but it is not the perpetrators that are central to the books. As the title suggests, Birch zooms in on the lives of the Women & Children who must face up to the daily grind of fear and how they are able to carve out space for themselves.

Joe is a powerful character, whose perspective allows the reader to indulge their incredulity at the prevalence and frequency of beatings across all levels of life. Through Joe we are able to witness the horrible injuries which his aunt arrives with and understand that these are shocking but also understood. Joe reminds us that even at an age when this should all be foreign he knows that this can happen.

Against this we see Joe’s mother Marion, his aunt Oona and even his teenage sister work themselves up to the point that they can resist, whatever that may look like.

Through Joe we see the horrible paradox as a vicious cycle, where only more violence might see an end. The constant remonstrations that Joe shouldn’t be witness to this only serve to reinforce that violence perpetuates itself.

Birch counters this narrative through the friendship between Joe’s Grandfather Charlie and Ranji Khan. The two men meet and discuss their lives in the manner of showmen regaling an audience and through their comradery give Joe a glimpse of life well lived through bonds built on love.

As Joe explores Charlie’s collections and Ranji Khan’s bric-a-brac it may well be that he finds the solution to all their problems but, the narrative asks us; will it be right to use it?

Loved this review?

You can get more books, writing and literary culture every week on the Final Draft Great Conversations podcast. Hear interviews with authors and discover your next favourite read!

Book Club is produced and presented by Andrew Pople

Want more great conversations with Australian authors?

Discover this and many more conversations on Final Draft every week from 2ser.

Get in touch with Andrew and Final Draft. We love to hear about what you’re reading!

Twitter - https://twitter.com/finaldraft2ser

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/finaldraft2ser/

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/finaldraft2ser/

  continue reading

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