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April 5, 2019


#Stella Prize 2019 shortlist Jamie M. Lau

by NancyElin

  1. Well, this ends my reading shortlist #StellaPrize 2019.
  2. I’ve done my best!
  3. Unfortunately I cannot purchase
  4. Little Gods or The Erratics in The Netherlands.
  5. You can read my review os Axiomatic on Goodreads.


Shortlisted books: 4/6  



  1. The novel centers around Monk (15 yr girl)
  2. Monk lives in Chinatown with her failed-artist-father
  3. She introduces her new found
  4. …friend the mysterious Santa Coy to her dad.
  5. Her father adopts Santa Coy as his artistic disciple.
  6. The chapters are fragmented
  7. …and reveal situations Monk observes.
  8. These vivid and intense vignettes move from
  9. Chinatown, casinos, music, tv-static, love, hunger and violence.
  10. Title:  chapter ‘Everybody’s Dying in the Summer””
  11. …pink rock that two amateur pushers gave you isn’t a mountain,
  12. …it’s a crater.”


Strong point:  poetic technique

  1. Style: poetic
  2. Clear, concise, and uncluttered style
  3. … and with a confident voice.
  4. Lau uses bullet points, snippets of a letter,
  5. shopping lists, menus, chats and repetitions.
  6. She gives us an objective description of her world,
  7. clear straightforward words
  8. …ending with a simple statements of feeling.


Strong point:  dialogue

  1. Dialogue:  without quotation marks
  2. I noticed  how “clean” the text  looks without quotes
  3. and is somehow more immediate.
  4. Cormac McCarthy once said:
  5. “…the intent of dialogue without quotations
  6. ….is to make the reading easier, not harder.
  7. If you write properly you shouldn’t have to punctuate.”


Strong point:  this book introduced me to new music!

  1. I listened to
  2. Japanese Jazz Fusion
  3. Pianist Hiromi Uehara (1979)  LISTEN
  4. Her joy is infectious! She certainly got rhythm!
  5. You won’t believe your ears!
  6. Blues with a Latin beat
  7. Pianist Horace Silver (1928-2014) American jazz pianist LISTEN
  8. Silver’s break came in 1950, when his trio backed saxophonist Stan Getz.


Strong point:  urban vocabulary

  1. Some expressions  absolutely stumped me!
  2. Sitting like Ls, our backs against the bed…”  = sitting like losers? lost souls??
  3. Have you ever watched a
  4. …video of digitized acid trip on internet?
  5. I have…after reading this book! Eye-opener!
  6. Unplug: forgetting one’s problems in a Gen Z  digitized world
  7. ” I pack my computer, my xanax.”


Strong point:  captures a precise moment of thought.

  1. Lau writes some profound closing sentences:
  2. Ch  “Aunty Linda”:
  3. She says: “Would you look away if somebody was
  4. forcing you to look at their emotions?
  5. He says: I’m here now aren’t I?”
  6. Ch “Home Run Ballad”:
  7. “I try praying for Sadie….
  8. I ask Aunt Linda how you know it’s working.
  9. She tells me that nobody knows…
  10. ..and that’s the best part.”



  1. Do you want to meet tomorrow’s literary star today?
  2. Read  this bold and adventurous work
  3. …by Jamie Marina Lau!
  4. This book falls under the Gen Z label.
  5. Monk’s character is a
  6. reflection of a crazy access to visual information.
  7. Monk’s age perspective is 15 yr.
  8. She  is not defining herself by what she knows.
  9. She’s just observing.
  10. Gen Z’ers reading and writing
  11. …talents  are being transformed
  12. …due to their familiarity with
  13. …digital devices, platforms and texts.
  14. Pink Mountain on Locust Island reflects
  15. ..this transformation by it’s experimental form!
  16. If you put the ‘out-there’, wierd, brash, disjointed aside
  17. and read the book to find a few gems of real thought
  18. then you have done justice to this new rising literary
  19. star of the Gen Z generation.
  20. It is not conventional….it may not appeal to everyone
  21. ….but Jamie Marina Lau impressed this Baby Boomer!


Last thoughts:

  1. Perhaps people of Gen Z
  2. will find the book more appealing than others.
  3. Gen Z’ers  are being taught to consume information
  4. …in the way Jamie Marina Lau describes it in her book.
  5. I had no idea how to approach the book.
  6. Before reading ….I researched  all 106 chapter titles!
  7. Some of the titles made sense after reading the book
  8. …most did not!
  9. There are many allusions to food, music and the bible!
  10. Can it win the Stella Prize?
  11.  Is it too experimental?
  12. I wonder what #Stella will decide!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Apr 8 2019

    I wonder if the sitting like Ls refers to the body shape of 2 people with backs straight against the headboard, legs out straight – L shaped?
    I’ve read contrary reviews about this….now we just have to wait til tomorrow night to see what the judges think!

    • Apr 8 2019

      Cleverly thought out…Brona! Ls – just look at the design of the L = backs to each other! I missed that.
      Personally…I find Stella to be very conventional and don’t think they will take a chance on J.M. Lau….debutante. I think they go for Axiomatic. Tomorrow is the day!

      • Apr 8 2019

        I haven’t read Axiomatic, yet, but I’m also thinking it will win too.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. #NSW Premier’s Award 2019 shortlist – read-a-thon! | NancyElin
  2. #NSW Premier’s Award 2019 shortlist – read-a-thon! | NancyElin

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