#Novella nr 3: NovNov – AusReadingMonth 2021
- Author: Thea Astley
- Title: Coda
- Genre: novella
- Published: 1994 (188 pg)
- Monthly reading plan
- #AusReadingMonth2021 @bronasbooks
- #NovNov @746Books
- I started reading the complete works of Theas Astley during
- #AusReadingMonth in 2017
- …and have finished 13/17!
- Finally I found a copy of Beachmasters @ Amazon.co.uk.
- That book is NOT easy to come by!
- Collected Short Stories (1997)
- ….also a very difficult or very expensive book to acquire!
- Girl with a Monkey (1958)
- A Descant for Gossips (1960)
- The Well Dressed Explorer (1962) Miles Franklin winner
- The Slow Natives (1965) Miles Franklin winner
- Boat Load of Home Folk (1968)
- The Acolyte (1972) Miles Franklin winner
- A Kindness Cup (1974)
- An Item from the Late News (1982)
- Beachmasters (1985)
- It’s Raining in Mango (1987)
- Reaching Tin River (1990)
- Vanishing Points (1992)
- Coda (1994)
- The Multiple Effects of Rainshadow (1996) Miles Franklin long/shortlist
- Drylands (1999) Miles Franklin winner
- Hunting the Wild Pineapple (1979)
- Collected Stories (1997)
- Coda examines the despair of old age.
- Thea Astley is a truth-teller about becoming an “aged” misfit in society.
- Strong point: Ms Astley is still able to cut through
- …the tragedy with a sharp literary wit.
- Occasionally the narrative is interrupted by stories plucked from the
- Australian newspapers:
- “…there has been an alarming increase in so-called
- ...’granny-dumping’ throughout the country.” (Condamine Examiner, 16 Jan 1992)
Character: Kathleen Hackendorf
- Born 1920s, no real ambition except get out of Townsville!
- We see her sitting in a tacky Mall at a plastic table under a fig tree
- drinking her coffee as she contemplates life and her grammatical losses:
- “I’m losing my nouns!”
- Daughter, Shamrock, wants her mother on a shelf like a cracked doodad.
- Son, Brian, a financial schemer in his second marriage has no time for his mother.
- Both have sold Kathleen’s house out from under her and put down the dog.
- BFF …Kathleen at least has her dotty dear friend Daisy
- Only trouble is ….Daisy is dead.
- I hope I’ve given you just a taste of
- …what you can expect in this book.
- Read as Kathleen wonders when the buzz went out of her life...as she is
- “…rooting about for words in the old handbag of her years.” (pg 188)
- Weak point: I found the pages devoted to Brian’s
- “crackpot stratagems” (pg 106) too long.
- It ruined the mood of the story about the aging Kathleen!
- Weak point: In the end, expected some fireworks from Ms Astley
- …but Kathleen’s life story seemed to just fizzle out.
- Again, I am a fan of Thea Astley and find that some of her
- later books lack the punch of her best books
- The Slow Natives, The Acolyte, Boat Load of Home Folk and
- …A Descant for Gossips.
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