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CWL Zest Book Chain More Reviews – Steven Carroll

By September 22, 2010No Comments

Here are more reviews from our CWL Zest Book Chain for two novels by Steven Carroll:

The Time We Have Taken:
“It is both a meditation on the rhythms of suburban life and a luminous exploration of public and private reckoning during a time of radical change.”


The Lost Life:
“From one of Australia's finest writers, this is a moving, lyrical novel about poetry and inspiration, the incandescence of first love and the yearning for a life that may never be lived.”

Zest 1: The lost Life is an absorbing story set in an English country town in 1934. In the time of slow eating, in the first decade of 2000, this book could probably be described as slow reading in which you can live in the moment which I enjoyed in this fast paced life in which we all now live. A young couple (Catherine and Daniel) witness a private ceremony, of which you are not sure of the details, taking place between the poet TS Eliot and his secret lover Emily Hale. A ceremony that will be repeated. The young couple's lives become entwined with that of Eliot and Hale, the story focusing on Hale. It is an exploration of desire and regret which can result and last a lifetime. This is another excellent novel by a wonderful Australian author, not to be missed…

Zest 2: I read Carroll's 6th novel, The Time We have Taken. The third in the trilogy of the Glenroy novels. This particular novel is set in a fictional Melbourne suburb in the '70'. At the beginning I deceptively thought this book was going nowhere. It was not until the rain came and I was able to switch off the many intrusions of a hectic life, did I finally capture the poetic prose of Carroll's. His writing slowly draws you in and then… suddenly the novel is finished. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy: The Art of the Engine Driver and The Gift of Speed.

Zest 3: Well I read both books as they both sounded good. And I've discovered a new Aussie writer, well for me he is new. The writing in A Lost Life is beautiful and the story is lovely and romantic. It is about the lives of two couples – the poet T.S Eliot and his love Miss Hale (not is his wife) and the young Catherine and Daniel who watch a private ceremony between the couple. I liked how the ceremony came full circle in the lives of the women. It's a book of love and loss and regret.

Zest 3: I really enjoyed reading The Time We Have Taken – the story that kind of creeps up on you as you discover each of the characters and their lives and how they shaped the suburb and the suburb shaped them. The writing is poetic and descriptive and doesn't get in the way or overwhelm you. I really enjoyed it and will go onto to read the trilogy. All of which have been nominated for the Miles Franklin Literary Awards. Thank you for this.

For more on about author Steven Carroll and his books go to: