Tropics, Sea Breezes, and Verandahs: Kristina Olsson’s Summer Reading list

Tropics, Sea Breezes, and Verandahs: Kristina Olsson’s Summer Reading list

About the Author:

Kristina Olsson is a journalist and the award-winning author of the novels ShellIn One Skin, and The China Garden, and two works of nonfiction, Boy, Lost: A Family Memoir and Kilroy was Here. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.

Purchase a copy of Shell here 

Read our full review of Shell here 

It’s Raining in Mango – Thea Astley

Of course. The book is set in the pea soup air of the tropics, described as only a Queenslander could. The ‘lewdly mouldering heat paws at her…’ Astley won the Miles Franklin three times, and it’s obvious why.

12 Edmondstone Street – David Malouf

Queensland-born writers understand heat. Malouf describes the house he grew up in as if the wood was still part of the forest: ‘the creak of timber as the day’s heat seeps away’, the ‘raised tent flaps’ of verandahs, the breezes and foliage that ‘break in at window level’. It utterly evokes Brisbane summer.

The Anatomy of Wings – Karen Foxlee

Foxlee sets this evocative novel about youth and grief in an inland mining town, and I can feel the heat, the dry call of cicadas, the crush of dead leaves beneath your feet. She provokes all the senses: the reader can hear and smell the bruising sun, feel the harshness of raw emotion. Yes, she’s a Queenslander too.

Five Bells – Gail Jones

Sydney in summer: a blowsy summer city, showing itself off. I never tire of the introduction we get from four characters, each seeing the place through a prism of sunlight and emotion. A ferry bumps ‘the small jetty of a paradise everyone took for granted’.

Monkey Grip – Helen Garner

For me, the characters in this astounding novel move around in endless summer, and Nora is always cycling slowly towards Fitzroy baths with her little daughter, Grace, or lying indolently on towels or beneath ticking fans. Reading it felt like the long summer of my own growing up.

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              Synopsis

              Everywhere he looked he saw what Utzon saw. The drama of harbour and horizon, and at night, the star-clotted sky. It held the shape of the possible, of a promise made and waiting to be kept ...In 1965, as Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s striking vision for the Sydney Opera House transforms the skyline and unleashes a storm of controversy, the shadow of the Vietnam War and a deadly lottery threaten to tear the country apart.Journalist Pearl Keogh, exiled to the women’s pages after being photographed at an anti-war protest, is desperate to find her two missing brothers and save them from the draft. Axel Lindquist, a visionary young glass artist from Sweden, is obsessed with creating a unique work that will do justice to Utzon’s towering masterpiece.In this big, bold and hauntingly beautiful portrait of art and life, Shell captures a world on the brink of seismic change though the eyes of two unforgettable characters caught in the eye of the storm.And it reminds us why taking a side matters.
              Kristina Olsson
              About the author

              Kristina Olsson

              Kristina was born in 1956 and raised in Brisbane of Swedish and Australian heritage. She studied journalism at the University of Queensland and went on to write for The Australian, The Courier-Mail and Sunday Mail, the Sydney Sunday Telegraph and Griffith Review.She has also worked as an advisor to government and as a teacher of creative writing and journalism at tertiary and community level. She supervises and mentors several post-graduate writing students and also works as a manuscript assessor and editor.University of Queensland Press published her first novel, In One Skin, in 2001. This was  followed by Kilroy Was Here  in 2005 and The China Garden in 2009. Boy, Lost, a family memoir, was published by UQP in March 2013.Kristina has two adult children, as well as three grandchildren. She lives in Brisbane.

              Books by Kristina Olsson

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