04 February 2013


View from Dr. Loomis' temporary home
Bird Loomis, who is now enjoying the coming end of summer in Adelaide as a Fullbright Visiting Scholar, asked me awhile back if I'd read Peter Temple's The Broken Shore. Indeed, I had. In September 2009, I wrote about my experience in "Southern (hemisphere) fiction." I rather liked the book.

Then I wondered why I hadn't followed up by reading more of Peter Temple's novels.

So I went to the library and found Truth, a 2010 novel by Temple.

I read about half way through the book.

I gave up.

The book (or at least the first half) is written almost entirely as dialogue or monologue. Very little context. Very little (if any) introduction of characters. Just names thrown out.

I could, I suppose, have taken notes about scenes, characters, and events. But I wanted to be intrigued and entertained, not employed. It reminded me of the self-check out lanes at the grocery store. If I wanted to scan and bag groceries, I'd apply for a job at a grocery store. Besides none of the characters I could identify were interesting. I didn't get far enough into the book to be intrigued by any of the crimes being investigated. (Well, I assume they were being investigated, but I couldn't really tell.)

Example from page 1:
"Villani looked at the city towers, wobbling, unstable in the sulphurous haze. He shouldn't have come. There was no need. 'This air-conditioner's fucked,' he said. 'Second one this week.'

"'Never go over here without thinking,' said Birkerts.


"'My granddad. On it.'

"One spring morning in 1970, the bridge's half-built steel frame stood in the air, it crawled with men, unmarried men, men with wives, men with wives and children, men with children they did not know, men with nothing but the job and hard, hard hangover and then Span 10-11 failed..."
And it goes on. And on.

I didn't.

Have you read Truth by Peter Temple?

What did you make of it?

Write and tell me and this little bit of the world what you thought.

All these people really liked the book

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Truth won the Miles Franklin Prize, Australia's Booker, in 2010. You might want to add the judges to your list of people who liked this wonderful novel.