The Heart of the Matter: In Conversation with Alec Patric

In a month long two-way email interview with award winning Melbourne author Alec Patric, I uncover writing craft inspiration and a mutual love of beautifully crafted guitars. Patric is the author of Black Rock White City (2015),  acclaimed novella Bruno Kramzer (2013),  Las Vegas for Vegans (2012) and The Rattler & Other Stories (2011).

Alec Patric. Image copyright Alec Patric

Alec Patric. Image copyright Alec Patric

Caroline Barron: Tomorrow is Saturday, the beginning of the school holidays. We’re heading off as a family to Lake Rotoiti, which is in the middle of the North Island. Maori legend has it that a young warrior was hunting for delicacies for his pregnant wife when his dog ran off chasing a Kiwi through the forest. When the dog returned a few hours later, wet and sicking up half-digested fish, the warrior realised there must be a lake nearby and searched the forest until he found Lake Rotoiti (and Lake Rotorua). So, tomorrow, I have no work commitments and it’s looking like the perfect day.
Saturday, no work commitments; how does the perfect day look?
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Book Review: Body & Soul by Frank Conroy (1993)

Five stars. Amazing. Body & Soul by Frank Conroy

Five stars. Amazing. Body & Soul by Frank Conroy

Of course Conroy was an accomplished jazz pianist. There is no chance a non-musician could write such a vivid story about a musically gifted little boy and about music the way Conroy does. I studied music through to my last year of school; I sing, play piano and guitar. Body & Soul gave me so many ‘a-ha!’ moments; musical moments I did not think could be put into words: Continue reading

Last Day to Enter: Win a copy of ‘The Free’ (my best book of 2014)

'The Free', by Willy Vlautin, Faber and Faber, London, 2014

‘The Free’, by Willy Vlautin, Faber and Faber, London, 2014

Tell me what book author Willy Vlautin told me I should read in my post Beer and Books with Willy Vlautin and The Delines (clue: it won the 1984 Pulitzer) and you go in the draw to win a copy of Vlautin’s latest book, The Free. I’ve read it. It’s amazing. Entries close Friday 15th November, 2014. Winners notified by email.

A big thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for supplying the prize.

 

 

Book Review: ‘The Free’ by Willy Vlautin

READ ON TO WIN YOUR VERY OWN SHINY, NEW COPY OF THE FREE!! (Competition closes Friday 14th November, 2014)

Holding The Free in my hands – before reading a single word – felt good. The ragged-edged pages felt lived in, worn-down, meaningful; reflecting the worn-down lives of the characters within. Pauline, Leroy, Freddie – oh my – how beautifully drawn they are.

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

I was lucky enough to chat to Vlautin when he was in Auckland this month with his new band The Delines. Click here to read more and to – wahoo! – be in to win a free copy of The Free.

I have two favorite things about The Free. Firstly, Vlautin’s dialogue is some of the best I’ve ever read. I reckon you can tell he’s a musician by his dialogue’s perfect rhythm.  Continue reading

Book Review: ‘A Can of Sunshine’ by Christine Leunens (and a sneaky competition clue!)

Hearing fabulous Doris Mousdale of Arcadia Bookshop interview American author Christine Leunens at the Waiheke Book Festival rescued A Can of Sunshine from a solitary one star rating. Instead, the book gets two stars and I’ll tell you why a little bit later.

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Doris Mousdale from Arcadia bookshop interviews Christine Leunens at Waiheke Book Festival. Image copyright Caroline Barron 2014.

It isn’t what earned her the extra star, but Christine Leunens is really beautiful. European-fashion-model beautiful (ten years as the head of a model agency qualifies me to say that); with a poise and elegance that evades most of us Kiwi girls. Continue reading

Beer and Books with Willy Vlautin and The Delines

17th October, 2014 @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ

“I can’t give you one favorite book. How ‘bout five?” I say, squeezing my beer bottle for inspiration.

“Nope. Cheating. You gotta give me one.” Willy Vlautin – award winning author and alt-country superstar – rocks back and forth on his toes and smiles a smile that stretches like telephone lines from his eyes to his chin. My carriages are momentarily uncoupled.

Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

“Here’s a song I wrote for my horse, Rudy.” Willy Vlautin at the Tuning Fork, Auckland, NZ. Image copyright Caroline Barron

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