The Blurb (from Goodreads):
One family. Nine momentous days. An unforgettable novel of love and folly and heartbreak. It is 1939 and Australia is about to go to war. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business—your own and everyone else’s—as usual. And young Kip Westaway, failed scholar and stablehand, is living the most important day of his life. Ambitious in scope and structure, triumphantly realised, this is a novel about one family and every family. It is about dreams and fights and sacrifices. And finally, of course, it is—as it must be—about love.
I had enjoyed Toni Jordan’s first novel ‘Addition’ enormously, describing it to myself as ‘intelligent chick lit’. I remember mostly its warmth, its wit, and its willingness to be bold and unconventional, all qualities I admire.
I’m not a big reader of ‘chick lit’. I am, however, a huge reader of historical fiction, as you all know – it’s my favourite genre of fiction.
So I got all excited when I heard Toni had tackled a historical novel. I was also curious. How would she go? I wondered. Historical fiction is harder to write than most people realise.
Well, firstly I need say to say I absolutely adored ‘Nine Days’!
But it’s not really historical fiction. Not entirely. It is both historical and contemporary, but it’s not a parallel story, where the past and the present are woven together.
Rather it moves through time, each section describing a single day in the life of a character. Each character is joined by bonds of blood, and love, and fate, and heartbreak. It is almost a collection of short stories, except each section is so strongly tied to each other, and there is a clear, taut narrative thread running through the whole book. It is both linear and non-linear, experimental and highly readable, unconventional, yet filled with compassion. I loved it!
This is one of my top picks of the year – I urge you not to miss out!