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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

THE BLURB 29/6/10
… with Robyn, Bernard, Sarah and guest speaker Susan Dodd.

Book News: from Melbourne correspondent Steph!
Miles Franklin Literary Award: The winner of the 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award was Peter Temple for his novel Truth. His prize $42,000. Truth is the sequel to Peter Temple’s The Broken Shore.

The Modern Woman’s Anthology 2010: Last week, Thérèse Rein, launched The Modern Woman’s Anthology 2010. Twenty one remarkable women have contributed their insights into what it means to be a woman in today’s world. They share their personal stories. Contributing writers include Cathy Freeman, Dr Cindy Pan and Kate Ellis.
All proceeds from The Modern Woman’s Anthology 2010 will be donated to the Black Dog Institute, a not-for-profit, educational, research, clinical and community-oriented facility offering specialist expertise in mental health.

Your Writing Your Career: Your Writing Your Career Seminar series commences 7 July. Book for all four seminars for a discount of nearly 20%: seminars include
Make Money from Writing, Beyond the Slush Pile, Time Management for Writers, So Now You’re Published.
Writing Retreat: Friday 2 July – Sunday 4 July. Writing retreat for both experienced and emerging writers. To be held in Warburton. Cost $220 or $175 concession

BERNARD’s REVIEW: SCOTT TUROW, Innocent, rrp $ 32-99, p/b, 406 pp.


Abstract: From 23 years ago [‘Presumed Innocent’], Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto re-emerge to do battle in thr courtroom, Rusty once again on trial for murder, this time of his wife. Into the mix comes his former lover who is now the partner [unbeknown to Rusty] of his son, Nat. As well as the friendship and family loyalties under scrutiny, there is some intriguing IT forensics to be worked through before the murder trial reaches its dramatic conclusion. It is a very ‘wordy’ novel [a s in lots of dialogue!] and I am not sure Turow always held my interest. It is a cut above the TV versions of courtroom drama, but be ready for a solid read!

IN FULL: The courtroom has an honorable history. Think Cicero’s, Verrine Orations Or, if your Latin is rusty, read ‘The Merchant of Venice’ again. One of the classics of the modern TV era was ‘Perry Mason’ with the wheelchair-bound, lugubrious Raymond Burr in the role of Erle Stanley Gardner’s defence attorney.
In more recent times – not to mention daytime ‘live’ TV – courtroom scenes pay a part in every other of the plethora of investigation/procedural shows that are on every night. Today’s author not only writes fiction in legal settings, but practices law in Chicago and has often served the community on bodies such as the Illinois Commission On capital punishment. I think this context is relevant because beginning to end, ‘Innocent’ is a novel about American court procedure. It is long, at times complex, but finally quite engrossing.
The two main contenders – Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto – are old foes. In 1987 they featured in Turow’s best-selling ‘Presumed innocent’ [ made into a very good film soon after publication.] Rusty is now a somber senior judge; probably because of those long ago events, Tommy’s career has stalled somewhat. As the book opens, Rusty’s bi-polar has just died in unusual and , of course [ this is a MYSTERY novel, after all] i suspicious circumstances. Rusty becomes chief suspect. As in the earlier book, Rusty’s relationship with a younger woman, Anna, is a vital part of the back story – and continues to haunt him in ways he could never have imagined. Having just missed out on convicting Rusty 20 years ago, Tommy and his team line up for the prosecution. A vital ingredient in the new contest is Rusty’s son, Nat; indeed, I found him the most interesting character as he struggles to win his father’s affection in the worst of predicaments. We are kept close to each of the main characters as Turow uses the chapter-by-chapter, varying individual points of view technique that it seems common nowadays. He handles the shifts in time and perspective effectively.
Because this is 2010, ITC becomes an essential factor – the catalyst? – as the case twists and turns. This is a long and dense read, at times resembling the text of a courtroom transcript. I am not sure that it is all that successful finally. There were moments when I was tempted to skip ahead. Sure, the reader is kept guessing throughout, and [ as we would expect from Turow] we are thoroughly immersed in the labyrinth that is the US jurisprudence.
My verdict: worth a read, but be ready for a slog.

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