Monday, 17 November 2014

Hello From The Gillespies - Monica Mcinerney

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A superb read from a much loved author.

I have always been a great fan of Mcinerney although I found her earlier works better than the later ones. What sets her apart is that her books are all set in Australia which makes it a fascinating read, her stories offer a glimpse into the country as well.

I can still dig into The Faraday sisters and enjoy re-reading my favourite parts of the book. Her later book, At Home with Templetons was not something I could stick with till the end and left me wondering if she has lost the magic, that made her books so enjoyable.

I was wrong. She is back with a delightful book, and reading every page of it was a pleasure.


The crux of the story is a Christmas letter sent out by the protagnist Angela Gillespie to the extended family and friends. Originally a Londoner, Angela is married to an Australian and living in an outback station with her husband and four children of varying ages. Her Christmas letters are usually cheerful, flowery and optimistic but not this one. Something has changed this year and the letter triggers off events, forcing the family to assess their priorities and relationships with one another.

What works:

  • Everything. Mcinerney connects very well with her reader and has an amazing ability to handle family issues well. The subtle shifts in family relations, the banter and the repartee between the characters is skillfully done and enjoyable.
  • She brings the characters to life through dialogue and description and the reader instantly takes to them and like them for their distinct personalities.
  • It was nice to read about a family in rural Australia. Having been in the country on holiday recently, it was nice to read and imagine a family in the outback. It made me regret the fact that that restricted my travel to the big cities instead of venturing into the outback.
  • The concept of spinning off the story from a Christmas letter was a very great touch.Couldn't help wondering if it was a timely launch to help readers pick it up as a Christmas read or as a gift. Well, it it certainly fits well as the perfect family read, this festive season.
What doesn't:
  • So much for gushing about how what a lovely read it is, I couldn't help but feel that a bit of editing would helped the story. The interaction between Will and Nick seemed to drag a bit. It could have benefitted from the editor's red pencil and made the story tighter.
Overall a great read. Much recommended for those looking for a nice, feel good book this Christmas.

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