Pieces of Sky


The last few weeks have been of the “epic high, devastating low” sort.

Epic highs have included:

  • Listening in rapt awe to amazing writers speaking at the Tasmanian Writers and Readers Festival
  • Being part of a panel deciding on grants that will hopefully aid Tasmanians to make a career in the arts
  • Judging writing prizes, where the work submitted was of such an exceptional quality it was actually excruciatingly difficult to choose the shortlist
  • Celebrating the third birthday of a gorgeous little man
  • Hearing that a new life is on its way, into a beautiful family …
  • And, of course, my constant joy – a little faerie darling called Tiger.

But then came the lows. An old friend lost his battle against mental illness. Another friend suffered more life blows than any person deserves. My stepmother had a painful operation. Tiger had health woes and so did I. My dad is still away and I miss him dearly.

So now you have a precis of Life in Kateland. But what has this got to do with my latest YA find?

Well, while my life felt like a stormy sea, Trinity Doyle’s book, Pieces of Sky felt like a calm, sunny day at Boat Harbour Beach (my favourite place in the whole world).

It might sound strange to those who’ve read this book, or have heard about it. After all, it deals with some pretty heavy themes. It is, at times, nail-bitingly tense. At other times it’s horribly sad. But, all the while, Doyle’s confident, lyrical prose carries you through on gentle, rippling waves. She is so assured in her style, and so accomplished and proficient that whatever tension there may be in your life is washed away as you read. This is the mark of a supremely talented writer. The fact that this is Doyle’s debut is astonishing.

Thank you, Trinity Doyle, for your talent and for this gift of a book. I was so grateful for it as my life felt as if it was caught in a rip.

I can’t wait to see what you do next. Maybe my life will be all calm seas. Maybe you’ll write a tsunami of a book that shakes it up a bit. Whatever the case, I know I’ll be impressed.

Anyway, I think I’ve reached peak water reference now. Like, tidal-wave-level water reference. So I’ll finish here.

Next? A memoir! I know, right? But it’s still YA. It’s the winner of last year’s Text Prize and it’s called How to be Happy. Heaven knows, it sounds like a book my life could use right now.

Its writer, David Burton, is from Queensland. But never fear, Taswegians! I now have a Tassie YA to read next, in the form of the newie from the brilliant Katherine Lomer.

Everything is coming up Katie. Things can only get better …

Like the clouds parting to reveal a beautiful blue sky. Over a white-sand beach. In January. With Colin Firth walking along it wearing retro boy-leg swimming trunks …

All right. Going now (not in any way to Google Colin Firth Swimming Trunks).

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