This book came as a very pleasant surprise. I’ve long been a fan of Holly Throsby’s music, so I was happy to hunker down with her first novel, Goodwood. Set in a fictional NSW town of the same name, the story follows one sad and unusual summer in the sleepy town’s life. Seventeen-year-old narrator Jean tells us about fishing, the high school assembly, Davo’s sleazy uncle from Albion Park, and what happens when Rosie from the chip shop and Bart the much-loved butcher both disappear in one short week in 1992… and all the secrets that are revealed until they are found.
Goodwood is a laid-back, loving portrait of a small town, where each individual has their place be they good or bad. Each character is well-drawn, the early ’90s are realistically described, and Jean’s voice is just spot-on. Less a crime novel than an untangling of relationships, despite the untimely disappearances, Throsby’s plotting and portraiture make this a great, easy read. And since she’s a good feminist (Happy International Women’s Day, everyone) all the wife-beaters and slimeballs get treated with the respect they deserve.
I whipped through most of this in one read, and highly recommend it to those seeking some sensitive Australiana (as The Age thought) or a light-but-deep read. The book is also shortlisted for the Debut Indie Award, due to be announced in a couple of weeks, so fingers crossed for Holly. Enjoy!
Goodwood – Holly Throsby – TP – Allen & Unwin – $29.99
PS And if you’re interested in Aussie crime, don’t miss out on the event at Northcote Library tonight!