Book thirty-two in 2012: “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay

I really need to write about books right after I finish them. How quickly feelings fade after other books are digested. I am grateful I read “The Australian Trilogy” but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad it was over when I finished “Solomon’s Song”. I didn’t feel that way because I disliked the books, quite the contrary. I felt that way because the material was so incredibly intense.

I tend to really immerse myself into the stories I read. I empathize with the characters and imagine what I might do in a given situation. This series is historical fiction so while the characters weren’t real, the experiences in the times were, and these were harsh times. “Solomon’s Song” was during World War I. My knowledge of history is lacking. I knew the basics of the war but not Australia’s part in it.

This story takes a character you quite suddenly get to know after reading about his family in the first two books, and plunges him into the war at Gallipoli. I had heard the word Gallipoli before but didn’t know the history of it. Courtenay took me there. His writing is so descriptive and beautiful you can’t help but feel you’re there, running on that beach with the men you’ve come to know. Your heart pumps as you fear for their lives. You realize this battle really happened. The Anzacs were really led to slaughter. Yes, when the book was over, I was relieved.

There was a passage in this book, right as the Anzacs were beginning their raid that Courtenay seemingly effortlessly slipped into the second person. I had never seen that done before. Second person is hard to write but was one of my favorite techniques to try when I took an online writing course and used the second person for a writing challenge. I never even imagined a narrative slipping from third person omniscient to second person. I was astounded when I realized what Courtenay had done and as a wannabe writer I had chills. The use of second person really began the feelings of being there with those men, so much so that when it switched back to the third person, I felt even closer to the characters. Brilliant, if you ask me.

I recommend this series if you’re a fan of beautiful writing, historical fiction, incredible casts of characters, laughter and tears in the same chapter, basically everything that makes a novel worth reading in my opinion. If you suffer from too much empathy like I do, just be prepared. I longed for a good ol’ detective novel after finishing this series. I plan to re-read “The Potato Factory” again one day. Of the three it was my favorite and now knowing how it all ended, I want to revisit how it began.

2012 Audio Book List (all unabridged):

1. “IT” – Stephen King – Began end of 2011, finished 1/4/12

2. “The Concrete Blonde” – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/9/12

3. “Under the Dome” – Stephen King – Finished 1/22/12

4. “The Black Echo” (Bosch #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/24/12

5. “The Black Ice” (Harry Bosch #2) – Michael Connelly – Finished 1/27/12

6.* “The Concrete Blonde” (Harry Bosch #3) – Michael Connelly – Finished 2/2/12

7. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends” – Rob Lowe – Finished 2/6/12

8.** “So Yesterday” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/10/12

9.** “Peeps” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 2/15/12

10. “1Q84” – Haruki Murakami – Finished 3/12/12

11. “The Stand” – Stephen King – Finished 4/2/12

12.** “Uglies” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/9/12

13.** “Pretties” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 4/15/12

14. “The Last Coyote” (Harry Bosch #4) – Michael Connelly – Finished 4/20/12

15. “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” – Seth Grahame-Smith – Finished 4/25/12

16. “Zero Day” – David Baldacci – Finished 5/1/12

17** “Specials” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/7/12

18.** “Extras” – Scott Westerfeld – Finished 5/13/12

19. “77 Shadow Street” – Dean Koontz – Finished 5/21/12

20. “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir)” – Jenny Lawson – Finished 5/25/12

21. “Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars” – Paul Ingrassia Finished 6/1/12

22. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It” – Lawrence Ritter – Finished 6/3/12

23. “The Given Day – Dennis Lehane – Finished 6/17/12

24. “Trunk Music” (Harry Bosch #5) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/22/12

25. “The Lincoln Lawyer” (Mickey Haller #1) – Michael Connelly – Finished 6/29/12

26. “The Brain That Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science” – Norman Doidge – Finished 7/6/12

27. “A Dog’s Purpose: A Novel for Humans” – W. Bruce Cameron – Finished 7/11/12

28. “The Potato Factory” (The Australian Trilogy Part One) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 7/25/12

29. “Tommo and Hawk” (The Australian Trilogy Part Two) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/8/12

30. “Fifty Shades of Grey” – E. L. James – Finished 8/11/12

31. “Fifty Shades Darker” – E. L. James – Finished 8/16=12

32. “Solomon’s Song” (The Australian Trilogy Part Three) – Bryce Courtenay – Finished 8/22/12

*Audio book previously listened to.

** Audio book previously listened to multiple times.

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