This month the Pocket Book Club did not stray far. Sort of. We read Angela Slatter’s Vigil, set in Brisbane but in a world far weirder than our own.
Vigil is urban fantasy but owes a great deal to the detective novel. Verity Fassbinder’s mother was Normal but her father was Weyrd. (As in child-eating-Weyrd) You may not know it but the Normals and the Weyrd live side by side on Brisbane’s streets. The strange people you see on the streets of West End. Sometimes they are weird and sometimes they are Weyrd. The Weyrd hide their weirdness to get by among the Normals. (I am happy to say we Normals are the majority.)
Sometimes the Weyrd stray back into their old ways. For instance, torturing children to harvest their tears for wine. This is where Verity comes in, able to walk in both worlds she investigates the crimes of the Weyrd to bring them to justice. A lot of the time she is grumpy and tired and hungry.
The world Slatter builds is full of creatures – sirens, angels, vampire-like things, witchy people, people with claws, people with snakes for hair.
Fantasy is not the usual territory of the Pocket Book Club. However, most of us could name a fantasy we had fallen in love with – Donaldson’s Covenant series, or Fowles’ The Magus (Reading the synopsis I am not sure if The Magus is fantasy but it was mentioned – opinion anyone?)
What we enjoyed the most was reading about a city we know so well. It got us talking about the lack of books set in Brisbane. Do people in New York get sick of seeing movies or reading books set in New York? We feel the list of books set in Brisbane is too scant. The sub-tropical city deserves some gothic horror, or perhaps an art scandal on the south bank of the river.
We ate light floaty angel cake baked by Marianne in celebration of the Angels in Vigil.
Next month we read Hold by Kirsten Tranter
7 thoughts on “Could the Angel Cake be nicer than Angels?”
I love reading about other bookgroups and what they do. I haven’t read this book, and I haven’t read The Magus either, so I can’t answer that question, but I love reading books set in my city, Canberra. As with Brisbane, there aren’t many, so I don’t know if we’d tire of them if the situation were different. And, of course I also love reading about different places too. That’s partly why we read, isn’t it, to explore the places, things, ideas, we don’t know?
I don’t think I have ever read a book set in Canberra. Can you suggest a good one? You’d think as the national capital it could be the setting for a political thriller or two.
Haha Kathryn. There are some political thrillers (including to one recently dramatised on the ABC) but I don’t read those genres. The two books, now published under the series name The secret city, are The Mandarin files and The Mandarin code, by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann.
Marion Halligan has written several set in the city, including The fog garden and The point, and so has Dorothy Johnston, such as The house at Number 10. Sara Dowse’s West Block is another about political life… But not a thriller! Andrew Croome’s Document Z is about The Petrovs, as is Lesley Lebkowics’ The Petrov poems. And then there’s the third in Frank Moorehouse’s Edith trilogy, Cold light. I’ve written on several of these on my blog (though not specifically those Halligans which I read before blogging)
There are more but these are the ones that immediately spring to mind
I don’t normally seek out political thrillers either but I am open to best of any genre. I like the sound of West Block, perhaps because I like interlinked stories. I have added some of these to my Goodreads list. Thank you
Yes, me too – I’ll try genres if the recommendation suggests they are not “formula” genre.