I am not disorganised…

shirley hazzard.jpgDon’t dare say I am disorganised. It will rile me. I am a juggler. A juggler of many fragile glass balls. Sometimes I have to put a couple down in order to cope with what is struggling in the air. To an outsider, this may appear disorganised. The truth is this a futile attempt to save my sanity.

I put my blog post ball down for a little while and now I am behind in my Pocket Bookclub posts.  It is also Shirley Hazzard’s fault. It is also her publisher’s fault.

On my extensive list of things to do (which now includes dusting because if I don’t write it on a list I will not make myself do it) is always ordering the next book club book.

Hold that thought.

Ok, I am back having just purchased the next book (Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine) on Audible. So, this is always my first port of call. Because what is the point of driving if you are not listening to a book. If I can’t instantly get the book to listen to then I will resort to buying the e-book.  Again, instantaneous. In terms of the balls in the air, I can do other important things and get the book a couple of weeks before book club.

The problem was that January’s book, Shirley Hazzard’s The Transit of Venus was not there for me to instantly consume. I had to order the actual real-life-you-can-touch-it book. It took forever. It arrived with just a week to go before book club night. It is possible to read a book in a week. It is not possible to read The Transit of Venus in a week.  It is what I call dense. Thick with obscure sentences and complexity.

If Shirley Hazzard’s publisher made her book more readily available, or Shirley wrote a less dense book I would have finished the book on time and posted this update in a timely way. That is my story and I am sticking to it.

Lots of people really love this book. From what I gather they like it the second time they read it.  Apparently even Hazzard’s husband said no one should have to read this book for the first time.

The Pocket Bookclub neither hated it or loved it. Yet. We have only read it once. It took me six weeks to read so I won’t be back to it in a hurry.

The Transit of Venus is about two Australian sisters who move to post-war England. They fall in love, they make their way through the complexity of loss and life. It is not a fast-moving plot but is layered. Hazzard hits on absolute truths which slap you in the face.

“A state of mind can overtake you like an event.” p324

There is utter beauty in the writing. On the opening page, she describes a sudden devastating storm.

“It was simply that the sky, on a shadeless day, suddenly lowered itself like an awning. Purple silence petrified the limbs of three and stood crops upright in the fields like hair on end.”


In case you missed the point of this post. I am not disorganised.

7 thoughts on “I am not disorganised…

  1. thanks for sharing. not sure if i’ll try that Shirley Hazzard book, although i’ve enjoyed some of her other writing. good to know your reaction to the book.

  2. I’m a bit perplexed as to how anyone knows they didn’t like it until the second read. If I’m not wild about a book on the first read, it never gets a second read. I’m a bit awed by someone who thinks, “I’m not sure I liked that book. I’d better read it again!”

  3. Oh, I loved this book first time – I love Shirley Hazzard’s writing, and I loved the story of the two sisters. As I recollect, I loved the intensity of the characters, and the the moral challenges they face. It’s a long long time since I read it – as in early 2005. I’d read it again happily.

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