Friday Friyay: Book Beginnings and Friday 56

It's Friday and it's pouring rain here in Shanghai like you wouldn't believe! I'm quite grateful for it since it's been incredibly hot here and this will hopefully cool it down a little bit. Also, this is my last week on sick leave! My eye is pretty much healed and the cornea only a little bit scarred so this time next week I'll be teaching English once again. I'm quite glad to get to do something productive again although I've also enjoyed the last few weeks of intense reading. But let's get on to the Friday fun! Book Beginnings and Friday 56 are hosted by Gilion over at Rose City Reader and Freda from Freda's Voice. Hop over their to join in on the blogging fun!

For this week's Friday Friyay I've chosen a book I just started, The Swan Book by Alexis Wright!
Oblivia Ethelyne was given her name by an old woman who found her deep in the bowels of a gum tree, tattered and fragile, the victim of a brutal assault by wayward local youths. These are the years leading up to Australia’s third centenary, and the woman who finds her, Bella Donna of the Champions, is a refugee from climate change wars that devastated her country in the northern hemisphere. Bella Donna takes Oblivia to live with her on an old warship in a polluted dry swamp and there she fills Oblivia’s head with story upon story of swans. Fenced off from the rest of Australia by the Army, its traditional custodians left destitute, the swamp has become “the world’s most unknown detention camp” for Indigenous Australians. When Warren Finch, the first Aboriginal president of Australia invades the swamp with his charismatic persona and the promise of salvation, Oblivia agrees to marry him, becoming First Lady, a role that has her confined to a tower in a flooded and lawless southern city.
Let's get to the quotes!

'Upstairs i my brain, there lives this kind of cut snake virus in its doll's house. Little stars shining over the moonscape garden twinkle endlessly in a crisp sky. The crazy virus just sits there on the couch and keeps a good old qui vivre out the window for intruders. it ignores all of the eviction notices stacked on the door. The virus thinks it is the only pure full-blood virus left in the land. Everything else is just half-caste. Worth nothing! Not even a property owner. Hell yes! it thinks, worse than the swarms of rednecks hanging around the neighborhood. Hard to believe a brain could get sucked into vomiting bad history over the beautiful sunburned plains.' 1%
I really liked this beginning although it also confused me. I'm not sure I'm entirely following the metaphor yet, although I get the idea of a virus in your head poisoning how you see the world. However, I already love Wright's writing. It's very lyrical and descriptive.

His artfulness in disappearing and reappearing was so strange, that as the swamp people had believed he was somewhere else, he could still make you feel that you had never seen him - that he was never there at all. This is why they were out on the genies' country.' 56%
I haven't gotten this far in the book yet, so it was quite difficult to find a quote without spoiling myself or you. This one is very good at intriguing me though. Who are we talking about, how does he keep 'disappearing and reappearing' and what is 'the genies' country'?

Also, I want to share some adorableness with you! I'm using the last week of my sick leave to foster two absolutely tiny kittens and they are simply too cute so here is an Instagram I took a few days ago!

Image may contain: cat

I've named them Luke and Leia because I'm an unmitigated nerd.

So, what do you think of The Swan Book? And aren't the kittens adorable?


  1. Hi Juli!

    Haha! They are soooo cute! Luke and Leia are brilliant names. I might name my next rats after them...

    As for your book, it's lovely cover. A great book choice!

    Have a wonderful reading weekend.


  2. the book sounds cool. but loses out on cute points on the account of your Luke and Leia

  3. Something about this book reminds me of All the Birds in the sky. Have you read it?

    Hope you enjoy it.... Happy reading and here's my Friday Meets:

  4. Adorable Luke and Leia...and I'm glad your eye is better.

    The book looks interesting...and complex. Interesting cover, too. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  5. The cover gives no clue to what awaits inside. This sounds fascinating. Thanks for sharing. It might have slipped right past me.

    Luke and Leila are sweeties. Kittens are so adorable. I fostered a dog and now he's been my companion for 12 years. LOL When I took him in a truly meant to foster. After a week I called up the shelter and tole them he's now sleeping in my bed and take him off the list:)

    My Friday 56 from The Forever Man

  6. The book sounds deep! Love the kitties too! Nice they have someone like you to help them. :-)
    I added you to the Linky. Happy weekend!

  7. Hmm, that is an intriguing book - I'm not sure if I would absolutely love it or be teeth-grindingly annoyed by it! I am curious to read more.
    I have a lovely cat but now I want kittens too - they are gorgeous. Sorry to hear you've had eye problems but I'm glad it hasn't stopped you from reading.
    Allison @ The Three Rs Book Blog

  8. I haven't read the book but sounds interesting. although I must said that the cover make me a little bit dizzy I don't know why XD

    anyway, Luke and Leia are super adorable! I wanna hug them !!

  9. The kittens are SO adorable! And I am super intrigued by this book! Thanks for sharing! Happy reading! :)

  10. Hi Julli,

    Such a busy post, I'm not sure where to start first.

    Most of Central Europe, like Shanghai, is experiencing eye-watering temperatures well into the 40s. Which is why I'm pleased to be living in the UK, where when it hits the mid 20s we all go into meltdown and where right now, our usual summer of wet and windy weather is in full swing!

    I haven't been following the medical story regarding your eye, but I am pleased that you now sound almost fully recovered, even though your reading binge will soon be coming to an end. My reading is painfully slow right now, but that really is just down to not having enough free time any more and the obvious blog related visits which consume most of my evenings.

    Whilst I am really interested in the realities facing the native Aboriginal population of Australia and I like the tone and nuances of Alexis's writing style, I'm afraid that this book is well outside any of my usual reading genres, so won't be making its way on to my list. I had great fun with the associated research though, as I had no idea there was actually a Gulf of Carpentaria, or exactly where it might be situated.

    Thanks for sharing and 'Happy Reading' :)


  11. Such cute kittens. And the cover of that book makes me dizzy. Looks good, though.


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