If you missed last night’s episode of For the Love of Books, hosts Cheryl Akle, Michael Campbell and Lachlan Jobbins discussed Skagboys by Irvine Welsh, The Mountain by Drusilla Modjeska and Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers .
Skagboys - Irvine Welsh
Skagboys charts the journey from likely lads to young men addicted to the heroin which has flooded their disintegrating community. This is the 1980s: not the sanitised version, of upbeat pop music, mullets, shoulder-pads and MTV, but a time of drugs, poverty, AIDS, violence, political strife and hatred – and maybe just a little love; a decade which changed Britain for ever. The prequel to the world-renowned Trainspotting, this is an exhilarating and moving book, full of the scabrous humour, salty vernacular and appalling behaviour that has made Irvine Welsh a household name.
The Mountain – Drusilla Modjeska
In 1968 Papua New Guinea is on the brink of independence, and everything is about to change. Amidst the turmoil filmmaker Leonard arrives from England with his Dutch wife, Rika, to study and film an isolated village high in The Mountains. The villagers’ customs and art have been passed down through generations, and Rika is immediately struck by their paintings on a cloth made of bark. Rika and Leonard are also confronted with the new university in Moresby, where intellectual ambition and the idealism of youth are creating friction among locals such as Milton – a hot-headed young playwright – and visiting westerners, such as Martha, to whom Rika becomes close. But it is when Rika meets brothers Jacob and Aaron that all their lives are changed for ever.(Drusilla Modjeska will be appearing at this years Sydney Writers Festival)
Behind the Beautiful Forevers – Katherine Boo
Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport and, as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees ‘a fortune beyond counting’ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a 15-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call ‘the full enjoy’. But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power, and economic envy turn brutal.