Tuesday, July 01, 2008

In four and a half childfree days

I flew over an ocean and went to a teeny little country I'd never been to before, a country I'd underestimated and one I will go back to. On the way back, flew over snow capped peaks.

I explored a small harbour city that reminded me of Hobart.

I wrote over ten thousand (good) words and nearly finished my current novel (though I didn't come up with a title unfortunately).

I read four novels
Jaclyn Moriarty's The Betrayal of Bindy Mackenzie
M.J. Hyland's When The Light Gets In
Helen Garner's impeccable The Spare Room
Meg Rosoff's How I Live Now
Perhaps they paled in comparison to The Spare Room, but I have whinges and criticisms of the other three. Short version: I couldn't quite go with the silliness of the story of Bindy, though I thought JM's characterisation was perfect and actually very moving as well as genuinely laugh out loud funny. When The Light Gets In was frustrating to me, possibly for the reasons that made it an adult novel instead of YA despite the fact that it had a teenaged protagonist (basically the main character doesn't develop and there's not much story - the sentences were exquisite though, some of the best sentences I have ever read). How I Live Now perhaps faltered from Guardian Book of the Year-itis. I kept waiting for the story (of the year) to start and then I looked and realised I must be in the climax because I'd already read a lot of book, but there was still no story. Very interesting and inventive juxtapositions, just not, ultimately, as successful as it could have been. I wish someone had let me write a structural report on it. Actually ditto for all of them except The Spare Room which might be my idea of a perfect novel. I think I might have to write a post about Helen Garner in the near future.

I enjoyed good company, a view of the ocean, a bed to myself, simple food, long walks, museums without having to do the kid's bits, secondhand book shopping and only drank 2 glasses of champagne (one at the airport before we left).

Highlights: shopping at the supermarket without children, writing in a sustained burst (a month's worth of writing in five days), the views, chewing the fat with Kate, long walks, observing people, finding my passport the morning we left after a very long frantic search late into the night and after ringing Kate and telling her we might have to cancel the trip (and yes, it was in the first place we looked, just wrapped up in some other documents), buying duty-free Baileys on the way back.

And, of course, the welcome home.


  1. Hullo!! How awesome is NZ?! Jeez I thought you'd gone to Rosebud! Were you in Wellington?
    Did you go to Te Papa?! Amazing place.

    Well you'll have to come and see us up in sunny Auckland now. :)

  2. Ahhh Wellington! I love it there. Glad you had a nice time - sounds heavenly, in fact. When are you coming to Hobart huh? huh?

  3. sounds awesome Penni. When do you get to come even further? the mountains here are calling!
    lovely to read about your trip.

  4. So. Jealous. Sounds amazing. And 10,000 good words? Well done you!

  5. Blimey, Penni, you are amazing. Well done on finishing the book, too - I have read down your page to here :-)
    I will be looking out for that post on TSR.