Today we’re flying over to Australia!
Title: The Silent Kookaburra
Author: Liza Perrat
Date of publication: 2016
Format: Digital Review Copy
Source: Kindly provided by the author
Number of pages: 309
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️and a half
All eleven-year-old Tanya Randall wants is a happy family. But Mum does nothing besides housework, Dad’s always down the pub and Nanna Purvis moans at everyone except her dog. Then Shelley arrives –– the miracle baby who fuses the Randall family in love for their little gumnut blossom.
Tanya’s life gets even better when she meets an uncle she didn’t know she had. He tells her she’s beautiful and could be a model. Her family refuses to talk about him. But that’s okay, it’s their little secret.
Then one blistering summer day tragedy strikes, and the surrounding mystery and suspicion tear apart this fragile family web.
Embracing the social changes of 1970s Australia, against a backdrop of native fauna and flora, The Silent Kookaburra is a haunting exploration of the blessings, curses and tyranny of memory.
Unsettling psychological suspense blending the intensity of Wally Lamb with the atmosphere of Peter James, this story will get under your skin.
The Silent Kookaburra. I admit I had to Google what a kookaburra was. I am not familiar with Australia and its fauna, except for the horrifying pictures of spiders, snakes, and frogs I spot on my friends’ pages on Instagram! So from the beginning, this story was meant to be a journey. My journey on a different continent in the 70s and a little girl’s journey through her early life.
I had no idea what to expect. No reading blurb, no information, no checking of reviews from friends. I took my passport, in the form of my Kindle, and I embarked on a moving, disturbing, and authentic narration. To quote my dear friend Annie @themisstery, this is a quiet novel. Don’t be fooled, I am not saying nothing is happening, because it would be far from the truth. But this is one of those stories where you follow a family through time and places, days and nights, one of those stories which make you reflect about actions, reactions, human needs and behavior.
Liza Perrat created what I believe to be a realistic Aussie family, introducing me to some slang, describing the beauty and the danger of the land though the eyes of a young girl named Tanya, who might recognize tangible danger but be blind to what lurks close to home. But don’t we all?
Tanya was a lovely girl to follow, and I could see her struggle as clear as my toes in a paradise island’s water. Finding your voice in a crumbling family, with fate striking and the world not turning right anymore is scary and lonely. I was also very moved by her mother’ story, words giving a face to desperation, to a need that won’t go, to a grief you can’t carry. It was exceptionally well-written and so powerful it tugs at my heartstrings. Families are made up of individuals, and every one of them comes with a background, a luggage, a personality. For a family to find their balance, all those elements need to find a way to cohabit, and contrary to what happy stories make us believe, it is not so easy. Being called a family doesn’t mean anything if you don’t create, nurture, and protect the bonds between the different units composing it. This story is about family. This story is about finding strength, finding or rediscovering yourself, and facing what comes your way, with a little help from those closest to you.
A special mention goes to Tanya’s grandmother for making me chuckle every time she spoke!
There are several layers to this novel, each member of the family going through changes, pain, hours, with a different personality, a unique voice and a touch of realism that makes you connect right away with them. No, I did not understand all their decisions. No, I did not agree with everything. But boy did I feel for them. I was entirely immersed in a beautiful exotic setting, witnessing the same events in life as we see here. Not that I thought all Australians had Kangaroos as dogs or were so different from us! But it takes a fine amount of details and a strong prose to make me travel through time and space without a Tardis, and this is what the author beautifully did. It was not just about the setting or the era, it was about the characters. Mr and Mrs John Doe and their problems, with an amazingly gripping, sometimes creepy, and smooth writing to keep you reading in the sun.
I would like to thank Liza for kindly providing me with a copy of her story in exchange for an honest review.
The Silent Kookaburra is available on Amazon
Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.
When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.
Several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine and France Today.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in the historical “The Bone Angel” series set against a backdrop of rural France during the French Revolution. The second in the series, Wolfsangel, set during the WWII German Occupation of France, was published in October, 2013. The third in the series, Blood Rose Angel, set during the 14th century Black Plague years was published in November, 2015.
The Silent Kookaburra, a dark psychological suspense novel set in 1970s Australia, was published in November, 2016.
Friends, Family and Other Strangers From Downunder is a collection of 14 humorous, horrific and entertaining short stories set in Australia, for readers everywhere.
Liza is a co-founder and member of Triskele Books, an independent writers’ collective with a commitment to quality and a strong sense of place, and also reviews books for Bookmuse.
Liza is available for virtual book club visits (via Skype) upon request.