A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published April 27th 2019
Australia Comes of Age
Kristina Olsson has a journalist's eye for a story and a novelist's sensibility for developing characters that slowly come into focus. Shell is set in the 1960s as life in Australia was on the brink of change. The Vietnam War loomed large as the birthday lottery of conscription commenced. Another lottery was in place to help fund construction of the Sydney Opera House.
Journalist Pearl Keogh identifies with the anti-war protests but cannot be seen to take sides in her profession. Her underlying anxiety being for her two younger brothers whom she has lost contact with. A newly arrived glass sculptor, Alex Lindquist, becomes her friend and sometime lover, it's heady stuff for the times. We see Australia through the eyes of Pearl and Alex at a time when women are stepping up in the workforce, a bold new building is taking shape and the Vietnam war is a flashpoint for lives caught in the balance.
This is evocative, lyrical, intelligent, perceptive, intricate and intriguing writing. The mark of an excellent book is not wanting to leave the times, places and people that are alive in these pages. The hardback edition has a beautifully produced cover, the books title alluding to the construction of the iconic landmark design of the Sydney Opera House.
Shell by Kristina Olsson
My vote for Independent Book of the Year. Published by Simon and Schuster.