Month: February 2022

Book review – Love Marriage, by Monica Ali

Title: Love Marriage

Author: Monica Ali

Publisher: Virago Press (UK)/Hachette, January 2022; RRP: $32.99

Monica Ali has written five novels including Love Marriage. Her 2003 debut novel Brick Lane was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Monica’s books are translated into 26 languages, and she is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in the UK. Living in London, Monica has both British and Bangladeshi heritage.

This story is about two cultures and two families who endeavour to join together when the lead protagonist, Yasmin Ghorami, a trainee doctor, plans to marry Joe Sangster, a paediatrician. Yasmin’s family migrated from Bengal to the UK. Her father, now a doctor, came from extremely poor circumstances. He has succeeded in his role in medicine against all odds but is dogmatic in his expectations of his family. Her mother is a discontented homemaker and the younger brother rebellious. The family is Muslim.

In contrast, Joe’s mother is a high-flying social celebrity due to a controversial writing and public speaking career. She is larger than life and they live in extravagant circumstances. Joe’s father left when he was tiny and has played no significant role in his life. His mother has been a dominating but liberal influence in Joe’s life and the two are happily enmeshed. The two families couldn’t be further apart in lifestyle or culture.

Watch the book trailer for Love Marriage

at youtube

As the story progresses and the marriage arrangements between the two families play out, long-held assumptions challenge current beliefs. Family secrets seep to the fore and unravel, causing disruption to the lives of all.

The writing is honest and shows the reality that often lurks behind our behaviours and the lengths we go to in order to keep the top layers of our functionality afloat. This can go on forever, it seems, unless circumstances force hidden and unfinished business to shatter our equilibrium. In Love Marriage, this happens as the parents of Yasmin, the mother of Joe and Yasmin’s younger brother – all make decisions that change their lives and those around them. Yasmin and Joe’s future is in upheaval as they confront their own secrets, which bring their marriage plans into question. The ending of this novel is satisfying and unexpected.   

Monica Ali has written a clever and generous story, highlighting the issues of class, race, and identity. The book has an authentic London atmosphere to it, as this is where the story is based, but these circumstances could relate to other settings in current times. I enjoyed this novel, cringing at times, laughing often and yet impressed by the sincerity nestled just below the surface. Monica Ali is indeed an author who digs deep and writes with confidence and proven competency.    

Reviewed by: Heather Whitford Roche

Ballarat Writers Book Review Group, January 2022

Review copy supplied by the publisher

BWI 2021 AGM Results

Our 2021 AGM has been and gone. We would like to thank all of the members who turned up to vote, and all the members who stood for positions on our 2022 committee.

We would like to introduce to you all the 2022 BWI committee:

Chairperson: Rebecca Fletcher
Treasurer/Membership: Darren Rout
Secretary/Public Officer: Laura Wilson
Competitions Officer: Rachel Mitchell
Publicity Officer: Vacant

General committee members:
Phil Green
Nicole Kelly

All nominations were uncontested. If you are interested in the publicity position, or helping out with publicity, please contact us and we’d love to have a chat.

Thank you to everyone in the 2021 committee. Your work has been greatly appreciated!

Book review – The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer, by Christopher Clarey

Title: The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer

Author: Christopher Clarey

Publisher: John Murray/Hachette Australian, 2021; RRP: $32.99

Christopher Clarey is a well-known international sports writer for The New York Times, having covered global sports for the Times and International Herald Tribune for more than 25 years. He is one of the world’s leading authorities on tennis, reporting on 90 grand slams and interviewing many of the major tennis stars. Clarey has followed Roger Federer since the beginning of his tennis career, and has had wide access to Federer’s inner circle. 

In The Master, Christopher Clarey tells of the rise of Federer as a young tennis player through to the champion the world knows today. He delves into the style and persona Federer developed over the years, and gives an insight into the player he has become.  Of significant importance has been the team Federer based around him: the fitness trainer, the coach and the psychologist.  Their contribution to the success of Federer is woven throughout the book.  

Having spent years interviewing him, and being in his company on and off the tennis court, Clarey writes of the growth of Federer on a personal level. He looks at the man behind the image, describing how Federer dealt with ups and downs and losses and wins of his career.

Christopher Clarey talks about ‘The Master’

ubitennis interview at youtube

Threaded throughout the book are interviews with other great tennis players, particularly those who have challenged and beaten Federer over the years.  Amongst those are Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Roddick. They speak of friendship and respect as well as the influence that Federer has had on the development of their own game. His early meeting with Mirka Vavrinec, who later became his wife, was a pivotal moment in his life. Her support and belief, and her involvement in Federer’s career, gave him the solid foundation to become the best tennis player he could be.

For fans of Roger Federer, and the world of tennis competition, this book is a fascinating read.  It gives great insight into Federer as a tennis player, the man who transitioned from a difficult teenager to one of the greatest tennis players in the world.  It is well written and engaging. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Reviewed by: Linda Young

Ballarat Writers Inc. Book Review Group

Review copy supplied by the publisher

AGM is nigh

Ballarat Writers invites members to attend our annual general meeting on 16 February.

We do need to make quorum, so please come along if you can.

The AGM tends to not require a big commitment in time. There is the opportunity to have a meal and a drink along with a catch-up outside of the official business, and there will be a free drink for members to help mark the occasion. 

A key point of business will be the election of the committee to oversee operations for the year ahead. Advance nominations close today, 9 February, but nominations will be accepted from the floor at the AGM.

Some committee members will not be standing again so please consider if contributing to BW and the writing community through a committee role is something you’d like to do. There is a handover plan in place to ease the transition.

We are calling for nominations for the following Office Bearers:

  • Chairperson
  • Treasurer & Membership Coordinator
  • Secretary/Public Officer
  • Competitions Coordinator                                                        
  • Publicity & Media Coordinator
  • General Committee Member 

Note: The position of Treasurer requires skills and experience in finance and/or bookkeeping. Position reports and descriptions are available from the website.

Where: Bunch of Grapes, 401 Pleasant St South, Ballarat
When: 6.30pm, 16 February 2022
Cost: FREE 
Refreshments: Drinks and meals will be available to purchase, and members will be provided with a drink ticket on arrival valid for basic alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, tea and coffee.
Covid: The venue will be operating under the Covid restrictions of the day. Proof of double vaccination is required to attend.

For further information contact Rebecca Fletcher:

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