I have broad tastes: Jimmy Little, Sufjan Stevens, Frank Sinatra, Radiohead, P.J. Harvey, Lorde, Gurrumul, Powder-finger, Karma County, Sex Pistols, Paris Combo … I’d like to be able to drop some more highbrow names into the mix, but honestly I never listen to Mozart or Bach.
In Linda Jaivins’ new novel, the protagonist is a Jaivinesque Australian expat shivering in a Beijing butong room. Kate Holden follows the twists and turns of The Empress Lover, with certain reservations.
‘Look, here I am, I’m sixteen and I’m hundreds of miles from home! I want adventure! I want excitement! I want to boldly go where no Noble has gone before. Look at me! Look! Look!’ In Leonie Stevens’s Eat Well and Stay Out of Jail, Vicky Noble has left Melbourne to escape the tedium of a shelf-stacking job at the supermarket and the torment of a publicly failed romance. Vicky wants more than just to run away from her life. She craves a brand new one, preferably on the Jack Kerouac model.
One hardly knew where to look. There were breasts everywhere. Not dozens of them mind you. Just two. On Mistress Sabine. The left mammary with a disturbing blue vein running over it, seeming to fill half the room on its lonesome. Other bits and pieces of the Mistress bulged alarmingly around the inadequate constraints of her leather fetish outfit, threatening to break free completely as she tied up Linda Jaivin and administered a paddling at the launch of the author’s Confessions of an S&M Virgin.