Nights with Grace by Rosie Scott & Strange Objects by Gary Crew

Reviewed by
December 1990–January 1991, no. 127
Kathryn Hope reviews 'Nights with Grace' by Rosie Scott and 'Strange Objects' by Gary Crew

Nights with Grace

by Rosie Scott

William Heinemann Australia, 130 pp, $24.95 hb

Book Cover 2 Small

Strange Objects

by Gary Crew

William Heinemann Australia, 85 pp, $24.95 hb

Buy this book

Nights with Grace by Rosie Scott & Strange Objects by Gary Crew

Reviewed by
December 1990–January 1991, no. 127

My acid test of a good novel is how long the characters reverberate in the consciousness after the book has been put down. After I read both these books, I carried Grace Starr and Steven Messenger around in my head for weeks – both of them dangerous and mysterious persons, but in very different ways.

In Nights with Grace, Rosie Scott has once again demonstrated her ability to convey the subtle essence of femaleness, writing about women with the same honesty and understanding she showed in Glory Days. Grace Starr’s dreamily emerging seventeen-year-old sensuality is echoed by the voluptuous tropical vegetation of the island of Rarotonga and the spectacular, sex-and-sherry sodden decay of her mother Mara, whose beauty rots even as Grace’s blooms. The images of heat, wetness, secret underground processes, lush flowering and dank decomposition create a rich setting for Grace’s bitter-sweet progress in self-discovery:

... she was preoccupied with monitoring herself, listening for signs, she heard voices, her blood singing in her veins, the quiet formation of intricate tender structures going on inside her.

Scott has a gift for describing sensation and emotion in a way that captures all the intensity of the moment:

She kept thinking of him in images unbearably sweetened by loss, his warm body weighing on her, the salty smell of his skin, his eyes swollen with love as he lay sprawled beside her, punch-drunk with sex. She thought of the way they used to talk all through the night sometimes, lying in the dark with their eyes ahead like two schoolkids, speaking in soft voices of old painful things, ruminating, trying out their living history on each other in the safe dark.

Kathryn Hope reviews 'Nights with Grace' by Rosie Scott and 'Strange Objects' by Gary Crew

Nights with Grace

by Rosie Scott

William Heinemann Australia, 130 pp, $24.95 hb

Book Cover 2 Small

Strange Objects

by Gary Crew

William Heinemann Australia, 85 pp, $24.95 hb

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