Toni Jordan

In the swampy heat of a Brisbane summer in 1986, a young bookshop assistant tries to solve a fifty-year-old mystery involving Inga Karlson, a legendary New York author who died in a warehouse fire in 1939. Caddie Walker, the bookseller, is idealistic enough to believe that books can change people’s lives ...

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It is the morning after a husband's affair has been discovered, and the house is in chaos: the opening to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (1877) is deliberately evoked in Toni ...

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I feel for reviewers – they can't win. If they review seriously, with gravitas and responsibility, it's difficult to find enough readers. If they shake things up with a bit of drama, they're sledged for being gimmicky. If they say nice things about someone they know (and in Australia everyone is someone you know), they're dismissed as sucks. If they deliver difficult judgements, they're attacked by the thin-skinned. All the while, spaces for intelligent engagement are shrinking.

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Toni Jordan’s third novel, after the successful Addition (2009), takes its story from a photograph that graces the cover and that the author tells us she pondered for a long time. It is a romantic wartime scene, a crush of bodies at a Melbourne train station, mostly with soldiers bound for their unknown futures. A woman has been lifted by a stranger on the platform so she can farewell her sweetheart. Jordan tells us the story came to her unexpectedly: ‘grand and sweeping, but also intimate and fragile.’ From this one image nine characters emerge whose lives are interconnected and whose voices will be heard individually in the ensuing nine chapters.

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After her success with Addition (2008), Toni Jordan is back with a second novel, Fall Girl, an attempt, according to Jordan, to recreate on the page the romantic screen comedies of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s...

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