The envy of the neighbourhood kids, newly arrived Colt and Bastian Jenson seem to have it all - a swimming pool, the latest of everything and friendly and welcoming parents, especially their dad Rex. Surely the portrait of the perfect family? So it seems to the Kileys - just down the road, six kids and not enough money.
Played out in 1970s Melbourne and with its young narrators, this is a gripping and disquieting story of suburban life and a mesmerising examination of family dysfunction.
We had a very good discussion, the repercussions of 'the sins of the fathers', and the acceptance by the children that 'someone' has to pay. We all like Australian writers as a rule, but this book opened up an aspect of Australian family dynamics that was new to us, and rather nasty.
All agreed the writing was very strong even those to whom the story did not appeal. Despite this we had a very lively and deep discussion on the themes - especially those hidden within the story.
We all enjoyed this book - a microscopic look at what happens behind closed doors. Beautifully written, wonderful character development and fabulous metaphors.
Wonderful quality of writing by an author who none of our group had previously read. Interesting discussion about power and powerlessness in families, and also in society.
Talented writing, creating suspense and showing a real ability to enter a child's world. The characterisation of the two older boys was especially perceptive and engaging.
The topics covered can be related to different eras and backgrounds. We discussed how these situations are dealt with today compared to earlier generations (decades) and different backgrounds.
The group's overall opinion of 'Golden Boys' was that it was not an enjoyable read. However there was agreement that it was well-written, with good descriptive passages. As usual our discussion was robust, with social and moral issues arising.
This was a book that generated a lot of discussion. The group as a whole loved Hartnett's style of writing. Her use of the metaphor was fresh and evocative and reminded us all of the relative freedom of our childhoods. We were, however, divided on the themes; the grooming of children by a paedophiliac and the realisation that adults are not perfect... Overall, we loved her lyrical style but were perhaps uncomfortable with the tension generated by the topic.
We thought two difficult subjects were well handled by Sonya Hartnett. The subtle building up of tension made for compelling reading. All agreed!
Good book. Quite disconcerting and sad, and we didn't really 'get' the ending. Beautifully written - some of the language was like a picture.
I was the only member who enjoyed this book! Most felt the characters were unconvincing or exaggerated, and one person was irritated by the over-use of similes - so sorry.
We all found this book interesting , though two people felt it was frustratingly unresolved. A very powerfully written and subtle novel, with some thought-provoking insights into childhood traumas.
This was a book that generated a lot of discussion. The group as a whole loved Harnett's style of writing. her use of the metaphor was fresh and evocative and reminded us all of the relative freedom of our childhoods. We were, however, divided on the themes; the grooming of children by a paedophile and the realisation that adults are not perfect. Some felt that the technique of portraying a snapshot of suburban life through the eyes, ears and thoughts of children denied the adults of a voice. Others felt this may have been the intention of the author as it is a reversal of the usual roles.