This episode I am joined by the lovely Australian author Mirandi Riwoe.
Mirandi is the author of the novella The Fish Girl, which won Seizure’s Viva la Novella Prize and was shortlisted for the 2018 Stella Prize and the Queensland Literary Award’s UQ Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Griffith Review and Best Summer Stories. Mirandi has a PhD in Creative Writing and Literary Studies and lives in Brisbane. She also writes the Heloise Chancey historical crime series under a pseudonym MJ Tjia. Her latest novel is Stone Sky Gold Mountain.
In the early 1900s, teenaged Sunja, the adored daughter of a crippled fisherman, falls for a wealthy stranger at the seashore near her home in Korea. He promises her the world, but when she discovers she is pregnant–and that her lover is married–she refuses to be bought. Instead, she accepts an offer of marriage from a gentle, sickly minister passing through on his way to Japan. But her decision to abandon her home, and to reject her son’s powerful father, sets off a dramatic saga that will echo down through the generations.
Richly told and profoundly moving, Pachinko is a story of love, sacrifice, ambition, and loyalty. From bustling street markets to the halls of Japan’s finest universities to the pachinko parlors of the criminal underworld, Lee’s complex and passionate characters–strong, stubborn women, devoted sisters and sons, fathers shaken by moral crisis–survive and thrive against the indifferent arc of history.
Mirandi paired this beautiful story with a delicious and spicy Korean beef soup which her daughter learned how to make from Tik Tok!
Singapore, 1939: life on the eve of World War II just isn’t what it used to be for Walter Blackett, head of British Singapore’s oldest and most powerful firm. No matter how forcefully the police break one strike, the natives go on strike somewhere else. His daughter keeps entangling herself with the most unsuitable beaus, while her intended match, the son of Blackett’s partner, is an idealistic sympathizer with the League of Nations and a vegetarian. Business may be booming—what with the war in Europe, the Allies are desperate for rubber and helpless to resist Blackett’s price-fixing and market manipulation—but something is wrong. No one suspects that the world of the British Empire, of fixed boundaries between classes and nations, is about to come to a terrible end.
A love story and a war story, a tragicomic tale of a city under siege and a dying way of life, Mirandi pairs this beautiful book with the Stengah, a drink made from equal measures whiskey and soda – refreshing yet strong, simple and elegant.
Bereft by Chris Womersley
Australia, 1919. Quinn Walker returns from the Great War to the New South Wales town of Flint: the birthplace he fled ten years earlier when he was accused of a heinous act. Aware of the townsmen’s vow to hang him, Quinn takes to the surrounding hills. Here, deciding upon his plan of action, and questioning just what he has returned for, he meets Sadie Fox.
This mysterious girl seems to know, and share, his darkest fear. And, as their bond greatens, Quinn learns what he must do to lay the ghosts of his past, and Sadie’s present, to rest.
Justine would pair this book with a Tarago River Cheese called Shades of Blue as it is creamy, rich, sharp and poignant and it lingers long after you have finished it!
This episode of Literary Elixirs was recorded via Zoom, please forgive any minor technical glitches!
Into/Outro music is Mosquito Mojito by Rachel K. Collier. Sourced from Free Music Archive under a Creative Commons Licence.