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Nine Days by Toni Jordan
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Nine Days

by Toni Jordan

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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
(8.5)This book is clever in its structure. The nine days of the title refers to nine days in the lives of nine members of one family, nine chapters in all. Each chapter is titled with the name of the narrator and takes the reader backwards and forwards through three generations of the family until we have an understanding of the events unfolding in the photo on the front cover of the book. I especially enjoyed the historical settings and characters but found the twin sisters of modern times jarring. They reminded me of the unlikable, flippant characters portrayed in ‘Fall Girl’. However overall this was a very good read. ( )
  HelenBaker | May 31, 2017 |
Enjoyable read. Liked reading about the history of Richmond, pre world war two as I have family that lived there then. ( )
  SharonStewart | Apr 17, 2013 |
This was quite a good read, though not great. I found I had to read it quickly so as not to lose the thread of the story.
Told by nine different characters, members of an extended family in working class Richmond, Melbourne in the period from 1939 up to almost the present day, it gives a very good insight into what life was like in those times.
However I think the author tried too hard to make it a puzzle/mystery and not enough time in "fleshing-out" her characters. Each chapter represents only one aspect of each character's life told in the first person, and as the relationships were not explained, events didn't become clear until the last chapter by Connie. This showed that what happened to her affected all the others to a great degree. This was the whole point of the story for me and for this reason I would have liked to know a lot more about her. ( )
  lesleynicol | Apr 7, 2013 |
I really liked the way this book was written. The impetus for the story appears to have been the cover picture where a young girl farewells a soldier off to fight in the war. From there Toni Jordan has taken nine people from the same extended family and each gets a chapter to tell the story of one day that made a profound impression on them or changed their life in some way. The cover picture is one of these stories. The nine characters do not tell their stories in order - the time period jumps back and forward but I did not find this confusing. We learn of each character's life through what they say and what others say about them and for me it worked well. I became really engrossed in the story, enjoyed the characters, and finished the book wanting to learn more and fill in the gaps in their lives. This is the first of Toni Jordan's books I have read. I think it may be worth trying another seeing I enjoyed this one so mcuh. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Jan 6, 2013 |
A surprising book, an appealing story, and an introduction to an author I will be reading again. I loved the central device: nine characters each describing (in first person) a pivotal day, a day that completely changed their lives. The days are not presented in order, and that makes it a bit of a puzzle: I like the way each chapter (day) is named for each character, without any hint of time or relationship. We are left to make the connections ourselves, and for me that added an extra level of interest. There are signposts to help us, but the author doesn't let these historic events intrude, other than in the case of the war, which is a central axis around which the whole narrative spins.

The characters are quite well drawn, given that each gets a voice in only one chapter, and is then at the mercy of the other narrators, not all of whom are friendly! A number of Goodreads reviewers complain that they would have liked to spend more time with some of the characters. I take this as evidence of the author's skill. Just like favourite pieces of music leave you wanting more, a book that makes you want to know more about many of the characters is an artistic and technical success. Toni Jordan has achieved that here: I'd love to know Connie better, I want to know more about Kip's career, and I want to find out why Frank ended up as he did. That's the sign of a very fine writer: characters that walk off the page and engage us - whether we like them or despise them.

It's interesting to compare this with another book I've just finished, Xavier Herbert's Capricornia, a sprawling, rambling narrative that spans several generations, just like Nine Days. Herbert's story leaves few stones unturned, few characters with anything left to reveal. It has some important things to say, but it preaches a little relentlessly at times. In contrast, Toni Jordan tells us just enough about each character to make them come to life, and merely hints at issues and leaves us to make up our own minds. Nine Days has the advantage of being a book that can be read comfortably in a weekend.
Compared to Capricornia, it is just a vignette, and is all the more appealing because of its small glimpses into extraordinary moments of ordinary lives. ( )
  russwood | Dec 14, 2012 |
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Book description
It is 1939 and although Australia is about to go to war, it doesn't quite realise yet that the situation is serious. Deep in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond it is business - your own and everyone else's - as usual. And young Kip Westaway, failed scholar and stablehand, is living the most important day of his life.

Kip's momentous day is one of nine that will set the course for each member of the Westaway clan in the years that follow. At the heart of all their stories is Kip, and at the centre of Kip's fifteen-year-old heart is his adored sister Connie. They hold the threads that will weave a family.

In Nine Days Toni Jordan has harnessed all the spiky wit, compassion and lust for life that drew readers in droves to Addition and Fall Girl. Ambitious in scope and structure, triumphantly realised, this is a novel about one family and every family. It is about dreams and fights and sacrifices. And finally, of course, it is - as it must be - about love.
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1939. Australia is about to go to war, but in the working-class Melbourne suburb of Richmond, it is business, your own and everyone else's, as usual. And fifteen-year-old Kip Westaway, failed scholar and proud new owner of a shilling, is living the most important day of his life. Over the seventy years the nine members of the Westaway clan will each experience their own momentous, transformative day. For Kip, for his adored sister Connie and for all the people they love, these nine days will show them exactly who they are.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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