BOOK REVIEW: Indelible Ink (Fiona McGregor, Scribe)

Indelible Ink is a modern story with a positive message about a woman taking control of her life and body after divorce. Marie, 59, is introduced as a typical upper-class Sydney housewife who quickly becomes intrigued and then a little obsessed with the art of tattooing and the lifestyle of the people in the tattooing business. It is this obsession, as well as her family’s response to her tattoos, that produces much of the emotion and action in the story. Marie’s children see her tattoos as challenging the accepted image of their mother, which also disrupts how they view themselves. Fiona  McGregor presents a refreshing view of life in Australia—specifically Sydney—that celebrates the doubts, challenges and ordinary activities and emotions of everyday life. Structurally it is sometimes difficult to read, with extended chapters, but the characters are so engrossing that, paradoxically, you don’t want to put the book down. Appealing to an older female audience, the language is emotive and mature, interspersed with confronting scenes that explore the deeper desires of the characters. Through her body art, Marie discovers how to be truly content, passing this knowledge on to her family as well as the reader.

Carly Been is a bookseller and is currently studying the history of publishing and bookselling in Australia. This review first appeared in the May/June 2010  issue of Bookseller+Publisher.

The new issue has landed!

Ah, there’s the new-magazine smell again. Yes, the May/June combined issue of Bookseller+Publisher magazine just arrived in the office.

This issue has a gazillion reviews of as-yet-unpublished books (okay, 75), including such highly anticipated titles as Rebecca James’ Beautiful Malice (A&U, May), Fiona McGregor’s Indelible Ink (Scribe, June), Peter Rose’s Roddy Parr (Fourth Estate, July), Leanne Hall’s Text YA prize-winning This is Shyness (August) and Benjamin Law’s debut The Family Law (Black Inc., June). (If you want to know what some of our reviewers’ top picks were you can read about them in this post.)

As well as all those reviews, the May/June issue includes Kalinda Ashton (The Danger Game, Sleepers) writing about how she got where she is today, Kabita Dhara on the publishing scene in India, author interviews with Susan Maushart, Ben Groundwater, Bill McKibben, Amanda Braxton-Smith and James Phelan and lots more besides.

Subscribers, it will be on its way to you very soon. Non-subscribers, you’ll find a list of places you can buy a copy here. (Or you could, you know, subscribe: $130 a year. Bargain.)