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The Last Girlfriend on Earth: And Other Love Stories
Simon Rich
The Dog Stars
Peter Heller
Eucalyptus - Murray Bail A novel of courtship in the Australian outback. I'm always leery of books that include a reading group guide. The publisher is obviously targeting book clubs, which are all the rage these days. But I had remembered this book getting very good reviews, and Murray Bail being a generally respected writer. When I picked this book up for free I decided to give it a try. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but I can see why it hasn't been a hit with book groups. Eucalyptus is a difficult book to get into. Bail often steps out of the novel to discuss the novel itself, the technical aspects. He spends a paragraph comparing the paragraph to a paddock, with both the gate and indent serving as entry points. And the title shouldn't be taken lightly. There are hundreds of species of Eucalyptus, second in number only to the Acacia. The father in the novel decrees that whatever man can name every Eucalyptus species on his property can have his daughter's hand in marriage. His daughter is mythically beautiful. I would call this book a botanical fable. Stories are woven in and out of these strange prolific trees building to a predictable, but satisfying conclusion.