I’m really enjoying my Book Group book for this month: Affection by Ian Townsend. It’s a real pleasure to read, and I didn’t even understand that phrase (surely reading is always a pleasure?) until I had waded through the last five or six bland book group books before this one. No offence to the people at CAE Bookgroups, but why did you send us such bland books? (Thoroughly Decent People, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Mansfield Park and I can’t remember any of the others). And then why did you bang every skerrick of fun out of them with those humourless question-and-answer group discussion booklets?
Affection is set in Townsville in 1900, during a plague scare. Partially it’s fun just reading a book set where you live (I loved the Tasmanian Babes Fiasco for the same reason. In the climax scene, the ‘heroes’ tore down the street where I was living in Paddington, past our front room so to speak, in hot pursuit and with Ride of the Valkyries blasting from speakers mounted on the roof of their milk truck. That was cool.) In this book, the protagonists are constantly dashing from the hospital (which is just down the road from us, and at this moment being converted into art deco ocean-view apartments) out to the beachside suburb of Pallarenda, where they quarantined the plague victims back in the day. I never understood before this, why Pallarenda was so far out of town on its own.
I recommend this book if you want to know what life was like in Townsville in 1900. If you’re wondering what Townsville is like these days, just substitute those galloping horses and carts for hotted-up holdens and fords.