Book Review – TRIO by Geraldine Wooller
Trio Synopsis :
Celia, Marcia, and Mickey meet and become friends in London. Searching for work and success in the theatre, they end up sharing a flat and a deep bond of friendship.
Set in Italy, London and Australia from the sixties to current times, Trio is the story of their complex personalities and relationships, of the betrayals and desires that threaten to undermine what is in hindsight most important to them. London is vibrantly alive in these pages, filled with music and drama, as is eighties and contemporary Perth, Australia, and Calabria, Italy. But at its heart this is a novel about love and friendship, loss and memory; about three unforgettable characters, and the special moments in all our lives that, through perceived hurt or fear, sometimes threaten to fall away and be lost forever. In this, her fourth novel, Geraldine Wooller captures with masterful wit and intelligence, and without a hint of sentimentality the essence of the human predicament. (Transit Lounge)
Although fiction, there is clearly much within Trio that is deeply personal to author Geraldine Wooller’s life experience. I am left in two minds as to whether that influence on the omnipotent viewpoint is ultimately a strength or weakness.
Wooller writes such lovely prose, langorous descriptive passages that I found myself enveloped by.
Quite a tall girl, she had that I’m-a-cut-above-you look on her face, she could feel it, standing there gazing – somewhat myopically – through the smoky air. Mickey, the observer, was looking at her, smiling at the disdain. He took to her immediately: a fair young damsel with her chin raised, looking everyone over, long eyelashes, intelligence dancing all over her face, along with that uppity air.
For me though, on several occasions the initial feeling of being pleasantly immersed morphed into a feeling of being at sea. Although the characters were well developed, their personalities are aloof and their internal narratives quite tangential. Add to that the story being told in nostalgic, reflective sequences from a late-in-life viewpoint, and the demographic that would wholly connect to the story narrows.
In Trio Wooller speaks to the issues of alcoholism and addictive personality traits more generally, the meaning ascribed to different types of human interaction, particularly friendship, and the reliance placed upon those connections. Although highly worthy of discussion and exploration, the subject matter does conjure a melancholic mood and limited story propulsion.
While I admire Geraldine Wooller’s talent with language, I think Trio may be better suited to those later in life and having had different experiences than mine.
BOOK RATING: The Story 2 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
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Genre: Drama, Historical, Literature
This review counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2015 and the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2015.
Geraldine Wooller was born in Perth and started travelling at the age of twenty, living in London for two years, then later in Rome also for two years, and later in Sydney. In London she worked in the Earl’s Court Exhibition building’s cafeteria, in the industrial canteen, dishing Yorkshire Pudding and then Spotted Dick onto plates for the workers. Later she trained as a comptometer operator and earned her living thus for several years. In Rome in the late 1960s she worked as a bilingual secretary for an executive in an American company, where she ran up and down stairs in between taking down letters in almost indecipherable shorthand. In the 1970s she took out a degree in Italian and Linguistics from The University of Western Australia and subsequently completed a Diploma in Education. Since then she has worked in a number of positions in Western Australian universities and as a teacher of European languages. Still later she trained as a teacher of English as a Second Language and worked for some years as a teacher at Perth TAFE.
Trio is her fourth novel. Her second novel, The Seamstress, was shortlisted for the Barbara Jefferis Award, the Western Australian Premier’s Award and long listed for The International Dublin IMPAC Award.
Other reviews of Trio: Sydney Morning Herald
* Receiving this title free from Transit Lounge did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions in the review above.