The Landing very much reminded me of a cross between two books I read last year which I compared at the time Indian Summer and There Must Be Some Mistake in which nothing really happened.Interestingly, I enjoyed the former and disliked the latter Both were well written but with a limited plot arc it very much came down to the characters Those in Indian Summer interested me and those in There Must Be Some Mistake managed to simultaneously annoy the crap out of me and bore me to tears.The Landing falls somewhere in between Much of the pace was a tad slow for me although I didn t necessarily mind the meandering style of storytelling.But I felt we head hopped a little too much and I struggled to find any of the characters other than Giselle whose purpose I never understood particularly endearing Johnson did a good job of communicating her characters introspection so I probably would have liked to have seen of this from fewer people The Landing s well written however and Johnson s wry tone and occasionally sarcastic observations were the most enjoyable part of the novel for me.Read the full review on my blog If a separated man about to be divorced is in possession of a good fortune, must he be in want of a new wife So begins Susan Johnson s The Landing, which tells the story of a well to do, good looking 55 year old man trying to recalibrate his life after his wife leaves him for a woman.Jonathan Lott is scared of being alone, but he can t quite believe that his marriage is over Seeking solitude and a place to lick his wounds he spends as much time as he can at the couple s holiday home at The Landing, 150km north of Brisbane.But in this quiet lakeside community with just a few streetlights, a couple of bitumen roads, no reticulated water or sewage and patchy mobile phone coverage Jonathan s comings and goings are witnessed and commented upon by the locals who live there.What results is a relatively lighthearted story that is essentially a comedy of manners when is it socially acceptable to start dating again after you ve separated, for instance that focuses not just on Jonathan s lacklustre love life but the lives and loves of pretty much everyone living in this rural backwater, including Penny Collins, her demanding and elderly French mother Marie and her shallow and narcissistic daughter Scarlet Sylv, who runs the only shop in town Paul Raymond, who leaves his wife to shack up with the much younger Scarlet Gordie, the Glaswegian doctor, and his pretty daughter Anna and Giselle, a seven year old girl from an impoverished background who roams The Landing in search of company.To read my review in full, please visit my blog. Jonathan Lott Is Confused His Wife Has Left Him For A Woman And He Doesn T Like Living Alone Is It True That An About To Be Divorced Man In Possession Of A Good Fortune Is In Need Of A New Wife Would Penny Collins Do, Divorced Herself, School Teacher And Frustrated Artist What About Beautiful Anna, Blown In From Who Knows Where, Trailing Broken Marriages Behind Her There S A Lot Happening At The Landing, Where Jonathan Has His Beach House, And He S About To Find Out How Much Love MattersSusan Johnson S Stunning New Novel, Written With Her Trademark Wit And Insight, Brilliantly Observes What It Is To Be Human And To Love The Betrayals, The Long And The Short Alliances, The Disappointments And The Joys The Landing Celebrates All Of It With Verve And Style Chill and read Susan Johnson maybe 3 1 2 as I was a bit disappointed that it was finished Sequel coming Very real characters , and an almost hasty chronicling of their next moves Lovely nature images. 3.5 Loved the setting of this somewhere up on the Sunshine Coast perhaps around North Shore Not too far from Noosaville my favourite getaway at the moment and Tewantin, anyway I found the characters a bit hard to keep track of not helped by the fact that I was reading an ebook, so couldn t flip back and forth easily A list of characters might have been helpful I didn t really like the main character I felt he was a bit pathetic, and in fact, as I think about it, most of the characters weren t ones I could empathise with, because they all irritated me to some extent It wasn t the easiest of books to read perhaps partly because I didn t like the characters , but I m glad I read it and will be interested to try of the author s works. ,. I ve just finished Susan Johnson s new novel, The Landing Wow, this woman can write I felt so completely engrossed in this story I felt like I was sitting in somebody s lounge room, listening to small town gossip and family squabbles I felt completely inside the heads of the characters their dreams, their desires, their fears and uncertainties The Landing is a small coastal town somewhere on the Sunshine Coast, made up of aging hippies, retirees and wealthy weekend beach house owners As with Susan s other novels, the characters feel like people I know relatives or acquaintances There is French Marie, aging gracefully, intolerant of everyone and everything around her Her daughter Penny, divorced, her only child having ruined her chances at life by running off with a much older man, her grandchildren wild and untamed There is Johnathon Lott, whose wife has left him for another woman Oh, the shame How is he now to be happy There is unconventional Anna, with a string of broken marriages and husbands behind her There is the retired physician, the gossiping shop owners, the neglected child The whole microcosm of life is contained in The Landing and Susan exploits the foibles and failings of its residents with humour, wit and sensitive observation Penny recalls her ex husband thus Somehow Penny had intuited her way to the bleakest man in Australia some suffering in her led straight to the suffering in himher ex husband was a zealot stripped of a cause Marie s view on life in distress, a miserable, cracked family becomes only miserable in an earthquake china is broken than when the earth is still Even now, all these years later, Marie could list her mother s cruelties, large and small, her floundering jealousies, her limited emotional repertoire There was no benefit to suffering, no purpose, no meaning Suffering did not ennoble grief did not bind people together but only cast them out into separate spheres of sorrow Penny s angst How do you measure value, or success She walked on, hoping that if she walked far enough or long enough or hard enough she might walk out of the anger that even she knew was a substitute for something else as if she might walk her way out of the painful riddle of being alive Susan s descriptions of landscape are particularly familiar and evocative On the far eastern bank, opposite the settlement known as The Landing, the world s oldest sand dunes separate the immense lake from the ocean Laced and tethered to the earth by fleshy leaved, purple flowered pigface, goat s foot vine and spinifex, held safe from the wind, the dunes rise up from the clean sweep of beach facing ocean Behind them runs a heath, scrubby with low lying pandanus and other hardy plants, which in turn becomes a scribbled forest of melaleuca trees, wrinkled, grey, ghostly Sprinkled throughout are spiny, needle like grass trees and sweet nectared yellow banksias, bursting and round as pompoms, and native fungi, brilliant red, curled like sea anemone or bright orange, leaping like frozen licks of flame Susan s writing makes you wonder how she came to know your own family, or when she inhabited your house and your life without you realising it She has an enviable talent for depicting the banal, minutiae of life combined with the broad brushstrokes of the great existential questions of life why are we here what do we matter how do we make a difference how do we be happy Susan s writing is assured, intelligent, considered and entertaining. While I am guessing that the marketing department at Allen Unwin have chosen this clich cover design to appeal to a wider audience than Susan Johnson s readership who like her literary fiction, the problem is that by focussing our attention on a headless woman on a pier, GettyImagesSearch landing pier n woman the image deflects from the wider meaning of the word landing The landings that Susan Johnson explores in this witty and intelligent novel are those that people make when they find themselves landed in places where they didn t expect to be Metaphorically speaking, that is I don t think marketing departments like metaphorical much After a long period of being married, Jonathon Lott has landed on the perilous rocky shore of marital separation He s wealthy, good looking, only 55, still able to attract the attention of hopefuls within and outside his age bracket But it s not what he wants He doesn t want to start again, he wants the ease of a comfortable old marriage Perhaps this contributed to Sarah s departure readers will make up their own minds about that.That very ambiguity is what lifts the novel out of the predictable romance genre It goes nowhere near Relationships 101 because the author brings original insights to bear on the story It s narrated from several points of view besides Jonathan s, ranging across the generations with Penny Collins in the middle, sandwiched between the demands of her difficult old mother Marie and her impulsive daughter Scarlet.To read the rest of my review please visit I finished this book weeks ago And yet I m still struggling with the review I really should have loved this book And yetFirstly, it had a local setting, South East Queensland and Brisbane I m from Queensland and I lived in Brisbane for several years and the descriptions of it are spot on I even got a little sentimental about the city at times The Landing itself is a fictional seaside or lakeside actually town supposedly a couple of hours north of Brisbane It could be any number of real life places though Small communities where affluent city folk search for their tree sea change Even without the setting, the age of the main characters should have popped this book on my favourites list immediately I love older characters and this book is chock full of them, mostly in crisis And yetMost of the focus is on Penny and Jonathan Both are in middle aged, with marital issues and children issues and aging parent issues and career issues I did like Penny a lot I got a little weepy several times when reading about her and her life And yet, in the end, I was severely underwhelmed by Penny s outcome I came away thinking I had all this lovely background and some conflict with Penny s plot but no resolution Jonathan, however I thought for a while I was close to liking him, but his ending, again, felt wrong I need to mention the cover too in this review The cover is just shockingly unsuitable for the book This is definitely feminine literature The cover to me screams romantic fluff I love romantic fluff, so I m not bashing that at all In fact, I requested this book because of the pretty cover, and that might be why I ve struggled since finishing There is no romantic fluff So After several weeks, I m still undecided as to whether or not I even liked the book I think I ll give it 3 stars.
Susan Johnson was shortlisted for the 1991 Victorian Premier s Literary Award for her novel Flying Lessons, shortlisted for the 1994 National Book Council s Banjo Award for the novel A Big Life and shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2000 for her memoir A Better Woman Her other books include Hungry Ghosts, Messages from Chaos, Women Love Sex editor and contributor and Life in Seven Mis
- Kindle Edition
- 212 pages
- The Landing
- Susan Johnson
- 03 September 2019 Susan Johnson