'The first time Brenda Walker packed her bag to go into hospital, she wondered which book to take with her. As a novelist and professor of literature, her life had been built around reading and writing. Now she was also a patient, being treated for breast cancer, fighting for her life and afraid for herself and her family. But turning to medicine didn't mean she turned away from fiction. Books had always been her solace and sustenance, and now choosing the right one was the most important thing she could do for herself.
'In Reading by Moonlight, Brenda describes the five stages of her treatment and how different books and authors helped her through the tumultuous process of recovery. As well as offering wonderful introductions and insights into the work of writers like Dante, Tolstoy, Nabokov, Beckett and Dickens, Brenda shows how the very process of reading - surrendering and then regathering yourself - echoes the process of healing.
'Reading by Moonlight guides, reassures, throws light on dark places, and finds beauty in the stories that come to us in times of jeopardy. It affirms that reading can be essential to life itself.' (From the publisher's website.)
'In Law and Literature, a subject offered to the University of Melbourne’s final-year law students, they study Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man and Helen Garner’s Joe Cinque’s Consolation. In both books the law fails. Or as Gary Cazalet, who got the subject up and running, says of Hooper’s book: ‘It is an indictment of our legal system and it isn’t.’ I’d put it another way. In both books the victims’ families find, in law, neither solace nor justice. Justice, that is, the way we laypeople like to imagine it: morally purifying, thunderously absolute, a revelation, a release—justice of the kind that law can rarely give us.' (Author's introduction)