Books That Changed Me: Karen Foxlee
Karen Foxlee writes for children and adults. Her latest novel, Lenny's Book of Everything (Allen & Unwin), is about a young boy who has a rare form of gigantism and won't stop growing.
THE WRONG GRAVE
One of my favourite collections of short stories contains my favourite story, The Wizards of Perfil. I still get that feeling of wonder when I think about these short stories that are a mix of speculative fiction and horror but also so much more. Link's stories stop you in your tracks, fill you with dread, make you laugh, make you cry. I love these stories because the magic is so raw and earthy and real.
PEACE LIKE A RIVER
I read this three times one year and still turn back to it from time to time. It's the story of the Land family and their journey across the Dakotas in search of eldest son, Davy, a fugitive on the run for double murder. I remember being so struck by the narrator's voice, asthmatic Reuben. It's cinematic, deeply evocative, and the language is so pure and clear.
The story of orphans Ruthie and Lucille, their Aunt Sylvie and a house falling to disrepair around them was so powerful that I can remember keeping the book beside my bed for nearly two years. I just didn't want to say goodbye to it. In this strange beautiful coming-of-age story Marilynne Robinson writes with such precision. I still carry imagery from this story around inside me. It made me think about all the ridiculous things women are meant to aspire to and all the freedoms associated with ruin and transience.
STRANGE STORIES AMAZING FACTS
This isn't a novel but it's a book and it influenced me hugely as a child. Mum received the Readers Digest by mail and this was one of her prizes. It introduced me to a multitude of strange facts and terrifying happenings and ignited my lifelong passion with scaring myself through stories. The most haunted house in England, automatic hand writing, ghostly faces appearing in kitchen tiles, doppelgangers, spontaneous human combustion. Just about every weird thing I know I learned from this book.
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