Nov 18, 2016

A Nina Proudman Friday. 'Joe Cinque's Consolation' by Helen Garner.

I hereby declare today a Nina Proudman Friday.

A day for slipping on a print wrap dress,

via Pinterest
and boldly accessorizing

and also for managing to do both with freshly blow dryed hair.   Even if I don't exactly / remotely look like Nina with all of the above, it's hard not to feel like one of her internal dialogue voice overs or stranger than fiction day dreams could happen to you as you float about (but with purpose) through your day.  Maybe I should change the ringtone on my iPhone to make the whole scenario more complete.

My dress is the Kristie from Hibiscus and Sparrow and my necklace was from Forever 21 a million years ago.

It's been team Aldi on the blog for most of the week and since I love sticking to a theme, I've got more for you today.  Aldi have a new range of brown rice pouches and I tried the brown rice and quinoa version last night.  It's got the perfect consistency when reheated as directed and tastes as good as if you'd slaved over the stove to make it from scratch yourself.  From memory, it was around $2.50 for a two serve pouch.  I'm going back for more.

When I'm done being Nina Proudman for the day (and eating instant brown rice and quinoa from Aldi), I intend to head home and sneakily read as much of  Joe Cinque's Consolation as I can between bursts of parenting.

If you're a lover of true crime, you're in for a treat.  If you were curious about the genre but didn't know where to start, this is also your book.  To briefly give you context, Joe Cinque was a young engineer who was murdered by his lover Anu Singh in 1997.  Singh was convicted of the murder in 1999.  She was sentenced to ten years imprisonment (on account of diminished capacity) and released in 2001.  She went on to further her studies at the University of Sydney 's Faculty of Law having previously completing her Masters of Criminology through the same university while on day release from prison.

It is clear from collateral history that Singh was a troubled young woman at the time of her crime.  Her adolescence was marked by a kind of detached relationship to her boyfriends, she became increasingly persecuted by a poor body image and somatic complaints and she then began using illicit drugs.  By all accounts, her medical practitioner parents did their best to encourage her to seek psychiatric care but Singh herself never seemed to engaged with this.  Singh was also physically attractive with a glittering personality.  The love that she and Cinque had, at least at the beginning, was all encompassing with each feeling the need to have some kind of control over the other.

Garner manages to do so many things with this novel.  She gives the writing personal context by  discussing how she came to start writing this book and how it was at a time of great personal upheaval.  Aside from presenting the facts from the media and legal proceedings, she also presents her own interviews with key figures of the trial, including Cinque's parents and the judge who delivered Singh's sentence.  Singh herself declined to speak with Garner or anyone else in public in this time since her conviction.

What I found most fascinating was Garner's skill in bringing each person to life with her words.  There was an added diamension to each person that is often missing in the way crime is covered in the newspaper.  Garner was quite frank in disclosing her own impressions of Singh (whom she disliked at first sight)  early on in the novel but she also writes with as much analysis and objectivity about Cinque's family too.

'Joe Cinque's Consolation' isn't the most uplifting or feelgood novel to be reading over the summer break but if you do need something engaging and a bit meatier than some chick lit or a celebrity memoir, then perhaps consider reading this.  The movie adaptation of the novel has just been released which was directed by a classmate of Singh's.

Do you read true crime?  Any great reads you'd suggest?

Having a Nina Proudman Friday yourself?

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