In some ways reading it makes me feel like I did when I first started reading grown-up books. Some of the allusions go over my head. There's a glossary of Aussie terms in the back, but not everything is in there. For example, when a character ordered a "long black," it took me a while to figure out it was a coffee. So some of it I'm just trying to pick up through context, like a growing reader. A few times Temple has used words I have never ever heard of. And the book is partly about politics and I have a hard time following them. It took me a while to figure out that one character was aboriginal and was getting guff because of it.
The other thing that occasionally confuses me is that in this book Temple had a thing for K names, both first and last. Kiely, Koenig, Keith, Kidd. And I guess I'm a lazy reader because I got them confused.
But, but BUT - this book is wonderful on so many levels. First of all, Temple had created real, whole people. His main character, Villani (interesting name choice) has some major flaws, but you see WHY he is that way and how he suffers for them.
And the writing is simply gorgeous. Page 245: "Deep in the freezer, he found a pizza encased in shrink-wrap. He microwaved it and sat at the monk's table to eat. It tasted like food found in a glacier, locked in the ice for a hundred years, a memory of a pizza in which all the good parts were forgotten."
If you like deeply intelligent crime fiction, you have to read this book. If you want to be a better writer, you have to read this book.