1 thought on “The River Ophelia”

  1. I loved The River Ophelia. I first read about the novel in an article which contextualised ‘grunge lit’ and ‘dirty realism’ whereby two of my favourite authors were cited, Andrew McGahan and Christos Tsiolkas. The River Ophelia however has very little in common with Praise or Loaded, both of which were published at or around the same time in the early to mid-nineties, and to my perception has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘grunge’ or ‘dirty realism’. The River Ophelia is a well-w [...]

  2. I can see what the author was trying to do, but it just reads as a pathetic woman who can't do anything for herself, an incredibly unlikeable character, and I ended up sympathising with the men even though they were supposed to be the villains.

  3. I loved this book. A pastiche of references from Shakespeare, de Sade, Batailles to Bret Easton Ellis sets the framework for the action. Ettler’s exhilarating prose takes us on a roller coaster ride. Some scenes made me laugh out loud. Others were poignant or horrifying. Subtle character analysis is not the point. When a character is named Hamlet, what more do you need to know? The visceral descriptions of sex, parties, drinking, bodily effluent, urban trash and grime will evoke strong respons [...]

  4. Great work. At last, an Australian novel of above average intelligence that engages with Critical Theory and is also an unputdownable read. Like The Hours does for Mrs Dalloway, this book is a definite recommend for anyone who enjoyed American Psycho but wanted something Australian and realistic.

  5. I originally bought this book second hand recommended by a friend and I can’t understand why it was taken out of print. It’s one of the most gripping books I’ve ever read. I also love its authenticity and the way its so in your face. For the first 100 pages or so I couldn’t put it down, it was so fast-paced. The style is also really good, the writing’s not trying to be beautiful or anything but what it does really well is puts you right there so that you can experience almost first han [...]

  6. Justine Ettler inserts The Marquis De Sade, Bataille, and Shakespeare's, Hamlet and Ophelia into her narrative. Interestingly her characters inhabit the bleak suburban landscape of Melbourne (unnamed in the text). Here she proceeds to explore her themes of sexuality and power. It's raw and uncompromising and Ettler doesn't hold anything back. Accordingly lacks some subtlety and becomes a little repetitive but I found it a challenging thought provoking read nonetheless. It's been labelled "dirty [...]

  7. I really enjoyed reading and rereading The River Ophelia. I think I got a lot more out of it the second time around. The difference between reading it as a 25 year old and then as a 47 year old is that this time I got the concept of it. There’s a story behind the story and I don’t think I noticed that at all the first time around. The River Ophelia describes drama that could happen to anyone behind closed doors. It does not paint a pretty picture of events, but it is not meant to.

  8. An endless tedium of one dimensional characters and descriptive lists that I couldn't bring myself to finish. Glad to be rid of it from my shelves.

  9. I read this years ago. It was part of the grunge literature fad in Australia that lasted for about 12 months. They published some truly awful books trying to cash in on the success of a couple if books, like Andrew McGanhan's Praiseat, that were actually worth reading.I made it about two thirds of the way through before giving up. I remember that it was a mess of references, not quite believable characters, over the top dialogue with a couple of gross out scenes thrown in for good measure. Decid [...]

  10. I read this book again and again in my late teens and decided to revisit it many, many years later. It may have just been my mood at the time but I struggled to get through it. I found it jumbled and confused and I didn’t really like any of the characters. I think I’m unlikely to read it again as an adult. So this book would have a 4 star review from 19 year old me and has a 2 star review from me as a 41 year old.

  11. Justine Ettler amazing riveting read - touching the heart and soul of any person who has reached the depths of pleasure and pain. Your one of the best writers Sydney has to offer - and thank you for making the time to share with the public your skill and talents.

  12. The River Ophelia is a Bret Easton Ellis wannabe novel. It lacks substance, intrigue and suspense. It's vulgar. The book is not sexy, which is frustrating as there are 'sex scenes' every 3-4 pages. The protagonist is boring and her issues have no substance. Overall a pretty crappy read

  13. A bizarre, irritating and nauseating book. I finished it out of morbid fascination rather than enjoyment. Sick, twisted and disturbing. Well written but unpleasant.

  14. This is just nasty - sensationalist and shocking just for the sake of if it. This stuff should have been kept inside her diary!

  15. This novel belongs in the 90s: nihilistic, masochistic, utterly derived from Critical Theory. Nasty tedium personified.

  16. One of those things I just kept reading despite not being entirely sure of what I was feeling or thinking. A perfect holiday read.

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