Australian Fiction

Romy Ash’s début novel, Floundering, sits comfortably in the realm of Australian realism. It depicts the travails of a dysfunctional and impoverished family as they make their way across the country during a scorching Australian summer. Tom and Jordy, young brothers, live with their grandparents following their abandonment by their mother, Loretta. Twelve months later Loretta return ...

For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher – the marvellous descriptions of period detail and fashion, the historical background of her ripping yarns – and have wilfully ignored occasional anachronisms of language or behaviour.

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 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ...

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published in 2005, was shortlisted for various major prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. It also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2005 and the Dobbie Literary Award in 2007. Everyman’s Rules tells t ...

Mamang   by Kim Scott, Iris Woods, and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project & Noongar Mambara Bakitj by Kim Scott, Lomas Roberts and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

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February 2012, no. 338

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly ...

The ABC Shop is currently selling online The Best Australian Stories 2010 for $14.99. ‘Ideal for summer reading’ its advertising says, and it surely doesn’t matter which summer. At that price you might get yourself a copy and sling it in your beach bag, unless you suspect it might dampen your holiday mood. More than a few reviewers found the overall tone of the collection bleak a ...

As Christos Tsiolkas notes in his back cover puff, Tony Birch’s storytelling skills have been widely acknowledged since the publication of Shadowboxing in 2006. Many people have been waiting to see how Birch would fare with a full-length novel. His début, Blood, is nothing short of outstanding. Birch has finally found a home at University of Queensland Press, where he has h ...

The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one ...

Any novel by Andrew McGahan is likely to be a surprise, if you know his previous work, but if you were to approach this book knowing nothing about the author, there would be little about it to disturb your expectations. The cover, with its heraldic design against a marine backdrop, immediately signals its genre, and the maps on the endpapers, showing McGahan’s imagined geography of a place ca ...

Between the wars, the dominant mode of Australian fiction was the saga: tales of land-taking and nation-building, melodramas within families across generations, characters shaped by loneliness and obsession ...

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