Greenhouse, $19.95, 328 pp
I met Janine Burke once. I had just finished a pleasant meal upstairs in Caffe Sport in Lygon Street, Carlton. Walking out, I saw a friend at another table. She introduced me to Janine Burke. To use a chosen word of the central character of Speaking, I felt a dill. How do you sound sincere when you say ‘I thought your novel was absolutely terrific’, when the novel has been sitting quietly around for twelve months and the review journal of which you are associate editor hasn’t managed to review it? I stumbled down the downhearted stairs thinking that they had more credibility than I did.