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Carl Harrison-Ford reviews three first novels

May 1995, no. 170

Carl Harrison-Ford reviews three first novels

May 1995, no. 170

the_last_time_I_saw_mother_Chai.jpgThe Last Time I Saw Mother by Arlene J. Chai

Random House Australia, $14.95 pb

How do you get a first novel up and running? Random House has done so with a show of faith unusual amongst Australian publishers ... and faith can move mountains of books. The Last Time I Saw Mother (Random House Australia, $14.95 pb) is handsomely produced and has an equally handsome print run of 20,000. It’s been sold into the shops in numbers and its author – Manila-born Sydney-based copywriter, Arlene J. Chai – has had her name linked with Amy Tan and Jung Chang. The back cover has a brisk encomium from Bryce Courtenay, who encouraged her to write. Effective marketing indeed, although one reviewer has commented on an element of cultural cringe.

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