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Katharine England

Katharine England is a freelance reviewer.

Katharine England reviews five children's books

March 2004, no. 259 01 March 2004
Changes in the composition of the family or friendship group are among the most challenging situations to confront children, so it is no surprise that many books for the upper-primary-aged reader address this theme. For Elizabeth Honey’s engaging Henni Octon (The Ballad of Cauldron Bay, Allen & Unwin, $15.95 pb, 289 pp), writing her third novel about the Stella Street gang on her very own c ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'Weather' by Julie Capaldo

June 2001, no. 231 01 June 2001
Leonardo Da Vinci, Elvis Presley, the Tarot, unsettled weather, love, ducks and a megasupermarket: they’re not subjects that one would often be moved to mention in the same breath, but it is on just this unlikely affiliation that Julie Capaldo’s cunningly plotted second novel is based. The seed of the novel, planted over five years ago, was something quite different again. A blue glass vase t ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'The Letter Girl' by Andrew Masterson

May 1999, no. 210 01 May 1999
The devil, as we know, quotes scripture for his own ends, and there was something devilishly confronting about Andrew Masterson’s first novel, The Last Days: the Apocryphon of Joe Panther (1998). It kept you on your toes, ducking and weaving with the punches of its arguments, its cleverly orchestrated quotes from the New Testament and the early church, its tossed off histories and heresies, its ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'A Dream of Seas' by Lilith Norman and 'The Secret Beach' by Jackie French

May 1995, no. 170 01 May 1995
Lilith Norman’s exquisite novella was first published in 1978 and was an IBBY Honour Book in 1980. Set in a lovingly realised Bondi, the archetypal seaside suburb, the book packs a huge amount into its seventy-eight pages: life, death, love, grief; a question of focus; and, drawn in spare and beautifully controlled strokes, the disparate two worlds that touch at the shoreline. ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'Drift' by Brian Castro

July 1994, no. 162 01 July 1994
You can’t help wondering which came first for Brian Castro – the theme/structure of his new novel or the M. C. Escher woodcut reproduced on its cover. It doesn’t seem possible that such an organic match should be fortuitous, although one of Escher’s soubriquets is ‘the poet of the impossible’, and among writers Castro is a prime candidate to share the title. Now that it has been drawn ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'Shark' by Bruce Pascoe

July 1999, no. 212 01 July 1999
Figuratively speaking Shark reminds me of a pencil-and-paper game: change FOX into SHARK a letter at a time, so that the stepping-stones of words like the one to the other. For Fox is back, back from the independence struggle in West Papua and retired to Australia and the evocatively named coastal town of Tired Sailor, and by the end of the book Fox has become Shark, elegiacally linked by some of ... (read more)

Katharine England reviews 'The Book of Miles' by David Astle

August 1997, no. 193 01 August 1997
Mark Twain did Australian literature a service when he remarked that Australian history ‘does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies’. It is an observation with which Australians are happy to identify, for it stimulates the imagination, accommodates the larrikin we like to see in ourselves, and has the effect of sanctioning the revision of a past that is not all that we might, ... (read more)