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Chris Flynn

Chris Flynn

Chris Flynn is the author of three novels, the most recent of which is Mammoth (2020). His latest book is a collection of short fiction, Here Be Leviathans (2022).

Chris Flynn reviews '55' by James Delargy, 'River of Salt' by Dave Warner, 'Comeback' by Lindsay Tanner, and 'Under the Midnight Sky' by Anna Romer

May 2019, no. 411 21 April 2019
The plethora of crime stories is such that, in order to succeed, they must either follow a well-trodden narrative path and do so extremely well, or run with a high concept and hope for the best. Having the word ‘girl’ in the title doesn’t hurt. Readers are familiar with genre tropes, to the point of being high-functioning literary detectives, ready to sniff out lapses in logic and to scream ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Sydney Noir' edited by John Dale

January-February 2019, no. 408 18 December 2018
In 2004, New York-based publisher Akashic Books released Brooklyn Noir, a collection of short fiction written under a specific brief. Stories had to be set in that neighbourhood and feature noir themes: simmering familial revenge, cheating and double-crossing, sexual betrayal, domestic discord, murderous trysts, down-at-heel detectives. Authors rose to the challenge by focusing on communities like ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Property' by Lionel Shriver

May 2018, no. 401 26 April 2018
The sadly departed Terry Pratchett once said, ‘Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.’ While it is difficult to imagine anyone claiming that the great fantasist had no right to tell the stories of witches, orang-utans, and sentient luggage, authors of literary fiction have lately been held to a different standard. Lionel Shriver has been foremost in the cross-hairs, a fact she ... (read more)

What Remains of Edith Finch and Little Nightmares

ABR Arts 22 May 2017
The rise in popularity of so-called ‘walking simulators’ in recent years propagated an existential crisis in the gaming world. In video games like Dear Esther (2012), Firewatch (2016), and Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture (2016), the absence of an overriding purpose troubled gamers used to goal-oriented fetch quests and destructive tasks. In this new genre, nothing much happens. The player wa ... (read more)

Horizon Zero Dawn (Guerrilla Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment) and The Walking Dead: A new frontier (Telltale Games)

ABR Arts 31 March 2017
The worlds of literature and video games appear at first glance to be distinctly at odds. Book lovers may feel that playing video games is puerile, a waste of time that could be better spent improving oneself by reading. Some gamers regard books as old hat, a stuffy waste of time that could be better spent enjoying oneself conquering digital guardians. But these worlds are merging more with each p ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Inexperience and other stories' by Anthony Macris

December 2016, no. 387 29 November 2016
Given the Australian propensity for travel, it is odd that the global wanderings of our citizens are not much explored in literary fiction, which is still in the anguished throes of self-examination, arguably stuck in a loop. How refreshing, then, to read Anthony Macris’s fourth book, Inexperience and Other Stories, a short volume which drops the reader into the discomfiting world of an Australi ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'The Dry' by Jane Harper

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
There is an odd moment halfway through The Dry when Aaron Falk, the Federal Police officer unofficially investigating the apparent murder–suicide of the Hadler family in the dismal country town where he grew up, is sifting through items left behind by Karen Hadler, one of the dead. Falk comes across a library book, 'a battered paperback crime novel'; he describes it as, '[s]tandard stuff. Not qu ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Abacus' by Louis Armand

December 2015, no. 377 27 November 2015
Abacus is Prague-based Australian author and poet Louis Armand's seventh novel, his fifth in as many years. Such a prolific work rate is admirable, but in telling a story which covers the entirety of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of ten disparate yet loosely connected members of the same Australian dynasty, two hundred pages falls short of doing this epic narrative justice. What ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Everything Is Teeth' by Evie Wyld and Joe Sumner

September 2015, no. 374 27 August 2015
The age of apex narcissism has opened the publishing floodgates to myopic and often unnecessary confessionals, personal tales of shame and struggle that, in the past, would more likely have been recounted to a priest or therapist. The memoir genre is at its peak, and the descent may be swift and brutal. Miles Franklin-winning author Evie Wyld cleverly subverts the genre with her graphic memoir, ... (read more)

Chris Flynn reviews 'Quicksand' by Steve Toltz

May 2015, no. 371 27 April 2015
Penguin Australia’s recent fiction output has been remarkable. Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals, Omar Musa’s Here Come the Dogs, and James Bradley’s Clade have all been idiosyncratic and inventive reads, bristling with energy and ideas. Steve Toltz’s Quicksand proves to be the cherry on the cake – a beguiling novel that confounds and astonishes in equal measure, often on the same page ... (read more)
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