Australian Fiction

Every migrant has a story. The past two decades have given us accounts of migration to Australia from so many Asian countries, and from so many viewpoints – sad, painful, funny, cynical, mystical – that little more seems left to tell. But now, out of Africa, comes a writer with a new and altogether more terrible tale.

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Milly Main reviews 'Fault Lines' by Pierz Newton-John

Milly Main
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

In this collection of short stories from Pierz Newton-John, the author calls upon the suburban familiarity of a garden weed: couch grass, the fast-spreading pest whose rhizomes grow rapidly in a suffocating network, until the area it covers is ‘strangled’ and the custodian must ‘pull up the entire intractable tangle and start again’. This network of affliction that spreads throughout Ne ...

Angela E. Andrewes reviews 'Secrets of the Tides' by Hannah Richell

Angela E. Andrewes
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Hannah Richell’s début novel, Secrets of the Tides, undoubtedly enjoyed a boost in sales when it was named the Australian Women’s Weekly ‘Great Read’ for the month of May. A family drama in the style of Jodi Picoult, Richell’s first foray into the women’s fiction market has proved its author’s marketing savvy. A former professional marketer for Pan Macmillan, Ha ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Sufficient Grace' by Amy Espeseth

Francesca Sasnaitis
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Imagine the book as a repository of memories: to turn the pages is to remember. Fiction, in particular, encourages flipping back and forth through memory’s volume. An author’s life informs her fiction. Memories, personal and second-hand, play a pivotal role in the formation of narrative structures. In a début novel, it is not uncommon for the author to resort to childhood sources for inspi ...

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alancing the big picture with the intimate details that engage us when reading a novel is not easy. This latest book from veteran Australian author Tom Keneally is epic in scope, but takes us into the intimate worlds of particular people. This is the way to tell a story about an event as mammoth as World War I. Keneally, the author of Schindler’s Ark ...

Joy Lawn reviews 'Dead Heat' by Bronwyn Parry

Joy Lawn
Monday, 23 April 2012

Proudly popular fiction, Dead Heat is a romantic thriller set in a north-western New South Wales National Park. Organised crime in fiction generally operates in a large city or on the coastline, but author Bronwyn Parry sets her plot in the bush. The inclusion of bushland and animals creates unique plot obstacles and possibilities for both the criminals and the authorities, and it is a ...

Maya Linden reviews 'Sea Hearts' by Margo Lanagan

Maya Linden
Monday, 23 April 2012

Sea Hearts takes place in an intensely wrought setting, both unnerving and thrilling – in propinquity to our world, yet enchantingly different. We journey, with a series of intriguing characters, through brutal landscapes where the wind is ‘swiping like a cat’s paw at a mousehole’.

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Peter Conrad reviews 'The Hanging Garden' by Patrick White

Peter Conrad
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

‘Genius,’ as Arthur Rimbaud put it, ‘is childhood recovered at will.’ Rimbaud himself abandoned poetry at the age of twenty and thereafter refused to look back, but Patrick White exemplified the rule in writing The Hanging Garden. He was sixty-eight at the time, and had just completed his rancorous memoir Flaws in the Glass (1981); having d ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Longing' by Candice Bruce

Francesca Sasnaitis
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Longing is an ambitious first novel. Set in the Western District of Victoria, with parallel narratives in the mid-nineteenth century and the present day, its principal theme is the occupation of Gunditjmara country by white settlers, and the decimation of Indigenous tribes. Novel writing is, of course, an act of imagination, and writers should be commended for their research, tenac ...

Alan Vaarwerk reviews 'After the Darkness' by Honey Brown

Alan Vaarwerk
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

In After the Darkness, the third novel by Victorian writer Honey Brown, suburban couple Bruce and Trudy Harrison have their lives upended by a brutal attack while holidaying on the Great Ocean Road. This is only the tip of the narrative iceberg. Indeed, their ordeal at the hands of an opportunistic psychopath happens with such speed that the reader feels as disoriented as the victims d ...