Australian Fiction

Paddy O’Reilly’s début novel, The Factory (2005), was widely commended, and her collection of short fiction, The End of the World (2007), garnered recognition in several major literary prizes. Published under the name P.A. O’Reilly, thereby distinguishing it from the author’s more literary works, O’Reilly’s second novel, The Fine Colour of Rust, marks a d ...

Lucas Smith reviews 'The Cartographer' by Peter Twohig

Lucas Smith
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The unnamed, eleven-year-old narrator protagonist of The Cartographer has an epileptic fit after witnessing a horrific rape-murder. The year is 1959. His father has just left the family days after his identical twin brother was killed by faulty playground equipment. The child’s closest friend is his wheeler-dealer grandfather, but it is in his own head that he thrives. To act out his ...

Sonya Hartnett revisits 'A Difficult Young Man' by Martin Boyd

Sonya Hartnett
Monday, 27 February 2012

Few writers, it could be argued, have ever cannibalised life for their art as ruthlessly and consistently as did Martin Boyd; and few are born into situations which lend themselves so readily to art. Boyd’s working life – indeed, much of his entire existence – was spent trying to unite the past with the present, the old world with the new, himself with the man ...

Sky Kirkham reviews 'Floundering' by Romy Ash

Sky Kirkham
Monday, 27 February 2012

Romy Ash’s début novel, Floundering, sits comfortably in the realm of Australian realism. It depicts the travails of a dysfunctional and impoverished family as they make their way across the country during a scorching Australian summer. Tom and Jordy, young brothers, live with their grandparents following their abandonment by their mother, Loretta. Twelve months later Loretta return ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Cooking the Books' by Kerry Greenwood

Francesca Sasnaitis
Monday, 27 February 2012

For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher – the marvellous descriptions of period detail and fashion, the historical background of her ripping yarns – and have wilfully ignored occasional anachronisms of language or behaviour.

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Patrick Allington reviews 'The Chemistry of Tears' by Peter Carey

Patrick Allington
Friday, 20 January 2012

 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ...

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published in 2005, was shortlisted for various major prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. It also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2005 and the Dobbie Literary Award in 2007. Everyman’s Rules tells t ...

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly ...

The ABC Shop is currently selling online The Best Australian Stories 2010 for $14.99. ‘Ideal for summer reading’ its advertising says, and it surely doesn’t matter which summer. At that price you might get yourself a copy and sling it in your beach bag, unless you suspect it might dampen your holiday mood. More than a few reviewers found the overall tone of the collection bleak a ...

Chris Flynn reviews 'Blood' by Tony Birch

Chris Flynn
Thursday, 24 November 2011

As Christos Tsiolkas notes in his back cover puff, Tony Birch’s storytelling skills have been widely acknowledged since the publication of Shadowboxing in 2006. Many people have been waiting to see how Birch would fare with a full-length novel. His début, Blood, is nothing short of outstanding. Birch has finally found a home at University of Queensland Press, where he has h ...