Jeffrey Poacher

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Black Mountain' by Venero Armanno

Jeffrey Poacher
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Venero Armanno’s latest novel begins implausibly. A young man is troubled by a recurring dream about a faceless, one-armed, blob-like creature being throttled by someone wearing a pale blue shirt. This troubled dreamer is Mark Alter (the unsubtle last name underlines one of the book’s central concerns), a university drop-out estranged from his parents and now le ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Welcome to Normal' by Nick Earls

Jeffrey Poacher
Monday, 09 July 2012

Wheen asked why his later writing had taken on such a different character, Eugenio Montale explained that this was because it came from la retrobottega – literally, from the back of the shop – that place where an artist might unhurriedly conduct a private experiment or two. Something similar might be said of Welcome to Normal, the first collection of stories by Nick Earls ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'The Magic of It' by Michael Wilding

Jeffrey Poacher
Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Declarations of loathing for the other members of one’s species tend to be tedious in reality but hilarious in fiction. The characters in Michael Wilding’s latest novel repeatedly prove this point with their mock-serious diatribes against, among others, the habitués of Sydney coffee shops (‘black-clad, metal-pierced creatures’), the patrons of English pubs (‘maggots … a rabble’), ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'The Fix' by Nick Earls

Jeffrey Poacher
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

In contemporary crime fiction, first-person narrators can often sound irritatingly implausible, either too much the Marlovian stoic or too much the Holmesian savant. This is not the case with The Fix, Nick Earls’s latest offering, in which the narratorial voice is convincing from the first page. Then again, The Fix is hardly a conventional work of crime fiction; it has some ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'The End of Longing' by Ian Reid

Jeffrey Poacher
Thursday, 21 April 2011

What do we really know about other people, even those closest to us? In one of Chekhov’s most famous stories, the supreme adulterer Gurov takes the view that authentic life is always lived in secret (though, of course, he would say that). Marriage offers no ready access to another person’s history, as a young wife discovers in Ian Reid’s début novel,