As the ship carrying nine-year-old Cleary Sullivan and his mother, Cate, sets sail from Liverpool, there is a ‘flurry’ among the passengers. A ‘violent slash of red; tall as a house and shining wet’ has appeared on the dock, visible only to those onboard. Cleary’s mind fills with images of ‘some diabolical creature of the deep, blood erupting from its mouth’. The reality is more prosaic – some spilt paint – but it is an ominous beginning.
Like Meg Mundell’s début, Black Glass (2011), The Trespassers takes place in an unforgiving near-future. Cleary is one of more than three hundred masked passengers escaping a pandemic-riven United Kingdom. Their passage to Australia has been arranged through the ‘Balanced Industries Migration’ scheme, indentured servitude in all but name. The old-fashioned mode of transport and technological restrictions imposed on the passengers, combined with sailors casually shooting down drones, and terms like ‘shippers’, ‘sanning’, and ‘the stream’, give the novel an almost timeless quality, though its concerns are very much of the moment.... (read more)
I didn’t write this review. I stole it. Or so a review that echoes the framing conceit of Alex Landragin’s elegant and unusual début might begin. This richly allusive, speculative historical novel opens with a preface from the book’s self-described ‘adopted parent’, the fictionalised ‘Alex Landragin’. Following the sudden death of ...... (read more)
'If you think you know what this collection will be like, you’re wrong,’ Carmen Maria Machado (author of the brilliant Her Body and Other Parties, 2017) states on the back cover of Kristen Roupenian’s provocatively titled début, You Know You Want This. It is an unusual description of a short story collection from an emerging author, but Roupenian is not your average débutante ...... (read more)
Robbie Arnott’s Flames is an exuberantly creative and confident début. Set in an alternate Tasmania, Flames’s kaleidoscopic narrative crackles with energy and imagination. This is a world of briefly reincarnating women, gin-swigging private detectives, wombat farms, malevolent cormorants, elementals and nature gods ...... (read more)
After reading her début novel about Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the last person to be executed in Iceland, no one is likely to pick up a book by Hannah Kent expecting a frothy comedy ...... (read more)
News from the the Editor's Desk in the August issue of Australian Book Review.... (read more)
News from the the Editor's Desk in the September issue of Australian Book Review.... (read more)
Set in an unsettlingly convincing near future, James Bradley’s fourth novel, Clade, opens with climate scientist Adam Leith walking along an Antarctic coastline reflecting on the state of the world and on his relationship with his partner, Ellie. After six years together, their relationship is under pressure as Ellie undergoes fertility treatment. Adam is a ...
There are some writers whose style is so distinctive they can be identified from a single paragraph. Sydney writer Debra Adelaide is more of a chameleon. Letter to George Clooney is Adelaide’s first short story collection. She has previously written three novels and edited several anthologies. Her first novel, The Hotel Albatross (1995), is the meand ...