Australian Fiction

''Tirra Lirra' and Beyond - Jessica Anderson’s truthful fictions' by Susan Sheridan

Susan Sheridan
11 February 2015
‘Everyone I talk to remembers Tirra Lirra by the River as a wonderful book, sometimes even as a life-changing one. But why don’t we hear anything about it today?’ This was a youn More

Melinda Harvey reviews 'Questions of Travel' by Michelle de Kretser

Melinda Harvey
26 September 2012

In Overland back in 2006, Ken Gelder singled out Michelle de Kretser’s first novel, The Rose Grower (1999). as evidence of a contemporary Australian literature in crisis. Its foreign and historical setting, horticultural fetish, focus on private manners and primped prose, he argued, flaunted a rarefied and élitist aesthetics that wanted nothing to d ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Burial' by Courtney Collins

Gillian Dooley
25 September 2012

 In the cheeky biographical note on the press release for her first novel, The Burial, Courtney Collins expresses a wish that she might one day be ‘a “lady” poet’. If I had read that before reading the novel, I would have been slightly alarmed: with many notable exceptions, poets tend not to make good novelists. It is true that The Burial ... More

Peter Craven on Patrick White's 'Happy Valley'

Peter Craven
30 August 2012

Happy Valley is the first of Patrick White’s novels and it is a consistently compelling book, as well as the exhilarating performance of a great writer in the making. Everyone knows the legend, rooted in truth: that Patrick White finds his voice as a consequence of the war and after discovering the love of his life in Manoly Lascaris; and that the first i ... More

Donata Carrazza reviews 'Nine Days' by Toni Jordan

Donata Carrazza
28 August 2012

Toni Jordan’s third novel, after the successful Addition (2009), takes its story from a photograph that graces the cover and that the author tells us she pondered for a long time. It is a romantic wartime scene, a crush of bodies at a Melbourne train station, mostly with soldiers bound for their unknown futures. A woman has been lifted by a stranger on the platform so she can farewel ... More

Anthony Lynch reviews 'Dissonance' by Stephen Orr

Anthony Lynch
28 August 2012

Percy Grainger has been the subject of a number of books (most notably a 1976 biography by John Bird), a play (A Whip Around for Percy Grainger, 1982) by Thérèse Radic, and a feature film, Passion (1999), by Peter Duncan. He was an avid letter-writer, and his correspondence has been anthologised and critiqued. Thanks to his eccentric way of life and sometimes erratic behavio ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews 'Beneath the Darkening Sky' by Majok Tulba

Alison Broinowski
28 August 2012

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
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 ... More

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

Angela E. Andrewes
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 ... More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Sufficient Grace' by Amy Espeseth

Francesca Sasnaitis
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 ... More

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