The dead heart

The dead heart

Lightning

by Felicity Volk

Picador, $29.99 pb, 380 pp, 9781742612157

Few first novelists are as assured and articulate as Felicity Volk. She has designed an elemental structure for her story: wind, fire, earth, and water each have a section. Her time frame goes centuries deep, naming ancestors who, in the style of Genesis, begat and begat seven generations, until they reach Persia, an Australian with Arab, European, and British heritage. A thirty-something pathologist, Persia is a modern product of multiculturalism and globalisation, as is the Australian society she encounters on her drive from Canberra to Alice Springs. Her forebears were participants in similar processes.

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Alison Broinowski

Alison Broinowski

Alison Broinowski has been a reviewer for ABR since 1962, concentrating mainly on Asian fiction and international affairs. She is an Australian former diplomat and has taught and researched at ANU, Macquarie, and Wollongong Universities. The eleven books she has written and edited are about the interface between Australia and Asian countries.

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