Jo Case

Bluebird by Malcolm Knox

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October 2020, no. 425

Malcolm Knox told Kill Your Darlings in 2012 that with The Life (2011), his celebrated surfing novel set on the Gold Coast, he wanted to write a historical novel about the Australian coastline and ‘that moment when one person could live right on the coast on our most treasured waterfront places, and then all of a sudden they couldn’t’. In Bluebird, set on a northern beach a ferry ride from ‘Ocean City’, this brutally undemocratic transformation is promoted from a minor theme to the engine that drives the highbrow soap-opera narrative.

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Between a Wolf and a Dog is Georgia Blain's eighth book: it follows five previous novels, an acclaimed short-story collection (The Secret Lives of Men, 2013) and Births, Deaths, Marriages (2008), a sublime memoir-in-essays. Blain has an affinity for domestic realism with a dark edge and an unstinting eye: she is fascinated by the faultline ...

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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GOLDEN BOYS by Sonya Hartnett

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September 2014, no. 364

Sonya Hartnett writes for all ages, her work spanning children’s picture books to novels for young adults and adult readers. Her adult novels have been widely acclaimed; Of a Boy (2002) won the Age Book of the Year award and has been canonised as a Penguin Classic. In many ways, though, her pedigree as a much-awarded children’s writer has always character ...

The last decade has seen a significant growth both in the number of motherhood memoirs and in books about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. Australia is no exception to this trend, and Jo Case, in Boomer & Me, makes a contribution to both fields. As someone who has written a motherhood memoir about autism, I am a sympathetic reviewer but might also be c ...

In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer officially exist – according to the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American psychiatric manual used as a diagnostic bible around the world. Ironically, just as it begins its slow fade from the cultural landscape, Asperger’s attracts its own romantic comedy. The Rosie Project

Lloyd Jones’s Booker-shortlisted ‘breakthrough’ novel Mister Pip (2006) began life as a collection of random memories and myths written on a wall...

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The heroine of All That I Am reflects that an author’s published books ‘preserve the fossil imprint on the world of that particular soul at that particular time’. In her début novel – based on real characters and events – acclaimed non-fiction author Anna Funder (Stasiland, 2003) has preserved the imprint of a particular group of souls at a vitally important historical moment. A beautifully executed blend of historical fiction and psychological thriller, it follows the lives of a London-based network of activist refugees from Hitler’s Germany.

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In January this year the New York Times ran a controversial review article titled ‘The Problem with Memoirs’, in which staffer Neil Genzlinger praised ‘the lost art of shutting up’. He heaped scorn on ‘our current age of oversharing’ and on the accompanying glut of memoirs on every imaginable aspect of human experience. But he reserved particular scorn for what he identified as the latest trendy topic: ‘books by parents, siblings and teachers of people with autism.’ He advised, ‘If you’re jumping on a bandwagon, make sure you have better credentials than the people already on it.’

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Lemniscate by Gaynor McGrath

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February 2009, no. 308

Travellers’ tales have long starred curious misfits eager to sample different ways of life in faraway places. In On the Road (1957), Jack Kerouac writes of fleeing his cultured, sedentary New York milieu for the company of the insatiable ‘Dean Moriaty’, who, rather than analysing the world from the sidelines, ‘just ra ...