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Luke Horton

Luke Horton’s novel The Fogging opens with a panic attack. Tom, the book’s protagonist, begins to tremble and sweat when the flight he is on – from Melbourne to Denpasar – hits turbulence. Tom is travelling with his long-term girlfriend, Clara, on a holiday they have organised more out of duty than from any real desire for travel, having booked their flights to use up his mother’s Frequent Flyer points. The turbulence wakes Tom’s ‘ringing nerves’ and anxiety starts ‘chewing his insides’, making him ‘shimmer’ and ‘pulse’. He panics, or comes close to panicking, a number of times throughout the novel. Horton’s handling of this – directly, sensorially, compassionately – is remarkable. Tom’s panic attacks are always vivid and bodily, and they always feel true to life. It’s rare to see this achieved so well in fiction.

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The circumstances around the publication of Dodge Rose, Jack Cox's début novel, have attracted considerable attention in Australian literary circles. A choice publicity tale as to how the novel was rescued from the slush pile by American publisher Dalkey Archive Press has contributed to this. So have claims advanced by Dalkey Archive that Dodge Rose


Tim Colebatch's review of my book Catch and Kill: The Politics of Power (November 2015) quotes a comment I made to

With Ghost River, Tony Birch returns to a world he has delineated over many short stories and in his first novel, the Miles Franklin-shortlisted Blood (2011): the world of adolescents living on the margins. Invariably in trouble and in unstable family envi ...

Over the last year, Italian enigma Elena Ferrante has become one of the most passionately advocated literary sensations of our time. Enigma, because 'Elena Ferrante' is a pseudonym and no one other than her publisher knows her identity, Ferrante had published several novels before the Neapolitan series, but it is this cycle of four novels, culminating in The Sto ...

Despite their disparate subject matter, the central concerns of Geoff Dyer’s books remain the same. Whether he is writing about photography, D.H. Lawrence, taking you scene-by-scene through Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, or, as in Another Great Day At Sea, spending two weeks aboard a US aircraft carrier, his abiding concerns – the self, the nature o ...

In 2013, publisher Sigrid Rausing significantly reduced Granta magazine’s staff, and long-time editor John Freeman resigned. At this news, various high-profile contributors, including Peter Carey, expressed their concern for the future of the magazine. But if we can judge solely on the quality of this edition, the new Rausing-edited Granta has lost none of its verve. It remains chock-full of fine writing and art.

With fate as its theme, much of the work in this edition speaks to love, loss, and mortality. Which is not to say that it makes for grim reading. The lead story, Louise Erdrich’s ‘Domain’, may be dark in subject matter, but it is also playful. A take on a no doubt popular science fiction theme, ‘Domain’ presents a future world in which the quality of your digitally uploaded afterlife is determined by which of the various corporate-owned simulations you can afford. It is literary in tone without sacrificing the pay-off of genre.

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Boyhood Island by Karl Ove Knausgaard

October 2014, no. 365

In Boyhood Island, the third volume in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s internationally acclaimed My Struggle cycle, we are taken back to where the series began: an island in southern Norway, seven-year-old Karl Ove and his older brother Yngve live under the tyranny of a cruel and taciturn father in the mid-1970s. Unlike the first volume, A Death in the Family (2012), which stays with young Karl Ove for only a few pages before casting off in many different directions, Boyhood Island follows him from ages seven to thirteen in a rarely broken, linear fashion. It ends neatly on the last day of class for the year, as Karl Ove’s family prepares to leave Tromoya, and he farewells a group of friends.

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William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) forged one of the most remarkable careers of his generation. Starting in the 1890s, often considered the nadir of race relations in the United States, he became the first black man to hold a Harvard bachelor’s degree; emerged as Booker T. Washington’s most eloquent opponent on the issue of segregation; published pioneering work across many genres, including The Souls of Black Folk (1903); and after founding the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) went on to become the dominant voice of the Pan-African movement.

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The Sleepers Almanac: No. 9 edited by Zoe Dattner and Louise Swinn

May 2014, no. 361

Sleepers Publishing are up to Almanac No. 9. Despite the ever-increasing competition from newer literary journals, the high quality of this annual short-fiction anthology remains intact. Eschewing the theme-based model used by many journals and instead offering diversity in subject, style, and tone, the Almanac has never been anything less than an intriguing read, and this is certainly true this time around. While some short story perennials are present (one may find oneself tempted to call for a blanket ban forthwith on stories about pregnancy and divorce), the inventiveness and verve of so many of these stories more than makes up for the tiredness of some approaches and subjects.

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