Alice Bishop

It’s an achievement to write about the climate crisis – and the resulting increase in Australian firestorms – without having people turn away to avoid their mounting ecological unease. Despite experiencing the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009 directly, I too am guilty of looking away. It’s easier that way. Danielle Celermajer, however, excels at both holding our attention and holding us to account, balancing the horror and hope of not-so-natural disasters, specifically extreme Australian bushfires, in her new book of narrative non-fiction, Summertime.

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Thanks to the internet, the 24/7 news cycle, and social media, certain books are preceded by their reputations. They arrive freighted with so much publicity hype that reading them with fresh eyes is almost impossible. A Constant Hum is one such book, very much the product of a reputation established well before publication, due to the airing of individual stories in places like Seizure and Meanjin, along with several prizes and shortlistings.

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Fine by Michelle Wright

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October 2016, no. 385

All thirty-three short stories in Michelle Wright's Fine echo the powdery residue and hairline fractures printed on the cover. Silt and grit and cinders: Wright writes of people navigating ...

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Certain catchwords – ‘quirky’, ‘heartwarming’, ‘uplifting’ – mark the media coverage surrounding the release of Western Australian Brooke Davis’s first novel, Lost & Found. Perhaps foreseeing this, Davis presents her twee characters in a slightly laboured, albeit fashionable, manner: the elderly Karl in colourful braces; the agoraphobic ...

White Light pieces together fragments of a colourful Australian suburbia: a bat-featured baby born to secretive neighbours; a young girl tipping over a bulldozer while playing on dormant construction equipment; and gold bullion appearing outside a rundown rooming house. The characters, like the book’s kaleidoscopic cover, are splintered. ...

Seamlessly extending from the French occupation of Cambodia to the horrors of the Khmer Rouge and the current tourism industry, Laura Jean McKay’s début short story collection, Holiday in Cambodia, is a powerful portrait of a country long-affected by war and poverty. McKay’s knowledge of the Cambodian landscape underpins the collection. She evokes ...