Australian Fiction

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Cooking the Books' by Kerry Greenwood

Francesca Sasnaitis
27 February 2012

For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher – the marvellous descriptions of period detail and fashion, the historical background of her ripping yarns – and have wilfully ignored occasional anachronisms of language or behaviour.

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Patrick Allington reviews 'The Chemistry of Tears' by Peter Carey

Patrick Allington
20 January 2012

 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ... More

Bronwyn Lea reviews 'Mateship with Birds' by Carrie Tiffany

Bronwyn Lea
20 January 2012

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published in 2005, was shortlisted for various major prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. It also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2005 and the Dobbie Literary Award in 2007. Everyman’s Rules tells t ... More

Christine Nicholls reviews 'Mamang' by Kim Scott, Iris Woods, and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project and 'Noongar Mambara Bakitj' by Kim Scott, Lomas Roberts and the Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories Project

Christine Nicholls
20 January 2012

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly ... More

Ruth Starke reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2011' edited by Cate Kennedy

Ruth Starke
24 November 2011

The ABC Shop is currently selling online The Best Australian Stories 2010 for $14.99. ‘Ideal for summer reading’ its advertising says, and it surely doesn’t matter which summer. At that price you might get yourself a copy and sling it in your beach bag, unless you suspect it might dampen your holiday mood. More than a few reviewers found the overall tone of the collection bleak a ... More

Chris Flynn reviews 'Blood' by Tony Birch

Chris Flynn
24 November 2011

As Christos Tsiolkas notes in his back cover puff, Tony Birch’s storytelling skills have been widely acknowledged since the publication of Shadowboxing in 2006. Many people have been waiting to see how Birch would fare with a full-length novel. His début, Blood, is nothing short of outstanding. Birch has finally found a home at University of Queensland Press, where he has h ... More

Elena Gomez reviews 'The Dark Wet' by Jess Huon

Elena Gomez
24 November 2011

The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Coming of the Whirlpool' by Andrew McGahan

Gillian Dooley
24 November 2011

Any novel by Andrew McGahan is likely to be a surprise, if you know his previous work, but if you were to approach this book knowing nothing about the author, there would be little about it to disturb your expectations. The cover, with its heraldic design against a marine backdrop, immediately signals its genre, and the maps on the endpapers, showing McGahan’s imagined geography of a place ca ... More

Peter Pierce reviews 'When Colts Ran' by Roger McDonald

Peter Pierce
15 November 2011

Between the wars, the dominant mode of Australian fiction was the saga: tales of land-taking and nation-building, melodramas within families across generations, characters shaped by loneli More

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Cold Light' by Frank Moorhouse

Kerryn Goldsworthy
25 October 2011

Admirers of the first two volumes in Frank Moorhouse’s ‘Edith Trilogy’, Grand Days (1993) and Dark Palace (2000), will remember the gripping and heartbreaking scene at the end of Dark Palace in which Edith Campbell Berry, her British husband, Ambrose, and several of their senior colleagues are humiliatingly informed, in the cruellest ... More

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