Carol Middleton

With her fifth novel, Maurilia Meehan has carved out a subversive niche of chick-lit mystery. Touted as the first of a trilogy, Madame Bovary’s Haberdashery is an amusing romp for the thinking woman, with references to Flaubert, Milan Kundera, and Agatha Christie. The decidedly feminist viewpoint is tempered by a mordant use of irony and satire.

Mary Bennet by Jennifer Paynter

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June 2012, no. 342

This début novel by Sydney playwright Jennifer Paynter is a skilful retelling of Pride and Prejudice, narrated by Mary Bennet, the forgotten middle sister. Mary’s character is true to Austen’s original conception. She is bookish, plain, and unloved, although romance soon appears on the horizon in this version of events.

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This is the modest memoir of a remarkable man. At the age of eighty, geologist Tony Taylor travels from Sydney to Vancouver Island to meet his eight-year-old grandson Ned and take him fishing on the Cowichan River. Half a lifetime earlier, in 1968, Taylor had spent a formative two years in that wilderness. He is eager now to give his grandson the same education.

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Currawalli Street is Christopher Morgan’s second novel for adults. Set in a suburb north of Melbourne, the novel is divided into two parts. It follows the lives of the street’s residents on the brink of World War I, then skips to 1972, when one of the grandsons of the original residents returns from the Vietnam War.

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Judith Armstrong, a Russian and French scholar, has translated the diaries of Tolstoy’s wife, Sonya, to form the focus of her second novel. Armstrong combines an intimate knowledge of Russian literature with a close reading of the couple’s diaries to create a convincing portrait of their volatile relationship through forty-eight years of marriage.

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The latest work by bestselling Tasmanian novelist Rachael Treasure is a collection of short stories, written at various stages of her career. At the age of thirteen, Treasure began writing mock Mills & Boon stories with her friends. The influence, and the mocking tone, are still there in the square-jawed heroes with chocolate- (or coffee-) coloured eyes and dark curls, but the stories veer ...

The Lace Tablecloth is the second novel by Anastasia Gessa-Liveriadis, who was born in Macedonia in 1935. It is the story of Tasia, who ostensibly serves as the author’s alter ego, living through World War II and the civil war in Macedonia, before emigrating to Australia as a young woman.

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After her success with Addition (2008), Toni Jordan is back with a second novel, Fall Girl, an attempt, according to Jordan, to recreate on the page the romantic screen comedies of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s...

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Elizabeth Stead’s fifth novel is set in 1948, when newly independent women, who kept the wheels of industry turning during World War II, were resuming full-time household duties. Stead, who married a naval officer in the 1950s, would have seen this domestic dynamic played out around her. The Sparrows of Edward Street tells the story of a family – a widow and her two teenage daughte ...

The language of wallpaper is entrancing: a velvet flock, a Réveillon arabesque, a Dufour panoramic. After ten years’ research and writing, Lyn Hughes’s fourth novel, Flock, is rich with the texture and imagery of wallpaper.

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