In Brief

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'All Fall Down' by Cassandra Austin

Benjamin Chandler
30 April 2017

The collapse of a bridge is the catalyst in Cassandra Austin’s All Fall Down, isolating the small town of Mululuk in true Australian gothic fashion ...

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Crusader Hillis reviews 'Down the Hume' by Peter Polites

Crusader Hillis
30 April 2017

Peter Polites’s first novel is remarkable in its power to evoke growing up caught between conflicting cultural and sexual identities. It tells the story of Bux, a gay man haunted by his addiction to painkillers, his abusive relationship with his drug-dealing bodybuilder boyfriend, his violent alcoholic Greek father, and a childhood where his sexuality and his trad ... More

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Change Trilogy: The Silent Invasion' by James Bradley

Benjamin Chandler
30 March 2017

The Silent Invasion, James Bradley’s first Young Adult novel and the first in a trilogy, begins in generic post-apocalyptic fashion. Humanity crowds into restricted safe zones, hiding from an intergalactic plague that infects living matter with the mysterious Change. Adolescent protagonist Callie’s younger sister Gracie is infected; to prevent her demise at the hands of Quarantine, ... More

Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Trapeze Act' by Libby Angel

Anna MacDonald
30 March 2017

An epigraph from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected lectures (2012) sets the tone of Libby Angel’s novel, The Trapeze Act ‘what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?’ This book is composed of fragments, which, taken together, capture the desire for a complete understanding of history and the impossibility of satisfyin ... More

Sara Savage reviews 'The Permanent Resident' by Roanna Gonsalves

Sara Savage
30 March 2017

There is a moment in ‘The Skit’ – the second in a collection of sixteen short stories by Indian-Australian author Roanna Gonsalves – when the writer protagonist, upon reading her work to a group of her peers (‘the Bombay gang’, as she describes them, ‘still on student visas, still drinking out of second-hand glasses from Vinnies, and eating off melamin ... More

Katy Gerner reviews 'Hamilton Hume: Our greatest explorer' by Robert Macklin

Katy Gerner
27 March 2017

Robert Macklin is a great admirer of Hamilton Hume (1797–1873). He paints a vivid, scholarly picture of one of Australia’s lesser-known ‘currency’ explorers: a man who spent his youth hiking in the bush, with his brother and an Aboriginal guide, as often as his mother would allow. Hume was a successful farmer, able bushman ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'After' by Nikki Gemmell

Gillian Dooley
27 March 2017

In 2015, Nikki Gemmell’s mother, Elayn, took an overdose of painkillers. Gemmell’s new book, After, chronicles the difficult process of confronting her mother’s death and resolving the anguish it brought to her and her children. It is also an impassioned appeal for changes in Australia’s laws on the right to die.

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Tali Lavi review 'Behind the Text: Candid conversations with Australian creative nonfiction writers' by Sue Joseph

Tali Lavi
27 March 2017

What’s in a name? Academic Sue Joseph interviews eleven Australian non-fiction writers, a varied group which includes Paul McGeough, Doris Pilkington Garimara, and Kate Holden. Joseph is on a quest to uncover whether Australian ‘creative non-fiction’ exists here, as it does in other countries, and to understand what the term signifies to her subjects.

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Christopher Menz reviews 'The Oxford Companion to Cheese' edited by Catherine Donnelly

Christopher Menz
26 February 2017

The Oxford Companion to Cheese is an impressive undertaking with masses of fascinating and informed writing, and many illustrations on a delicious subject. It takes us from the origins of cheese – seventh millennium BCE – to the most recent technological developments. The scope is broad: as Catherine Donnelly notes in her introduction, there are 325 con ... More

Tali Lavi reviews 'Barking Dogs' by Rebekah Clarkson

Tali Lavi
26 February 2017

Mount Barker, its surrounding environs and proliferating estates, might be situated in volcanic territory for all the ferocious eruptions of violence that occur in Rebekah Clarkson’s collection of stories, Barking Dogs. The demographic is noticeably white Australian. In ‘Dancing on Your Bones’, a loathsome consultant suggests the government develop the Summit ... More

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