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Jane Sullivan

Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko

October 2018, no. 405

A stranger rides into a one-horse town on a shiny new motorbike. Cue Ennio Morricone music. Except it’s not a stranger, it’s that skinny dark girl Kerry Salter, back to say goodbye to her Pop before he falls off the perch. The first conversation she has is in the Bundjalung language ...

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To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wyndham, James Ley, Geordie Williamson, Jane Sullivan, Tom Griffiths, Mark Edele, and Brenda Niall.

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I’ve been reading Margaret Drabble’s novels with great pleasure for most of my life, and we’ve all been getting on a bit: Drabble, me, her readers, her characters. So I suppose ...

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Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...

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'Why do we write?' asks David Brooks at the start of this exhilarating collection of short stories. 'What are we groping for?' The entire collection seems like an attempt to answer a question that the author acknowledges is unanswerable. Yet there is no futility here. His groping, as he calls it, charms and disturbs and conjures up images of extraordinary, if fleeti ...

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

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Kazuo Ishiguro recently sparked off a literary row about whether 'serious' writers should dabble in fantasy when he insisted rather too strongly that he was not writing fantasy in his latest novel The Buried Giant (2015). All those giants and pixies, knights and d ...

One of the most potent stories we can tell is a story of migration. With the exception of indigenous people, every Australian originally came from somewhere else. Take just one source: the emigrants from England. Kate Grenville writes about her convict and settler ancestry in her

Oddfellows by Nicholas Shakespeare

March 2015, no. 369

Two aggrieved Islamic men follow a foreign cause and wage jihad on their fellow Australians. Shouting Allahu akbar, they stage an ambush, raise a home-made flag and open fire on hundreds of men, women and children. They escape and die in a final shoot-out. They leave four dead and seven wounded.

It could be ripped from today’s headlines – except it happened a hundred years ago. On New Year’s Day in 1915, Gul Mehmet and Molla Abdullah, denizens of Ghantown, the despised Afghan settlement on the outskirts of Broken Hill, took up arms against the town’s citizens as they rode the train to the annual Oddfellows picnic. They did so in the name of the Turkish Sultan, who was calling for resistance to the Anzac invaders in their home territory.

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If you think of writers as constructors, then Hilary Mantel is surely a builder of cathedrals. Two cathedrals, in fact: her two Man Booker Prize-winning novels about Thomas Cromwell and his England, Wolf Hall (2009) and Bring Up the Bodies (2012), are soaring, intricate, and gigantic. And there is another cathedral, a third in the trilogy, on the way. Vast as these enterprises are, Mantel can also do small and beautiful: here are ten lustrous short stories to prove it. I can’t think of any kind of architecture that compares. They seem more like a string of dark pearls.

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