In the bohemian district of an imaginary city not unlike a very bleak Sydney, Izzy and Eve have been living together for twenty years. Eve, who torments herself with clippings of unsolved murders, is a jeweller and also a receptionist – sometimes more – in the local brothel. Izzy draws erotic cartoons for a living, and has taken to frequenting S & M clubs. Gay men start disappearing from the clubs, and Eve is catapulted into an investigation that leads her to Izzy’s world, his friends and ‘silt’, the drug linking the disappearances. So Izzy and Eve becomes a gothic thriller, the narration whipping back and forth between Eve and Izzy, sometimes distractingly quickly. Beginning with Izzy, the characters talk, frequently but fleetingly, of faith, which seems to be at the core of this narrative. But it is Eve the non-believer, drawn more vividly, who dominates the story.... (read more)
A Fraction of the Whole is Sydney author Steve Toltz’s sprawling début. Wearing its misanthropic heart uproariously on its sleeve, Fraction is a long father-and-son tale that traverses continents and nods to countless literary forebears on its way.... (read more)
At a time when some fiction writers are busy defending their right to incorporate autobiographical elements, and some non-fiction writers are being charged with fabrication, it seems timely of Nam Le to begin his collection of stories with one that plays with notions of authenticity in literature ...... (read more)
Suzy Freeman-Greene reviews Choice Words: A collection of writing about abortion edited by Louise Swinn
Rosie Waterland was twenty-one, couch surfing, and working at a cinema when she learned she was pregnant. A hot flush, then a wave of nausea, hit her on the toilet. ‘It was the kind of nausea that takes away any sense of dignity that a person has,’ she writes. She stripped off, lay down on the bathroom floor, and prayed for the feeling to pass ...... (read more)
The latest Sleepers Almanac opens with a surreal encounter between a suave cane toad, presented as an amphibian Jiminy Cricket, and the guilt-wracked mother of a drug addict (‘Happy Monday’), and ends with the elaborate imaginings of a woman trying to distract herself from the reason why she is sitting in a hospital waiting room (‘How to Talk to a Fire ...