‘What is the use of saying, “Peace, Peace” when there is no peace below the diaphragm?’ asks Chinese writer Lin Yutang in The Importance of Living (1937). The subject of food and its manifestations – sustenance, communion, gluttony, longing – has claimed a place in the books of every era and genre, from heavenly manna in the Book of Exodus to starving gladiators in Suzanne Collins’s multi-billion-dollar The Hunger Games franchise. Writers as varied as Marcel Proust and Margaret Atwood have prioritised this theme in their work.... (read more)
Hilde Hinton’s début novel is character-driven storytelling at its best. Its narrator, Susie, is a perpetual outsider whose world comprises ‘her dad, her crazy sometimes-there mum and a house that didn’t look like the others’. Susie faces life’s brutal realities earlier than most: by Year Seven she has moved from the country to the city, taken up selling newspapers in Melbourne’s streets, where adventure lurks but so do ill-motivated men, and seen her mother drifting ‘in and out of the mind hospitals’.... (read more)
With Wolfe Island, Lucy Treloar joins a growing number of novelists whose fiction is marked by anthropogenic catastrophe. Her latest offering confronts two urgent global crises: the climate emergency, and the plight of refugees. Treloar reveals startling connections between the two through the shared thread of displacement in ...... (read more)
The first thing one notices about Jaclyn Moriarty’s Gravity Is the Thing is its narrative voice: distinctive, almost stylised. Exclamation marks, emphasised words in italics, a staccato rhythm, and clever comments in parentheses add up to a writing style sometimes deemed quirky ...... (read more)
At the front of Miriam Sved’s A Universe of Sufficient Size is a black-and-white photograph of a statue. The cloaked figure holding a pen (‘like a literary grim reaper’, reflects one character) is the statue of Anonymous in Budapest, a significant setting in the book. Its inclusion is a reminder that the novel draws on the story of ...... (read more)
Gravity Well opens with Carl Sagan’s famous ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam’ quote, suggesting themes of astronomy, loneliness, and humanity’s cosmic insignificance. Though I was immediately smitten with the cover design (a nebula-coloured orb, its top and bottom halves depicting mirrored but not identical female silhouettes amid a sea of cosmi ...