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Delia Falconer

Delia Falconer

Delia Falconer is the author of two novels: The Service of Clouds (1997) and The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers (2005). She is also the author of Sydney (2011), and editor of The Penguin Book of the Road (2008) and Best Australian Stories (2008 and 2009). She lives in Sydney.

Delia Falconer reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2006' edited by Robert Drewe

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
Story collections, especially ones that appear annually, hold out shimmering, Brigadoon-like hopes for their readers: that they will offer a snapshot of the times; capture the collective unconscious of a nation and its writers; and, if selected by a well-known writer, reveal something profound about that author’s tastes. Most editors will tell you that the reality is often different. Their wish- ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'Dark Roots' by Cate Kennedy

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
Cate Kennedy’s name will be familiar to anyone who takes even the vaguest interest in Australian short story contests. Over the last decade, she has racked up an impressive list of awards in regional competitions, but readers are most likely to have noticed her successes in two of the most high-profile ones. In 2001 she took out the prestigious and now-defunct HQ Magazine short story competition ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'Father Lands' by Emily Ballou

December 2002-January 2003, no. 247 16 September 2022
My first thought on reading Father Lands was of Lasse Hallström’s film My Life as a Dog (1985) in the way that both novel and film enter so completely and unerringly into the world of childhood with all its quirks, illogicality, and fears. But there are other traditions at work in this novel, set in Milwaukee in the mid-1970s, and which recounts Cherry Laurel’s experience of the ‘Historical ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'Fathers in Writing' edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Ken Spillman

December 1997–January 1998, no. 197 01 December 1997
I am still puzzling over why Ross Fitzgerald and Ken Spillman chose the odd title, Fathers in Writing, for this anthology of personal essays. Because of its academic resonance, I first assumed that this book would be a scholarly analysis of father figures in literature – or, perhaps, following on from the work of certain feminist theorists, that it would look at how different valorisations of ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'The Tree' by Deborah Ratliff

October 2001, no. 235 01 October 2001
American English, with its vigorous ability to get to the core of things, has an implacably visual word for the kind of person this novel is about – the ‘shut-in’. A shut-in is a recluse, perhaps a cinéaste or stay-at-home opera queen. He (I use my pronouns advisedly – the shut-in is usually a ‘he’) has a rich, century-long genealogy in books and on-screen, from Huysmans’s Des Essei ... (read more)

'Festival Days' by Delia Falconer

July 2001, no. 232 01 July 2001
A friend describes the sensation as being in the movie set of your own life: everything is familiar, but not quite right. Auckland feels like an Australian city that has simply slipped a little, like the accent, to the east. There are hints of Hobart in the crisp sea and the misty sketched-in headlands. And of Sydney, in the over-abundance of harbour, the narrow streets of Ponsonby, which drop awa ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'Moral Hazard' by Kate Jennings and 'Judgement Rock' by Joanna Murray-Smith

May 2002, no. 241 01 May 2002
From at least the mid-1980s, it has been almost obligatory for Australian reviewers to bemoan the dearth of contemporary political novels in this country. In some ways, this is a predictable backlash against the flowering of postmodern fabulist novels of ‘beautiful lies’ (by such writers as Peter Carey, Elizabeth Jolley, and Brian Castro) in the past two decades. And it is also a reaction agai ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'What Days Are For: A memoir' by Robert Dessaix

December 2014, no. 367 24 November 2014
Robert Dessaix’s authorial voice reminds me of Christina Stead’s description of a small, clear wave running up a beach at low tide, playfully ‘ringing its air-bells’. He is not a writer of direct, declarative prose. Instead, Dessaix specialises in sentences that skip over and around their subjects, sometimes darting nimbly into brackets to investigate a second (or a third) thought, or dive ... (read more)

Delia Falconer reviews 'The Snow Kimono' by Mark Henshaw

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
When Mark Henshaw’s début, Out of the Line of Fire, appeared in 1988, it was, as literary editor Stephen Romei states in his introduction to the recent Text Classics reissue, the ‘literary sensation of the year’. A novel about an Australian author’s difficulties in writing about his fugitive subject, the young German philosopher Wolfi, it was very much a book of its moment, when a joyous ... (read more)