Francesca Sasnaitis

Life, one of Commonwealth's minor characters remarks, is a series of losses. Teresa Cousins acknowledges that life is also other, better things, but that it is the losses that define us ...

... (read more)

Shelley Davidow's multi-generational memoir begins in 1913 with her Jewish great-grandfather Jacob escaping the pogroms of tsarist Lithuania for the rigours of life in the American Midwest. The English language eludes Jacob, who struggles to make a decent living in his adopted country. Poverty contributes to his wife's untimely death. Jacob's son and daughter are co ...

Michau-Crawford's accomplished début collection bears comparison to Tim Winton's impressionistic The Turning (2005) and Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge (2008), though Leaving Elvis is properly neither the portrait of place nor of a single character. The place might be any dilapidated small town in the wheat-belt region of Western Australia. Th ...

Recently I drove east from Perth through wheat belt country to the Helena and Aurora Ranges, past Cunderin, Kellerberrin, and Koolyanobbing, towns whose names echo the rhythms of the landscape; past the shimmering salt pan that was once Lake Deborah East; down rutted tracks which changed abruptly from red earth to yellow sand; past the ravages of iron ore mines to t ...

Brian Stoddart is a scholar and expert in the history of modern India, with sixteen works of non-fiction to his credit. His first novel, A Madras Miasma, is set soon after World War I. The body of an Englishwoman is found with her head buried in the rancid mud of the Buckingham Canal, behind Chepak Palace. Superintendent Christian Jolyon Brenton Le Fanu, head of the recently formed Madras City Crime Unit, and his Muslim sidekick, Sergeant Mohammad Habibullah, must solve the case as quickly as possible. They are hampered by the teeming and uncooperative population of the riverbanks, political unrest, the disquiet of the British ruling class, and, to top things off, the truculent Commissioner of Police Arthur Jepson, who is determined to ‘take [Le Fanu] out’.

... (read more)

Anyone who has lived in Sydney’s inner west will recognise the terrain of Springtime: gardens redolent of mystery and decay, shabbiness, unexpected vistas, and streets that Michelle de Kretser describes as running ‘everywhere like something spilled’.

Frances has moved to Sydney with Charlie, who has left his wife and son Luke behind in Melbourne. Luke’s occasional visits fuel Frances’s uncertainty with intimations of a shared family history from which she feels excluded. She walks Rod, the timid dog she rescued from the pound, and muses on the vagaries of her situation, her fears and failings.

... (read more)

You are perfect for this story. I will never meet you.’ We are invited into Australian Love Stories and into Bruce Pascoe’s erotic reverie with this line from ‘Dawn’. The reader is embraced, as the luxuriating eye of Pascoe’s narrator embraces the recumbent body of the woman beside him. His gaze is illicit, touch forbidden. We are privileged voyeurs, given temporary access to hidden thoughts and lives. Love. This paltry word hardly describes the myriad guises of friendship, affection, homosexual and heterosexual relationship, desire, lust, loneliness, and satisfaction; the gamut of emotions expressed in the twenty-nine stories editor Cate Kennedy selected from the ‘sea of stories’ she received. I do not have enough room here to mention each singular invocation of love by name. Some stories follow the constraints of realism, others are more expressionistic, but each holds a gift – a kernel of some essential truth about the human condition. The ones I mention simply struck a special chord for me.

... (read more)

Moira McKinnon practised as a community doctor in Halls Creek, in the Kimberley, where her first novel Cicada is also set. She was joint winner of the 2011 Calibre Prize for her essay ‘Who Killed Matilda?’, the story of an Aboriginal woman whose audacity and traditional ...

‘There’s no time like NOW!’ proclaim the signs.

Inspired by the fond reminiscences of slow tram rides of several Melbourne personalities, whose brief anecdotes are interspersed between the pages of the sumptuous Melbourne Now catalogue (Melbourne Now Limited Edition, National Gallery of Victoria, $100 hb, 280 pp, 978072 ...

Vanessa Russell grew up in a traditionalist Christian fellowship, the Christadelphians. She read the Bible from cover to cover every year, enjoyed a childhood filled with group activities, and only left when their oppressive restrictions caused her too much grief.

...
Page 3 of 4