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Suzanne Falkiner

Suzanne Falkiner's books include Mick: A life of Randolph Stow (UWA Publishing, 2016) and Rose (ABC Books, 2022), a biography of Rose de Freycinet, the first woman to circumnavigate the world and leave a written account of her journey.

Suzanne Falkiner reviews ‘My Brilliant Sister’ by Amy Brown

March 2024, no. 462 22 February 2024
Ida, a secondary school teacher in Melbourne with a four-year-old daughter, Aster, in childcare, lives in a post-Covid world of masks, mindfulness apps, remote learning, and video calls. Recently relocated from New Zealand when her partner, a lecturer in Cultural Studies, is offered a more prestigious job at an Australian university, she has relinquished the possibility of continuing her own acade ... (read more)

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'The Fragments' by Toni Jordan

December 2018, no. 407 26 November 2018
In the swampy heat of a Brisbane summer in 1986, a young bookshop assistant tries to solve a fifty-year-old mystery involving Inga Karlson, a legendary New York author who died in a warehouse fire in 1939. Caddie Walker, the bookseller, is idealistic enough to believe that books can change people’s lives. Perhaps they can: literally, and in unexpected ways. ... (read more)

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'The Biographer’s Lover' by Ruby J. Murray

September 2018, no. 404 23 August 2018
A short way into this intriguing novel, author Ruby J. Murray cites Virginia Woolf on the subject of biography. According to Murray’s protagonist, Woolf called it ‘a plodding art’: ‘Every life, she wrote, should open with a list of facts … a stately parade of the real. Births, deaths and marriages. Broken limbs, acquisitions, graduations, wars. Any interpretation of the facts, she said, ... (read more)

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'Gwen' by Goldie Goldbloom

March 2017, no. 389 24 February 2017
Goldie Goldbloom has an eye for the dramatic and the morbid. Her novel about the real-life love affair, beginning in 1904, between artists Gwen John and Auguste Rodin, thirty-six years her senior, begins with a list of seventeen women – including Camille Claudel, Isadora Duncan, and Lady Victoria Sackville-West – whom Rodin allegedly bedded. One, we learn, was hit by a bus, one froze to death, ... (read more)

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'The Last Days of Ava Langdon' by Mark O'Flynn

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
Poet and novelist Mark O'Flynn lives in the same street in the Blue Mountains in which Eve Langley's derelict shack still stands. Perhaps her ghost drifts along the well-worn path from Leura to the Katoomba post office that she regularly traversed, in men's attire, pith helmet on head, machete in hand, to post off her latest manuscript to her bemused editor at Angus & Robertson, the poet Dougl ... (read more)

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'Outback Penguin: Richard Lane's Barwell diaries' edited by Elizabeth Lane et al.

May 2016, no. 381 26 April 2016
On 7 September 1922, seventeen-year-old Richard Lane left England on a six-week voyage to Australia, not to set foot in his home country again for three and a half years. For much of the intervening time he would work as a government-funded 'Barwell Boy', or indentured farm labourer, on small rural holdings outside Adelaide and in western New South Wales. Richard Lane, despite his ultimate profes ... (read more)

'Randolph Stow's Harwich' by Suzanne Falkiner

January-February 2016, no. 378 18 December 2015
The port of Old Harwich can be approached by a streamlined highway through a barren industrial landscape, or via the high street through suburban Dovercourt. Either way, you keep going until you reach the sea: 'and if you get your feet wet, you've gone too far', they'll say when you ask directions. Finally, you reach an enclave of narrow streets lined by small cottages and terraces huddled togethe ... (read more)