Luke Horton’s novel The Fogging opens with a panic attack. Tom, the book’s protagonist, begins to tremble and sweat when the flight he is on – from Melbourne to Denpasar – hits turbulence. Tom is travelling with his long-term girlfriend, Clara, on a holiday they have organised more out of duty than from any real desire for travel, having booked their flights to use up his mother’s Frequent Flyer points. The turbulence wakes Tom’s ‘ringing nerves’ and anxiety starts ‘chewing his insides’, making him ‘shimmer’ and ‘pulse’. He panics, or comes close to panicking, a number of times throughout the novel. Horton’s handling of this – directly, sensorially, compassionately – is remarkable. Tom’s panic attacks are always vivid and bodily, and they always feel true to life. It’s rare to see this achieved so well in fiction.... (read more)
The Breeding Season is a novel that grapples with big ideas: the connections between death; grief, mortality and the bodily experience of them; how the male gaze preconditions how women (and female animals) are portrayed and described in science and art. It is an ambitious book, and the ideas that drive it are one of its main pleasures, even if they sometim ...
To celebrate the best books of 2018, Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser... (read more)
For a homeless person, home is the street and the moveable blanket or bedroll. Ultimately, the only home remaining is the body. Fiona Wright is not homeless, she has been un-homed by her body’s betrayal. Whether she can ever feel that she fits again is the primary theme of ...... (read more)
Bohemia Beach is a highly anticipated novel – the first work by Justine Ettler in twenty years. In many ways, it is a continuation of her oeuvre: a fast-paced, almost madcap tale about a wildly careening woman and the violent men she is drawn to, with obsession and addiction driving much of the narrative and narration ...... (read more)
The classic lyric preoccupation with interiority, and how internal life touches and changes the outside world, finds expression in two recent collections of poetry: Fiona Wright’s ...... (read more)
To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wyndham, James Ley, Geordie Williamson, Jane Sullivan, Tom Griffiths, Mark Edele, and Brenda Niall.... (read more)
Drawing Sybylla is a wonderfully unusual book, narrated in parts by a modern-day Sybil – one of those ‘mad mouthpieces’ of prophesy and poetry from Ancient Greece. This Sybil springs to life from an elaborate doodle in a notebook, drawn by a Sydney Writers’ Festival panelist who is listening to another writer on her panel. This writer is describing to ...... (read more)
The characters who populate Tony Birch’s Common People are striking not so much because they are the ordinary people, the commonplace or everyday people that the title would suggest – they are, mostly, people living in or with extremity and trauma – but because the thing that unites them in these stories are discoveries of small moments of common huma ...
From the Wreck is a deeply ecological novel. It isn’t quite cli-fi – that new genre of fiction concerned with dramatising the effects of our changing climate on people and the world – rather, it is underpinned by an awareness of the connectedness of creatures: animal, human, and otherworldly alike, and narrated in parts by a creature who has fled anot ...