Fiction

Doug Wallen reviews 'Storyland' by Catherine McKinnon

Doug Wallen
Sunday, 30 April 2017

‘I write best from place,’ Catherine McKinnon told Fairfax newspapers in a recent interview. Her second novel, which concerns centuries of human interaction with the New South Wales coast region between Wollongong and Lake Illawarra, makes this abundantly clear ...

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Brian Matthews reviews 'The Tournament' by John Clarke

Brian Matthews
Friday, 28 April 2017

Paris has gone crazy.’ There are people everywhere; ‘players and officials have been arriving like migrating birds’. The German team – including Hermann Hesse, Bertolt Brecht, Walter Gropius,Thomas Mann, Martin Heidegger ...

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Beejay Silcox reviews 'The Idiot' by Elif Batuman

Beejay Silcox
Thursday, 27 April 2017

Email is a chimeric beast, an uneasy mix of intimacy and distance – unlimited time and space to say precisely what we mean, coupled with the unnerving promise of instant delivery ...

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The Silent Invasion, James Bradley’s first Young Adult novel and the first in a trilogy, begins in generic post-apocalyptic fashion. Humanity crowds into restricted safe zones, hiding from an intergalactic plague that infects living matter with the mysterious Change. Adolescent protagonist Callie’s younger sister Gracie is infected; to prevent her demise at the hands of Quarantine, ...

Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Trapeze Act' by Libby Angel

Anna MacDonald
Thursday, 30 March 2017

An epigraph from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected lectures (2012) sets the tone of Libby Angel’s novel, The Trapeze Act ‘what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?’ This book is composed of fragments, which, taken together, capture the desire for a complete understanding of history and the impossibility of satisfyin ...

There is a moment in ‘The Skit’ – the second in a collection of sixteen short stories by Indian-Australian author Roanna Gonsalves – when the writer protagonist, upon reading her work to a group of her peers (‘the Bombay gang’, as she describes them, ‘still on student visas, still drinking out of second-hand glasses from Vinnies, and eating off melamin ...

Blanche Clark reviews 'The Restorer' by Michael Sala

Blanche Clark
Thursday, 30 March 2017

Domestic violence is an everyday reality for tens of thousands of women in Australia. Recent horrors and public campaigns have raised awareness of this social scourge. Journalists have written extensively on the subject, yet it is novelists, as Michael Sala shows in The Restorer, that can give us a more acute view of the emotional complexities that bind cou ...

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Refugees' by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Kerryn Goldsworthy
Thursday, 30 March 2017

In the age of e-readers, this is a book to own in hard copy, because it is very beautiful: a hardback with a dust jacket in the pale frosted blue-green of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis, with a small bright parrot front and centre, wings outspread, reminding the reader that the word ‘refugee’ has its roots in the Latin word for ‘flight’.

Professor Vie ...

Fiona Wright review 'From the Wreck' by Jane Rawson

Fiona Wright
Thursday, 30 March 2017

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 ...

Brenda Walker reviews 'Old Growth' by John Kinsella

Brenda Walker
Friday, 24 March 2017

John Kinsella’s short stories are the closest thing Australians have to Ron Rash’s tales of washed-out rural America, where weakened and solitary men stand guard over their sad patch of compromised integrity in a world of inescapable poverty, trailer homes, uninsured sickness, and amphetamine wastage. Poe’s adventure stories and internally collapsing character ...

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