Fiction

Jane Sullivan reviews 'Half Moon Lake' by Kirsten Alexander

Jane Sullivan
Tuesday, 18 December 2018

What is it that so fascinates us about lost children? Whether fact or fiction, their stories keep surfacing: Azaria Chamberlain, Jaidyn Leskie, the Beaumont children, or the schoolgirls Joan Lindsay dreamed up for her 1967 novel Picnic at Hanging Rock. Indeed, those girls have wafted through so many subsequent incarnations ...

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Alice Nelson reviews 'Cedar Valley' by Holly Throsby

Alice Nelson
Tuesday, 18 December 2018

In the first few pages of Cedar Valley, a group of women gather together to console one another after a calamitous event shatters the predictable languor of their small rural town. Pulling chairs into a circle, they pour glasses of brandy in the soft light of early evening and reflect on the day’s events ...

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Even in these golden years for Australian comics, Tommi Parrish stands out for their insight and talent. Their work takes weighty topics like gender, work, and friends and examines them through focusing on individual experiences, interior moments. It’s all brief grabs of sensations and ideas, which depends on ...

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Stephanie Triggs reviews 'Wild Surmise' by Dorothy Porter

Stephanie Trigg
Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Dorothy Porter’s new verse novel, Wild Surmise, takes an almost classic form. The verse novel is now well-established as a modern genre, and Porter has stamped a distinctive signature and voice on the verse form, particularly with the phenomenal success of her racy, action-packed detective novel, The Monkey’s Mask (1994) ...

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Many readers – though apparently not enough to have saved them – will mourn the recent demise of Black Inc.’s annual Best Australian anthologies of essays, stories, and poems (which first appeared in 1998, 1999, and 2003, respectively). The last of these, however, has won something of a reprieve in Best Summer Stories ...

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James Bradley reviews 'Preservation' by Jock Serong

James Bradley
Monday, 26 November 2018

On 15 May 1797 a fishing boat passing Wattamolla, in what is now Sydney’s Royal National Park, spotted three men on the beach. Rescued and returned to Sydney, the trio – tea merchant and supercargo William Clarke, sailor John Bennet, and Clarke’s lascar manservant, Srinivas – told an extraordinary story. After their ship, the Sydney Cove, was wrecke ...

Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'The Fragments' by Toni Jordan

Suzanne Falkiner
Monday, 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 ...

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In 2016 A.S. Patrić’s first novel, Black Rock, White City won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Two years earlier (he told an interviewer) he couldn’t even get a rejection slip for it: not one of the big Australian publishers responded when he sent the manuscript. The independent company Transit Lounge took it on ...

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Helena Kadmos 'The Valley' by Steve Hawke

Helena Kadmos
Thursday, 01 November 2018

The discovery of human bones is an intriguing narrative opening that rarely disappoints and seems an adaptable vehicle for the Australian gothic and representations of the impacts of colonisation on people and country. Perhaps this is because the image of curved, white mineral shapes (and the hint of stories fossilised within) contrast equally vividly with sandy coastal plains, central red dust, bleak mountain scarps, and dense green forest. 

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Nicole Abadee reviews 'Unsheltered' by Barbara Kingsolver

Nicole Abadee
Thursday, 01 November 2018

American novelist Barbara Kingsolver is renowned for her ability to infuse her fiction with her politics, in particular a passionate concern for nature and the environment. Prodigal Summer, published in 2000, is a celebration of the relationship between humans and nature; Flight Behaviour, published in 2012, is about climate change. No surprise then that her latest novel, Unsheltered, is set during two periods of scientific upheaval – the 1870s and the present – in which humans are confronted by the undeniable evidence of their own limitations. ‘I wanted,’ Kingsolver said, ‘to look at a paradigm shift, at how people behave at these moments of history when all the rules they trusted to hold true suddenly don’t apply anymore.’

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