Fiction

Robert Drewe’s first short story collection, the widely acclaimed The Bodysurfers (1983), opens with a story of the Lang family – children Annie, David, and Max, taken by their recently widowed father for a Christmas Day lunch at a local hotel, where it becomes apparent that their father is on intimate terms with the hotel manageress.

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The narrator of David Malouf’s virtuosic ‘A Traveller’s Tale’ (1982) describes Queensland’s far north as ‘a place of transformations’ and unwittingly provides us with an epigraph for this collection. Without doubt, every story selected from ....

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With his maiden voyage into fiction, Anthony Uhlmann, a professor of English at Western Sydney University, has produced an ambitious novel that dramatises the intertwining of time and memory ...

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Moreno Giovannoni’s collection of tales – populous and baggy, earthy and engrossing – offers not a history but the lifeblood, the living memory, of a small town in northern Italy called San Ginese, or more specifically a hamlet in its shadow called Villora. Villora is the point of departure and return for generations of Sanginesini, and the locus of the tales told ...

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Kirsten Tranter reviews 'Kudos' by Rachel Cusk

Kirsten Tranter
Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Kudos concludes the extraordinary trilogy that began with Outline (2014) and Transit (2016). Following the distinctive format of the first two books, Kudos is structured by a series of conversations between the narrator (a writer named Faye, who seems to be a barely disguised version of Cusk) and various interlocutors, in which the narrator herself speaks barely at all. As before, there is nothing much in the way of a traditional plot or narrative ...

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Beejay Silcox reviews 'Warlight' by Michael Ondaatje

Beejay Silcox
Monday, 25 June 2018

In a cheerless London basement, a young man sifts through the bureaucratic detritus of World War II: ‘to unearth whatever evidence might still remain of actions that history might consider untoward’. The project is called ‘The Silent Correction’ – a furtive dimming of the national memory. Warlight, Michael Ondaatje’s effulgent new novel, is a story of half-lights and half-truths – a novel of matchlight, gaslight, limelight and moonlight, sodium light and storm light, bonfires and bomb-fires ...

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Revered in Germany as one of the founders of literary modernism, the equal of Robert Musil and Thomas Mann, Alfred Döblin (1878–1957) has remained something of a mystery to English readers. Some are aware of Berlin Alexanderplatz: The story of Franz Biberkopf, translated by Eugene Jolas soon after its appearance ...

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Carol Middleton reviews 'The Bridge' by Enza Gandolfo

Carol Middleton
Thursday, 24 May 2018

‘Accidents happen.’ In the aftermath of a fatal car accident, one of two accidents that frame the narrative of The Bridge, these words are tossed up in the turbulent minds of a grieving relative. But accidents, unlike natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, droughts – don’t just happen. Whether it’s the collapse of the ...

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Geordie Williamson reviews 'Last Stories' by William Trevor

Geordie Williamson
Thursday, 24 May 2018

‘In nearly all Trevor’s stories,’ wrote V.S. Pritchett almost four decades ago, ‘we are led on at first by plain unpretending words about things done to prosaic people; then comes this explosion of conscience, the assertion of will which in some cases may lead to hallucination and madness.’ Even here, in this collection ...

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Beejay Silcox reviews 'Census' by Jesse Ball

Beejay Silcox
Thursday, 24 May 2018

You have come to see a magic show. You arrive at the theatre, take your seat. Before the show begins, the magician steps onstage in his street clothes and explains what you are about to see; where the mirrors are hidden – every trapdoor, false bottom, and wire. When the lights go down, impossibly – even after everything you ...

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