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Doug Wallen reviews 'Wolf in White Van' by John Darnielle

Doug Wallen
Monday, 24 November 2014

Despite the acoustic guitar driving most of his music as the leader of celebrated American band The Mountain Goats, John Darnielle hung out with the ‘metal kids’ in high school. During more than two decades as a songwriter, he has returned again and again to young misfits who find solace in music and other forms of escape – whether comic books, games, movies, ...

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews '10:04' by Ben Lerner

Catriona Menzies-Pike
Monday, 24 November 2014

In Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04, weather maps that promise hurricanes deliver mere showers. The symptoms presented by an ailing human body don’t always yield a diagnosis and the night sky is a mystery. Excavated dinosaur bones can suggest that a creature as wonderful as a brontosaurus might have existed and then, on review, reveal that marvel t ...

Rachel Robertson reviews 'Six' by John Clanchy

Rachel Robertson
Friday, 31 October 2014

At the start of ‘True Glue’, Dale the postie is called a Luddite by his mate and wonders if this is some religious or political splinter group he hasn’t yet heard of, before going home to google it. In ‘Slow Burn’, Daryl Turtle has a troublesome close encounter with a yellow toaster while suffering from ‘man flu’, resulting in a hilarious scene in a ch ...

Gretchen Shirm reviews 'The Break' by Deb Fitzpatrick

Gretchen Shirm
Friday, 31 October 2014

The Break centres on the story of two families. Rosie quits her job as a journalist in Perth and moves, with her boyfriend, to the Margaret River, where they try to escape the monotony of their city existence. Ferg lives on a fruit orchard with his wife, his son, and his widowed mother. With the arrival of Ferg’s estranged brother Mike, relationships are st ...

Naama Amram reviews 'Deeper Water' by Jessie Cole

Naama Grey-Smith
Friday, 31 October 2014

Deeper Water delivers on its title’s promise of immersion, sensuality, and the liminal. Narrated by Mema, an innocent twenty-two-year-old living on an isolated rural property, the book opens with the arrival of Hamish, a city sophisticate whose car has been washed down a flooding creek. Mema saves Hamish from drowning and takes him into her family home unti ...

Doug Wallen reviews 'Slush-Pile' by Ian Shadwell

Doug Wallen
Friday, 31 October 2014

Billed as ‘a satire of literary ambition’, Ian Shadwell’s début novel chronicles the misadventures of Michael Ardenne, an Australian author who has been riding the coat-tails of his Booker Prize-winning first book for more than a decade. Content for years to drain every last drop of goodwill from the book industry, not to mention his long-suffering wife, he h ...

Mark Byron reviews 'Echo's Bones' by Samuel Beckett

Mark Byron
Thursday, 30 October 2014

It is a theatrical truism that Samuel Beckett remains good box office: the Sydney Theatre Company recently announced its intention to take the 2013 production of Waiting for Godot to the Barbican in 2015, with the original cast. Another truism – adapted from a remark once made by Edward Albee – is that at any moment a Beckett production occurs somewhere i ...

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'To Name Those Lost' by Rohan Wilson

David Whish-Wilson
Thursday, 30 October 2014

Rohan Wilson’s To Name Those Lost is a ferocious and brilliant sequel to his The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award-winning début, The Roving Party (2011), which charted the murderous exploits of John Batman and his crew of cutthroats sent out on a punitive ...

Shannon Burns reviews 'Three Stories' by J.M. Coetzee

Shannon Burns
Thursday, 30 October 2014

Each fiction in this small but handsome volume emerges from an interesting, perhaps even ‘transitional’ phase in J.M. Coetzee’s writing life: between the publication of Disgrace (1999) and Slow Man (2005); before and after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. The first story in the collection also predates Coetzee’s move to Adelaid ...

Ruth Starke reviews 'South of Darkness' by John Marsden

Ruth Starke
Wednesday, 29 October 2014

It is sobering to think that the thousands of teenagers who in 1987 eagerly devoured John Marsden’s first novel, So Much To Tell You, and sent it and the author spinning into bestsellerdom are now in their forties – and as such, the target readership for his first adult novel, South of Darkness, a transportation saga that covers some familiar groun ...

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