Fiction

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Andy Lloyd James reviews 'The Noise of Time' by Julian Barnes

Andy Lloyd James
Wednesday, 27 April 2016

While reading Julian Barnes's latest novel, I recalled the day forty years ago when Philippe Petit spent an hour on a cable slung between the tops of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. The image of that minuscule figure dancing back and forth between those massive buildings was a perfect metaphor for the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–7 ...

Jack Kerouac spent his elderly years sequestered in a crumbling Mexican hacienda that 'smelt like beer and farts'; his amphetamines replaced with antacids, his octogenarian skin 'the colour and texture of beef jerky'. Never mind that Kerouac actually drank himself to an early death in Florida, because somehow this alternate universe, the starting point of Lynnette L ...

Colin Nettelbeck reviews 'After the Circus' by Patrick Modiano

Colin Nettelbeck
Tuesday, 26 April 2016

In early 1960s Paris, an eighteen-year-old who is keeping up his student enrolment to delay compulsory military service is questioned by the police because his name has been found in an address book. At the same time, a slightly older young woman is also being interrogated. The boy contrives to meet her afterwards in a café. Thus begins a story which is part romanc ...

Between a Wolf and a Dog is Georgia Blain's eighth book: it follows five previous novels, an acclaimed short-story collection (The Secret Lives of Men, 2013) and Births, Deaths, Marriages (2008), a sublime memoir-in-essays. Blain has an affinity for domestic realism with a dark edge and an unstinting eye: she is fascinated by the faultline ...

Luke Horton reviews 'Dodge Rose' by Jack Cox

Luke Horton
Friday, 22 April 2016

The circumstances around the publication of Dodge Rose, Jack Cox's début novel, have attracted considerable attention in Australian literary circles. A choice publicity tale as to how the novel was rescued from the slush pile by American publisher Dalkey Archive Press has contributed to this. So have claims advanced by Dalkey Archive that Dodge Rose

Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Midnight Watch' by David Dyer

Felicity Plunkett
Friday, 22 April 2016

Two headlines, a day apart, evoke the confusion surrounding the fate of the Titanic in April 1912. New York's Evening Sun reported, 'ALL SAVED FROM TITANIC AFTER COLLISION'. Twenty-four hours later, The Boston Daily Globe added: 'TITANIC SINKS, 1500 DIE.' From there, the sinking of the 'unsinkable' Titanic has been the subject of ...

Is it possible to 'just pack up and go, and all your problems will stay behind?' Nicolette is hoping that's the case when we meet her literally on the road to a new life, troubled partner and toddler in tow. Louis, her grandfather, may well have asked the same; his earlier experiences of geographic and personal change form the alternate strand of the dual narrative ...

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Canonbury Tales' by Don Aitkin

Carol Middleton
Thursday, 31 March 2016

Boccaccio started an avalanche of storytelling with The Decameron. His one hundred tales, told by ten narrators taking refuge from the Black Death in a villa outside Florence, have inspired a horde of copycats over the ensuing 660 years. Most famous of these is The Canterbury Tales. Although Don Aitkin's title echoes Chaucer's, his collection of st ...

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'An Isolated Incident' by Emily Maguire

Jay Daniel Thompson
Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Emily Maguire's An Isolated Incident explores the media's fascination with beautiful, murdered women. The novel also interrogates the experiences of those who find themselves involved in murder cases.

The novel is set in Strathdee, a fictitious rural Australian town. This 'lovely little' hamlet has been unsettled by the slaying of Bella Michaels, a ...

Alex Cothren reviews 'Sing Fox to Me' by Sarah Kanake

Alex Cothren
Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Not a year passes without someone claiming to have stumbled upon the legendary Tasmanian tiger. A flash of stripes, a tawny blur, strange paw prints in the mud; are these genuine sightings or mass hallucinations suffered by a populace whose grief for the extinct icon is stuck in a state of collective denial? 'Tassie loves the tiger now ... this entire country is goi ...