Fiction

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An old woman, caught between the present and her troubled past in another hemisphere, picks herself out of a puddle of water: ‘Her head is tender, and the left side of her body still feels strange: as if she has lost half of herself. Nevertheless, she understands things again.’ The characters in Maria Takolander’s collection of short stories, The Doub ...

The legend of Kenneth Mackenzie (1913–55) has always hovered around the corridors of Australian literature. From Western Australia, was he? Died young, didn’t he? Trouble with drink, wasn’t it? Or sexual identity, could it have been? They say he’s worth reading but nobody much has, have they?

Well, the republication of The Young ...

Jen Webb reviews 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright

Jen Webb
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

‘Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil,’ wrote Miles Franklin, initiator of an Australian literary prize that has been awarded to just two Aboriginal writers: Kim Scott for Benang in 2000 and That Deadman Dance in 2011; and Alexis Wright for Carpentaria in 2007. Franklin, of course, didn’t mean I ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Holy Bible' by Vanessa Russell

Francesca Sasnaitis
Monday, 08 July 2013

Vanessa Russell grew up in a traditionalist Christian fellowship, the Christadelphians. She read the Bible from cover to cover every year, enjoyed a childhood filled with group activities, and only left when their oppressive restrictions caused her too much grief.

...

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Transactions' by Ali Alizadeh

Jay Daniel Thompson
Thursday, 27 June 2013

Transactions opens with a scene of duplicity and murder. In the following pages, Ali Alizadeh plunges readers into a ‘whirlpool of greed and apathy’. The collection revolves around an assortment of men and women from different parts of the world. We encounter Anna Heinesen, a Danish charity founder who is revealed to be a sex trafficker and ...

Alison Broinowski reviews 'Lightning'

Alison Broinowski
Thursday, 27 June 2013

Few first novelists are as assured and articulate as Felicity Volk. She has designed an elemental structure for her story: wind, fire, earth, and water each have a section. Her time frame goes centuries deep, naming ancestors who, in the style of Genesis, begat and begat seven generations, until they reach Persia, an Australian with Arab, European, and British ...

All the Birds, Singing

Felicity Plunkett
Thursday, 27 June 2013
Felicity Plunkett reviews Evie Wyld’s novel ‘All the Birds, Singing’, which went on to win the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award.

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Asylum'

Benjamin Chandler
Tuesday, 25 June 2013

In The Asylum, the latest dark suspense novel from John Harwood, the author manages to walk a fine line between Gothic romance and contemporary psychological thriller. Or rather, he gambols gleefully along it, delighting his reader with familiar Gothic tropes while deftly interrogating his protagonist’s sense of her own self. There are mirrors here, a ...

Jane Sullivan reviews 'In the Memorial Room'

Jane Sullivan
Tuesday, 25 June 2013

This novel comes to us some forty years after it was written. Janet Frame (1924–2004) did not allow it to be published during her lifetime. Very probably she was anxious not to be seen as savaging the hands that had fed her: and it is indeed a gleeful, glorious savaging.

...

The Accursed

Morag Fraser
Tuesday, 25 June 2013
Morag Fraser tackles ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates’s massive new novel, ‘The Accursed’, and likens it to a gigantic doll’s house: ‘The house has too many tour guides, encyclopedic, opinionated, and unreliable.’

... (read more)
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