Sky Kirkham reviews 'The Midnight Promise'

Sky Kirkham
26 September 2012

The Midnight Promise, Zane Lovitt’s début novel, is billed not as a detective story, but as a detective’s story. It is a minor grammatical change that makes for a major shift in the focus of the tale. Here there is no major dramatic revelation – no car chase, forensic science, femme fatale. Instead, the reader is offered a character study of a m ... More

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Black Mountain'

Jeffrey Poacher
26 September 2012

Venero Armanno’s latest novel begins implausibly. A young man is troubled by a recurring dream about a faceless, one-armed, blob-like creature being throttled by someone wearing a pale blue shirt. This troubled dreamer is Mark Alter (the unsubtle last name underlines one of the book’s central concerns), a university drop-out estranged from his parents and now le ... More

Ed Wright reviews 'Chinaman'

Ed Wright
26 September 2012

 Test cricket and the novel are two pinnacles of modern cultural achievement, long-haul enterprises of intricacy and complexity. Why, then, have the two rarely intersected? It is especially strange given that cricket has arguably had more books devoted to it than has any other sport. Literary-minded cricket lovers will rhapsodise over the prose style of C.L.R. ... More

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'To the Highlands'

Jay Daniel Thompson
25 September 2012

In To the Highlands, the second instalment in a trilogy entitled ‘One Boy’s Journey to Man’, Jon Doust provides a gripping examination of racism and male sexuality in 1960s Australia.

In the novel’s opening pages, Jack Muir arrives on some unnamed ‘islands’ to take up a banking job. Muir is barely out of high school. His early days in his ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Burial'

Gillian Dooley
25 September 2012

 In the cheeky biographical note on the press release for her first novel, The Burial, Courtney Collins expresses a wish that she might one day be ‘a “lady” poet’. If I had read that before reading the novel, I would have been slightly alarmed: with many notable exceptions, poets tend not to make good novelists. It is true that The Burial ... More

Peter Craven on Patrick White's 'Happy Valley'

Peter Craven
30 August 2012

Happy Valley is the first of Patrick White’s novels and it is a consistently compelling book, as well as the exhilarating performance of a great writer in the making. Everyone knows the legend, rooted in truth: that Patrick White finds his voice as a consequence of the war and after discovering the love of his life in Manoly Lascaris; and that the first i ... More

Hannah Richell: Secrets of the Tides

Angela E. Andrewes
28 August 2012

Angela E. Andrewes


Secrets of the Tides
by Hannah Richell
Hachette Australia, $29.99 pb, 405 pp, 9780733628542


Hannah Richell’s début novel, Secrets of the Tides, undoubtedly enjoyed a boost in sales when it was named the Australian Women’s ... More

Manisha Jolie Amin: Dancing to the Flute

Diana Carroll
27 August 2012

Diana Carroll


Dancing to the Flute
by Manisha Jolie Amin
Allen & Unwin , $29.99 pb, 342 pp, 9781742378572


Do we choose our own destiny or does fate decide? This existential question is at the heart of Dancing to the Flute, a contemporary fable se ... More

James Ley reviews 'Canada'

James Ley
09 July 2012

Richard Ford has earned a place among the most venerable practitioners of a durable brand of American realism. His fiction draws strength from its stolid traditionalism: its faith in the idea that formal conservatism, respectful attention to the lives of ordinary people, and a line-by-line dedication to the craft of writing are the surest paths to literary significa ... More

Amy Baillieu reviews 'Past the Shallows' by Favel Parrett

Amy Baillieu
09 July 2012
The beauty and danger of the ocean and its unpredictable nature have long been fertile subjects for artists and writers, and the sea a popular and potent metaphor. In Favel Parrett’s trim, lyrical début novel Past the Shallows, shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award,the sea is once again symbolic. In fact, nearly everything in this novel feels symbolic, s ... More
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