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Kathryn Koromilas reviews 'The Antibiography of Robert F. Menzies'

Kathryn Koromilas
Sunday, 19 January 2014

‘Above the line’, a narrator begins a story. At a specific moment in time, a specific fictional character appears and something is about to happen. ‘Below the line’, another narrator begins a different story, a story in notes, footnotes, ‘citational backup’ for the story ‘above’. You have begun reading Bernard Cohen’s new novel: a work in sto ...

Jen Webb reviews 'The Goldfinch' by Donna Tartt

Jen Webb
Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Donna Tartt has produced just one novel a decade so far: The Secret History, which came out in 1992 to enormous success; The Little Friend, ten years later, which barely rippled the surface of the literary world; and now The Goldfinch, which I suspect will achieve at least the standing of her first novel. Her novels possess a signature of sorts: ...

Jay Daniel Thompson on 'How to Tell Your Father to Drop Dead'

Jay Daniel Thompson
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The title of Jeremy Fisher’s latest tome is deceptive. This reviewer expected a zany children’s book. Actually, How to Tell Your Father to Drop Dead is a subdued look at masculinity in Australian history. The text comprises autobiographical fragments and short stories. Fisher recalls growing up in a culture where homosexuality was ‘invisibl ...

Sara Savage reviews 'Banana Girl'

Sara Savage
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Writing a memoir at the age of thirty may seem like an exercise in self-indulgence: what wisdom could one possibly impart amid the universal tumultuousness of the Saturn Return? Seemingly aware of the predicament, the author of Banana Girl doesn’t pretend to deliver any answers, her memoir instead giving a more immediate snapshot into the life of a tw ...

Ray Cassin reviews 'Watching You'

Ray Cassin
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Ever since Raymond Chandler decreed in The Simple Art of Murder (1950) that ‘Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid’, writers of hard-boiled crime fiction have queued up to take a shot at creating a hero who is less of a paragon than Chandler’s prescription and therefore supposedly ...

Milly Main reviews 'The Shadow Year'

Milly Main
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Shadows, shallows, tides, secrets, aching hearts, and tragedy. ‘The love and the grief and the joy and the pain and all the emotion’ – oh the emotion – in Hannah Richell’s new novel, centred around a secluded lake, can leave one feeling thoroughly water-logged. Richell’s close follow-up to Secrets of the Tides (2012) uses similar techniques ...

Simon Collinson reviews 'Getting Warmer'

Simon Collinson
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Fremantle is rapidly becoming a preferred setting for novelists seeking to explore the hidden costs of the mining boom. Within weeks of the publication of Tim Winton’s Eyrie, which is haunted by the crime and gritty emptiness of the city’s rough side, we now have Getting Warmer, Alan Carter’s second novel and the sequel to Prime Cut ...

Ray Cassin reviews 'Bitter Wash Road'

Ray Cassin
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Garry Disher’s World War II novel Past the Headlands (2001) was inspired in part by his discovery of the diary of an army surgeon in Sumatra, who wrote of how his best friend was trying to arrange passage on a ship or plane that could take them back to Australia before the advancing Japanese army arrived. But one morning the surgeon woke to find that ...

Maria Takolander reviews John Kinsella's 'Tide'

Maria Takolander
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Imagine a cross between Tim Winton’s The Turning and Kenneth Cook’s Wake in Fright, and you might very well imagine John Kinsella’s latest collection of fiction, Tide. Kinsella, a Western Australian like Winton, writes of the coast and of the desert, of small-town life and small-town people. However, Kinsella highlights the corruptio ...

Robert Dessaix on 'The Testament of Mary'

Robert Dessaix
Wednesday, 27 November 2013

What a scandal! The Blessed Virgin sprawled on a bed in the half-dark, dead as a doornail, belly swollen, bare legs sticking out for all the world to see. What could Caravaggio have been thinking of?

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