Fiction

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

Nick Earls: Welcome to Normal

Jeffrey Poacher
09 July 2012

Jeffrey Poacher

 

WELCOME TO NORMAL
by Nick Earls
Vintage, $29.95 pb, 288 pp, 9781864711547

 

When asked why his later writing had taken on such a different character, Eugenio Montale explained that this was because it came from la retrobottega – liter ... More

Peter Rose reviews 'Bring up the Bodies'

Peter Rose
28 May 2012

Royals, it seems, have their tenacious uses, often fictive. Contemporaries such as Alan Bennett and Edward St Aubyn have deployed them. One hundred years ago, Ford Madox Ford wrote his singular trilogy (1906–08) about Katharine Howard, The Fifth Queen of Henry VIII. Now the esteemed novelist and memoirist Hilary Mantel returns to the Tudor world, again wi ... More

Phil Brown reviews 'The Daughters of Mars' by Thomas Keneally

Phil Brown
23 May 2012

B

alancing the big picture with the intimate details that engage us when reading a novel is not easy. This latest book from veteran Australian author Tom Keneally is epic in scope, but takes us into the intimate worlds of particular people. This is the way to tell a story about an event as mammoth as World War I. Keneally, the author of Schindler’s Ark ... More

Amy Baillieu reviews 'Eleven Seasons' by Paul D. Carter

Amy Baillieu
23 May 2012

Eleven Seasons is an impressive début novel from this year’s Vogel Prize winner, Paul D. Carter. A nimble and understatedcoming-of-age story, it takes its rhythm and structure from football, but encompasses so much more. Over the course of the eponymous eleven seasons, Carter follows Jason’s progress from a forlorn, yearning boy into an adult, while ex ... More

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