Fiction

Phil Brown reviews 'Belomor' by Nicolas Rothwell

Phil Brown
Monday, 04 March 2013

I am surprised this book doesn’t come in plain packaging. Its title was inspired, after all, by a cigarette – Belomorkanal, also known as Belomor, a Russian brand the author describes as ‘strong, mood-altering cigarettes’. This cigarette motif suggests the lost world of Europe, when the Iron Curtain still hung.

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Alison Broinowski on Asian Australian fiction in the Asian Century

Alison Broinowski
Thursday, 31 January 2013

White Papers are falling on Australia like confetti. We had two on foreign affairs and one on terrorism in the seven years to 2004; the third one on defence in four years will appear this year, and in October 2012 Ken Henry delivered Australia in the Asian Century. Defence White Papers are perennially concerned with Australia’s need for the material and mon ...

Simon Collinson reviews 'The Toe Tag Quintet' by Matthew Condon

Simon Collinson
Thursday, 31 January 2013

Matthew Condon is a writer who confounds expectations. He followed his prize-winning epic novel The Trout Opera (2007) with Brisbane (2010), a meditative exploration of the city’s rich history. In The Toe Tag Quintet, he turns his hand to crime. This is not a novel but a series of novellas about a detective’s exploits following his retiremen ...

As I read the early pages of Anthony Macris’s Great Western Highway, I began to wonder if the whole novel might consist of a single central character walking along a city road (for the record, it doesn’t). I couldn’t decide whether I found such a prospect exciting or deflating. As I continued reading, and as Great Western Highway took flight from ...

‘I don’t mind all the broken things – sometimes I shift a chair outside when I think the house is overflowing, or when I can’t get to the kitchen cupboard or something – it’s the people that bother me. My dad collects broken people too.’

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Stephen Mansfield reviews 'Whisky Charlie Foxtrot' by Annabel Smith

Stephen Mansfield
Wednesday, 30 January 2013

The greatest hurts you can endure or inflict on another are often in connection with siblings. The expectation of intimacy and potential for damage is obviously amplified when dealing with twins. As the father of two-year-old twin boys, I read this book with some trepidation.

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Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Street to Street' by Brian Castro

Francesca Sasnaitis
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

At the age of fourteen, Brendan Costa, not Brian Castro, visits a fortune teller. The Witch predicts a fortunate life, though one afflicted by a lack of awareness that may lead to loss of control and possible disaster. Castro is warning the reader to pay attention or lose the plot.

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In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer officially exist – according to the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American psychiatric manual used as a diagnostic bible around the world. Ironically, just as it begins its slow fade from the cultural landscape, Asperger’s attracts its own romantic comedy. The Rosie Project

Don Anderson reviews 'Lost Voices' by Christopher Koch

Don Anderson
Thursday, 29 November 2012

‘There is another world, but it is in this one.’ That is Paul Éluard, channelled by Patrick White as one of four epigraphs to The Solid Mandala (1966), a ‘doubleman’ of a novel avant la lettre.Other quotations appended to this story of Waldo and Arthur Brown are taken from Meister Eckhart (‘It is not outside, it is inside: wholly within’) ...

Sky Kirkham reviews 'The Tower Mill' by James Moloney

Sky Kirkham
Thursday, 29 November 2012

A good novel can use personal drama to humanise history. A small story becomes powerful because of the ideas it represents, and the political, removed from the realm of theory and made concrete, has a tangible impact that can foster empathy and understanding. When done poorly, as it is here, the reverse occurs and the large concepts are reduced, lessened into trivia ...

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