Judith Armstrong: War & Peace and Sonya

Carol Middleton
24 November 2011

A tumultuous coupling

Carol Middleton


War & Peace and Sonya
by Judith Armstrong
Pier 9, $29.99 pb, 249 pp, 9781742665405


Judith Armstrong, a Russian and French scholar, has translated the diaries of Tolstoy’s wife, Sonya, to form the focus of ... More

Lloyd Jones: Hand Me Down World

Jo Case
15 November 2011


Jo Case


Hand Me Down World
by Lloyd Jones
Text Publishing, $32.95 pb, 336 pp, 9781921656682


Lloyd Jones’s Booker-shortlisted ‘breakthrough’ novel Mister Pip (2006) began life as a collection of random memories and myths w ... More

Roger McDonald: When Colts Ran

Peter Pierce
15 November 2011

Made in Australia

Peter Pierce


When Colts Ran
by Roger McDonald
Vintage, $32.95 pb, 352 pp, 9781864710410


Between the wars, the dominant mode of Australian fiction was the saga: tales of land-taking and nation-building, melodramas within families a ... More

Maggie Mackellar: When it Rains

Bernadette Brennan
15 November 2011

Frameworks of grief

Bernadette Brennan


When It Rains: A Memoir
by Maggie Mackellar
Vintage, $29.95 pb, 223 pp, 9781741669602


Maggie Mackellar’s stunning new memoir, When It Rains, narrates her journey through the disorienting landscape o ... More

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Cold Light'

Kerryn Goldsworthy
25 October 2011

Admirers of the first two volumes in Frank Moorhouse’s ‘Edith Trilogy’, Grand Days (1993) and Dark Palace (2000), will remember the gripping and heartbreaking scene at the end of Dark Palace in which Edith Campbell Berry, her British husband, Ambrose, and several of their senior colleagues are humiliatingly informed, in the cruellest ... More

James Ley reviews 'Silence'

James Ley
25 October 2011

Isaiah Berlin famously divided people into two categories: hedgehogs and foxes. The former know one big thing with absolute certainty; the latter know many small things. When it comes to writers of fiction, a parallel distinction might be made on stylistic grounds. There are some writers who cultivate a finely attuned personal style – a style that becomes unmistak ... More

Michelle Aung Thin: The Monsoon Bride

Elena Gomez
25 October 2011

The demands of history

Elena Gomez


The Monsoon Bride
by Michelle Aung Thin
Text Publishing, $29.95 pb, 256 pp, 9781921758638


The historical novel has always been characterised by a formative tension – the demands of history versus the demands of ... More

Gillian Mears: Foal's Bread

Gillian Dooley
25 October 2011

Portents everywhere

Gillian Dooley


Foal’s Bread
by Gillian Mears
Allen & Unwin, $32.99 pb, 360 pp, 9781742376295


Gillian Mears has been to death’s door and back. Her wonderful essay ‘Alive in Ant and Bee’ (2007) recounts the journey and ... More

Steven Amsterdam: What the Family Needed

Nicolas Low
25 October 2011

Super feats of empathy

Nic Low


What the Family Needed
Steven Amsterdam
Sleepers Publishing, $24.95 pb, 284 pp, 9781742702117


Here is a cliché to start your day: superhuman feats of strength. You find them in disaster stories and war epics ... More

Michael Wilding: The Magic of It

Jeffrey Poacher
25 October 2011

Degradation of the times

Jeffrey Poacher


The Magic of It
by Michael Wilding
Arcadia (Press On Series 8), $24.95 pb, 356 pp, 9781921875373


Declarations of loathing for the other members of one’s species tend to be tedious in reality but hilarious ... More

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