Jennifer Paynter: Mary Bennet

Carol Middleton
23 May 2012

Carol Middleton


Mary Bennet
by Jennifer Paynter
Viking, $29.95 pb, 342 pp, 9780670075706


This début novel by Sydney playwright Jennifer Paynter is a skilful retelling of Pride and Prejudice, narrated by Mary Bennet, the forgotten middle sister. Mary ... More

Drusilla Modjeska: The Mountain

Gillian Dooley
24 April 2012

Gillian Dooley


The Mountain
by Drusilla Modjeska
Vintage, $32.95 pb, 464 pp, 9781741666502


Papua New Guinea doesn’t loom large in Australian literature. As Nicholas Jose says, our ‘writers have not much looked in that direction for material or inspiration ... More

Ruby J. Murray: Running Dogs

Christine Piper
23 April 2012

Christine Piper


Running Dogs
by Ruby J. Murray
Scribe, $29.95 pb, 288 pp, 9781921844706


How much does the average Australian know about Indonesia? Not the tourist version, with its resorts and beaches and lacklustre nasi goreng – but the wider culture, hist ... More

Peter Conrad reviews White's 'The Hanging Garden'

Peter Conrad
21 March 2012

‘Genius,’ as Arthur Rimbaud put it, ‘is childhood recovered at will.’ Rimbaud himself abandoned poetry at the age of twenty and thereafter refused to look back, but Patrick White exemplified the rule in writing The Hanging Garden. He was sixty-eight at the time, and had just completed his rancorous memoir Flaws in the Glass (1981); having d ... More

Honey Brown: After the Darkness

Alan Vaarwerk
21 March 2012

Action and reaction

Alan Vaarwerk


After The Darkness
by Honey Brown
Viking, $29.95 pb, 292 pp, 9780670075973


In After the Darkness, the third novel by Victorian writer Honey Brown, suburban couple Bruce and Trudy Harrison have their l ... More

Kerry Greenwood: Cooking the Books

Francesca Sasnaitis
27 February 2012

‘Tired old recipes’

Francesca Sasnaitis


Cooking the Books
by Kerry Greenwood
Allen & Unwin
$22.99 pb, 312 pp, 9781742370217


For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher ... More

Patrick Allington reviews 'Chemistry of Tears'

Patrick Allington
20 January 2012

 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ... More

Kirsten Tranter: A Common Loss

Ruth Starke
20 January 2012

The bequest

Ruth Starke


A Common Loss
by Kirsten Tranter
Fourth Estate, $29.99 pb, 360 pp, 9780732290825


It begins with a car accident. Five friends are returning to college after a night of drinking. The driver, Cameron, hits a deer and overturns ... More

Carrie Tiffany: Mateship with Birds

Bronwyn Lea
20 January 2012

Dubious lessons

Bronwyn Lea


Mateship with Birds
by Carrie Tiffany
Picador, $19.99 pb, 208 pp, 9781742610764


Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published ... More

Francesca Rendle-Short: Bite Your Tongue

Donata Carrazza
20 January 2012

MotherJoy’s list

Donata Carrazza


Bite your tongue
by Francesca Rendle-Short
Spinifex Press, $27.95 pb, 246 pp, 9781876756963


In writing Bite Your Tongue, Francesca Rendle-Short, who is director of Creative Writing at RMI ... More

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