Fiction

Fiona Wright reviews 'Bohemia Beach' by Justine Ettler

Fiona Wright
Thursday, 24 May 2018

Bohemia Beach is a highly anticipated novel – the first work by Justine Ettler in twenty years. In many ways, it is a continuation of her oeuvre: a fast-paced, almost madcap tale about a wildly careening woman and the violent men she is drawn to, with obsession and addiction driving much of the narrative and narration ...

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‘Nothing matters very much,’ says Hilary Spinster, one of the main characters in Philip Hensher’s mammoth mêlée of a novel, ‘and most things don’t matter at all’. How true, we think to ourselves, how liberating! Is this the aphorism (borrowed from Lord Salisbury) that will finally pinpoint the Big Idea underlying ...

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Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Fortress' by S.A. Jones

Anna MacDonald
Thursday, 26 April 2018

This speculative novel is of the Zeitgeist. S.A. Jones imagines a civilisation of women – the Vaik – committed to ‘Work. History. Sex. Justice.’ Although they live apart, in ‘The Fortress’, there is a history of exchange between the Vaik and the outside world. All women are entitled to Vaik justice if they have been violated and ...

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Gretchen Shirm reviews 'You Belong Here' by Laurie Steed

Gretchen Shirm
Thursday, 26 April 2018

Interwoven short story collections are often at their best when they offer multiple perspectives on the same event. Laurie Steed does this well in his début novel You Belong Here, as he captures the life of a single family through the multiplicity of its members. Jen meets Steven on her way to a party in Brunswick in 1972 ...

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Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Lucky Galah' by Tracy Sorensen

Josephine Taylor
Thursday, 26 April 2018

In 1969, in a quintessentially Australian town on the remote north-west coast, the locals prepare to celebrate their role in the moon landing. In 2000, as the townsfolk brace themselves for a cyclone, Lucky, this novel’s pink and grey narrator, uses transmissions from a satellite dish tuned to galah frequency to make sense of what ...

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There is an observation in the titular story of Indonesian writer Intan Paramaditha’s first collection to be published in English, which can be read as the thematic spine of the book: ‘Sometimes it seemed like there was nothing new to talk about. It was the same old story, repeated over and over, all stitched together.’  This notion ...

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On its first appearance in Russia, Dostoevsky’s novel 'Crime and Punishment' was the hit of the season. It was serialised throughout 1866 in the journal 'The Russian Messenger'. Nikolai Strakhov, Dostoevsky’s first biographer, described the novel’s effect on the reading public as spectacular: ‘[A]ll that lovers of reading talked ...

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Amy Baillieu reviews 'Flames' by Robbie Arnott

Amy Baillieu
Thursday, 26 April 2018

Robbie Arnott’s Flames is an exuberantly creative and confident début. Set in an alternate Tasmania, Flames’s kaleidoscopic narrative crackles with energy and imagination. This is a world of briefly reincarnating women, gin-swigging private detectives, wombat farms, malevolent cormorants, elementals and nature gods ...

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Shannon Burns reviews 'Relatively Famous' by Roger Averill

Shannon Burns
Thursday, 26 April 2018

In Relatively Famous, Roger Averill combines a fictional memoir with extracts from a faux-biography of the memoirist’s Booker Prize-winning father, Gilbert Madigan. The biography amounts to a fairly bloodless summary of the events of Madigan’s life, and his son’s memoir is similarly sedate. This makes for a limp but ...

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Chris Flynn reviews 'Property' by Lionel Shriver

Chris Flynn
Thursday, 26 April 2018

The sadly departed Terry Pratchett once said, ‘Stories of imagination tend to upset those without one.’ While it is difficult to imagine anyone claiming that the great fantasist had no right to tell the stories of witches, orang-utans, and sentient luggage, authors of literary fiction have lately been held to a different standard ...

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