Fiction

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 set amid the banyan trees and frangipani flowers of rural India.

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The cover of Kristin Henry’s verse novel All the Way Home shows a man at the wheel of a car, looking ahead at an endless dirt road. There is even a YouTube trailer for the book on the publisher’s website, with more driving. But in Henry’s book, as in all the best road movies, nobody ever seems to get anywhere.

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Dean Biron reviews 'Promise' by Tony Cavanaugh

Dean Biron
Monday, 09 July 2012

Promise is set on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, although it might as well be Siberia so far as any claims to historical or social verisimilitude are concerned. Just about every stereotype ever devised in the name of crime fiction has been assembled here, resulting in a story so over the top as to stretch credulity beyond breaking point.

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Ed Wright reviews 'The Remnants' by John Hughes

Ed Wright
Monday, 09 July 2012

The esteemed critic and lecturer Don Anderson once told me that Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past was a book you shouldn’t read until you were over forty. Still in my twenties at the time, hungry for erudition, I was annoyed and set out to read the book, only to put it down even more irritated some time later, thinking, If that boy calls out to his mother one more time, I’ll sc ...

James Ley reviews 'Canada' by Richard Ford

James Ley
Monday, 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 ...

End of the Night Girl, the first novel by Adelaide writer Amy T. Matthews, is a story about one of the most difficult tasks of writing and scholarship in the past sixty years: imagining the Shoah. In attempting this task, Matthews emulates writers such as W.G. Sebald, Thomas Keneally, Elfriede Jelinek, and Inga Clendinnen.

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How can Australians write fiction about Indigenous Australia? It is one of the most contentious literary questions today. There aren’t any rules, but writers – particularly white writers – are driven by a strange mix of passion and caution.

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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 ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Welcome to Normal' by Nick Earls

Jeffrey Poacher
Monday, 09 July 2012

Wheen asked why his later writing had taken on such a different character, Eugenio Montale explained that this was because it came from la retrobottega – literally, from the back of the shop – that place where an artist might unhurriedly conduct a private experiment or two. Something similar might be said of Welcome to Normal, the first collection of stories by Nick Earls ...

Adolescent girls aged sixteen to seventeen are at the centre of these three Young Adult novels: girls whose heightened emotional states prompt supernatural events. Broken families, disconnection from parents, obsession, music, art, and death impel the protagonists to seek solace and healing in the metaphysical. For Shirley Marr (Black Dog Books, $18.95 pb, 272 pp, 9781742031903), it is the Chin ...

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