Fiction

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Lola Bensky' by Lily Brett

Francesca Sasnaitis
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

It is no secret that Lily Brett has mined her past and her family history in her fiction. Her parents, like those of her current alter ego, Lola Bensky, were survivors of the Łódź ghetto and Auschwitz concentration camp; Lola, like the author, was born in a displaced persons’ camp before her family emigrated to Australia. Lola, a chubby baby, was possibly the o ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'The Memory of Salt' by Alice Melike Ülgezer

Claudia Hyles
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Alice Melike Ülgezer’s début novel is both exotic and familiar: a story of journeys, physical and philosophical, of a family with its roots in Istanbul and Melbourne. The first of these is a short ferry crossing of the Bosporus taken by Ali, a young woman (or is she a young man? gender seems immaterial here) from Melbourne who is in Istanbul to visit her father ...

Sky Kirkham reviews 'The Midnight Promise' by Zane Lovitt

Sky Kirkham
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Midnight Promise, Zane Lovitt’s début novel, is billed not as a detective story, but as a detective’s story. It is a minor grammatical change that makes for a major shift in the focus of the tale. Here there is no major dramatic revelation – no car chase, forensic science, femme fatale. Instead, the reader is offered a character study of a m ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Black Mountain' by Venero Armanno

Jeffrey Poacher
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Venero Armanno’s latest novel begins implausibly. A young man is troubled by a recurring dream about a faceless, one-armed, blob-like creature being throttled by someone wearing a pale blue shirt. This troubled dreamer is Mark Alter (the unsubtle last name underlines one of the book’s central concerns), a university drop-out estranged from his parents and now le ...

Ed Wright reviews 'Chinaman' by Shehan Karunatilaka

Ed Wright
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

 Test cricket and the novel are two pinnacles of modern cultural achievement, long-haul enterprises of intricacy and complexity. Why, then, have the two rarely intersected? It is especially strange given that cricket has arguably had more books devoted to it than has any other sport. Literary-minded cricket lovers will rhapsodise over the prose style of C.L.R. ...

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'To the Highlands' by Jon Doust

Jay Daniel Thompson
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

In To the Highlands, the second instalment in a trilogy entitled ‘One Boy’s Journey to Man’, Jon Doust provides a gripping examination of racism and male sexuality in 1960s Australia.

In the novel’s opening pages, Jack Muir arrives on some unnamed ‘islands’ to take up a banking job. Muir is barely out of high school. His early days in his ...

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Burial' by Courtney Collins

Gillian Dooley
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

 In the cheeky biographical note on the press release for her first novel, The Burial, Courtney Collins expresses a wish that she might one day be ‘a “lady” poet’. If I had read that before reading the novel, I would have been slightly alarmed: with many notable exceptions, poets tend not to make good novelists. It is true that The Burial ...

Maya Linden reviews 'Creepy & Maud' by Dianne Touchell

Maya Linden
Tuesday, 25 September 2012

From the first sentence of Creepy & Maud, we know we are entering a volatile world. ‘My dad has trained our dog, Dobie Squires, to bite my mum,’ Creepy tells us. What follows is a vivid peek into suburban isolation and unease. Almost every character has an addiction or psychological disturbance, from alcoholism and untameable aggression to dyslexia an ...

Peter Craven on Patrick White's 'Happy Valley'

Peter Craven
Thursday, 30 August 2012

Happy Valley is the first of Patrick White’s novels and it is a consistently compelling book, as well as the exhilarating performance of a great writer in the making. Everyone knows the legend, rooted in truth: that Patrick White finds his voice as a consequence of the war and after discovering the love of his life in Manoly Lascaris; and that the first i ...

Donata Carrazza reviews 'Nine Days' by Toni Jordan

Donata Carrazza
Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Toni Jordan’s third novel, after the successful Addition (2009), takes its story from a photograph that graces the cover and that the author tells us she pondered for a long time. It is a romantic wartime scene, a crush of bodies at a Melbourne train station, mostly with soldiers bound for their unknown futures. A woman has been lifted by a stranger on the platform so she can farewel ...

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