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Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Street to Street' by Brian Castro

Francesca Sasnaitis
Tuesday, 29 January 2013

At the age of fourteen, Brendan Costa, not Brian Castro, visits a fortune teller. The Witch predicts a fortunate life, though one afflicted by a lack of awareness that may lead to loss of control and possible disaster. Castro is warning the reader to pay attention or lose the plot.

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In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer officially exist – according to the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American psychiatric manual used as a diagnostic bible around the world. Ironically, just as it begins its slow fade from the cultural landscape, Asperger’s attracts its own romantic comedy. The Rosie Project

Don Anderson reviews 'Lost Voices' by Christopher Koch

Don Anderson
Thursday, 29 November 2012

‘There is another world, but it is in this one.’ That is Paul Éluard, channelled by Patrick White as one of four epigraphs to The Solid Mandala (1966), a ‘doubleman’ of a novel avant la lettre.Other quotations appended to this story of Waldo and Arthur Brown are taken from Meister Eckhart (‘It is not outside, it is inside: wholly within’) ...

Sky Kirkham reviews 'The Tower Mill' by James Moloney

Sky Kirkham
Thursday, 29 November 2012

A good novel can use personal drama to humanise history. A small story becomes powerful because of the ideas it represents, and the political, removed from the realm of theory and made concrete, has a tangible impact that can foster empathy and understanding. When done poorly, as it is here, the reverse occurs and the large concepts are reduced, lessened into trivia ...

From the opening page of this her second collection of stories, Susan Midalia propels her uncertain and wavering female character into an alien environment. Enter the concrete world of Moscow airport, its people who think you are simple if you smile at them, its ‘prowling men straight out of gangster movies’, tension as the blank, unblinking woman at immigration ...

Grace Nye reviews 'Nightfall' by Will Elliott

Grace Nye
Thursday, 29 November 2012

A young man wakes up in an unfamiliar world, with almost no knowledge of his previous life. He remembers committing suicide, but doesn’t remember why. This isn’t heaven or hell, though: as Aden explores his new surroundings, he soon realises that he has ended up in the fictional world created by his grandfather, an aspiring but unpublished author of epic fantasy ...

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'The Darkest Little Room' by Patrick Holland

Jay Daniel Thompson
Thursday, 29 November 2012
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he Darkest Little Room, Patrick Holland’s latest novel, looks at sexual slavery and obsession in South-East Asia. The protagonist is Joseph, an Australian reporter travelling in Vietnam. Intent on finding a beautiful woman glimpsed briefly, he receives word that she may be working in a brothel known as ‘the darkest little room’. In pursuing ...

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Walter' by Ashley Sievwright

Crusader Hillis
Thursday, 29 November 2012

Ashley Sievwright’s second novel has several of the hallmarks of his Commonwealth Writers’ Prize-nominated début novel, The Shallow End (2008). At the heart of each is a mystery that slowly unfolds while never overwhelming the story. It is not the dénouement in either book that is important, but the effect that gradual revelations have on the main chara ...

David Foster’s earlier Dog Rock novels came out of his experience as a Bundanoon postman in the 1980s. A recent brief return to his old run has provided irresistible material for a further comic foray into rural life. Dog Rock: A Postal Pastoral (1985) and The Pale Blue Crochet Coathanger Cover (1988)observed the changes in a country village under th ...

Jane Sullivan reviews 'The Seaglass Spiral' by Alan Gould

Jane Sullivan
Wednesday, 28 November 2012

In his Introduction to The Seaglass Spiral, Finlay Lloyd reveals that an earlier version of this novel won an award for ‘best rejected manuscript’. It is a curiously back-handed compliment for a publisher to pay his author, and it is typical of an Introduction that seems cautious, even diffident, about its product.

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