Fiction

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'The Shiny Guys' by Doug MacLeod

Bec Kavanagh
Wednesday, 04 July 2012

The Shiny Guys, quite a departure from Doug MacLeod’s usually quite light-hearted work, is nonetheless a real success. This foray into the world of mental illness and treatment calls to mind, and even refers directly to, complex works such as The Castle and One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.A book about fear, uncertainty, and suffering, it is rich in complexities bu ...

A midnight birth on a Friday is the first suggestion that Barnaby Brocket is not an ordinary arrival. Seconds later, baby Barnaby slips through the doctor’s hands and floats towards the ceiling. For his parents, Eleanor and Alistair, life until this point has been satisfyingly normal, with ‘no time for people who were unusual or who made a show of themselves in public’. Barnaby’s airbor ...

Royals, it seems, have their tenacious uses, often fictive. Contemporaries such as Alan Bennett and Edward St Aubyn have deployed them. One hundred years ago, Ford Madox Ford wrote his singular trilogy (1906–08) about Katharine Howard, The Fifth Queen of Henry VIII. Now the esteemed novelist and memoirist Hilary Mantel returns to the Tudor world, again wi ...

The autobiography, that seemingly inevitable act of self-revelation, is frequently a work tricked out with very little art. For the novelist, unlike the anecdote-disposing musician or painter, the problem is doubled: they are making a home with the same tools. Rare is the autobiography that, like Nabokov’s Speak, Memory (1951) or Martin Amis’s Experience (2001), speaks in ...

Alex Miller and a craving for mythos

Jane Goodall
Thursday, 24 May 2012

Jane Goodall

 

The Novels of Alex Miller: An Introduction
edited by Robert Dixon
Allen & Unwin, $39.99 pb, 268 pp, 9781742378640

 

As creative writing programs continue to surge in popularity, it has become something of an uphill battle to recruit students fo ...

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alancing the big picture with the intimate details that engage us when reading a novel is not easy. This latest book from veteran Australian author Tom Keneally is epic in scope, but takes us into the intimate worlds of particular people. This is the way to tell a story about an event as mammoth as World War I. Keneally, the author of Schindler’s Ark ...

Why is the measure of love loss? As I worked my way through the hundred vignettes that comprise My Hundred Lovers, my thoughts kept returning to this first line of a novel by Jeanette Winterson that is similarly preoccupied with the interlinking of the body, love, sex, and death. My Hundred Lovers is the story of a life rendered as a litany of bodily memories. The twin-faced a ...

Amy Baillieu reviews 'Eleven Seasons' by Paul D. Carter

Amy Baillieu
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Eleven Seasons is an impressive début novel from this year’s Vogel Prize winner, Paul D. Carter. A nimble and understatedcoming-of-age story, it takes its rhythm and structure from football, but encompasses so much more. Over the course of the eponymous eleven seasons, Carter follows Jason’s progress from a forlorn, yearning boy into an adult, while ex ...

Carol Middleton reviews 'Mary Bennet' by Jennifer Paynter

Carol Middleton
Wednesday, 23 May 2012

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’s character is true to Austen’s original conception. She is bookish, plain, and unloved, although romance soon appears on the horizon in this version of events.

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Deborah Burrows’s well-researched historical novel, A Stranger in My Street, begins with the protagonist, Meg Eaton, declaring that Sunday, 3 January 1943 was the day her life changed forever. We quickly learn why – the Stranger of the title has arrived in the eponymous Street.

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