Fiction

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Luke Johnson reviews 'Down to the River' by S.J. Finn

Luke Johnson
Tuesday, 28 April 2015

If it were up to Roy Ellis, the town-proud editor-in-chief of Dungower’s only newspaper, ‘paedophilia would be systematically bred out of humans’. That just about sums up the attitudes of his readers, who are disgusted to learn that there is a convicted child sex offender living among them in rural Victoria. Only when Ellis’s maverick reporter Joni Miller re ...

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Wolf, Wolf' by Eben Venter

Crusader Hillis
Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Mattheüs (Mattie) Duiker is a thirty-something gay man with a chequered past and an addiction to porn. His Afrikaans father, Bennie, is a self-made man, a larger-than-life uber-masculine traditionalist who has forever cast a shadow over his family. Bennie is dying from terminal cancer, and Mattie is his primary carer. Mattie, desperate to make something of his life ...

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Last Pulse' by Anson Cameron

Catriona Menzies-Pike
Tuesday, 28 April 2015

‘What’s your favourite way water can be?’, eight-year-old Em asks her father Merv. Em likes waterfalls, but Merv prefers floods. A flood, he explains to Em, ‘is a type of flat waterfall you can ride on. But it’s serious too. It knows where it’s going and it’s determined to get there.’

Mervyn Rossiter, the exasperating, endearing larrikin hero ...

Given the plethora of non-fiction books about Virginia Woolf and her circle, ranging from biographies to memoirs to coffee-table offerings of all kinds, it is tempting to wonder why we need novels as well. For intimacy and immediacy we have the Bloomsberries’ own accounts of themselves in the many voluminous editions of their letters and diaries, not to mention po ...

Chris Flynn reviews 'Quicksand' by Steve Toltz

Chris Flynn
Monday, 27 April 2015
Penguin Australia’s recent fiction output has been remarkable... ... (read more)

Seasons of War is a fictional firsthand account of the Allied invasion of Gallipoli. Opposite the title page, the blurb suggests that it offers ‘the kind of truth that only fiction can’: what it felt like to be there, and how being there transformed the Australian nation (a contention which belongs, truly, to fiction).

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Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Trio' by Geraldine Wooller

Jay Daniel Thompson
Monday, 30 March 2015

The threesome in Trio is a group of friends who meet in the United Kingdom around 1966. Celia, Marcia, and Mickey bond one ‘pea-souperof a London evening’ and soon move in together. They become extremely close, and socialise in the same (largely theatre-based) circles. Their closeness has its limits; the protagonists draw the line at ‘threefold sex’.< ...

Naama Amram reviews 'Useful' by Debra Oswald

Naama Grey-Smith
Friday, 27 March 2015

What makes a person useful? What gives them worth and value in the world? And who gets to decide? These are some of the questions Debra Oswald explores in Useful, a novel set in suburban Sydney.

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‘My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.’ With those opening words in The Sportswriter (1986), Richard Ford introduced one of American literature’s more unlikely protagonists. In his fictional début, Bascombe is a former short story writer-turned-journalist, aged in his thirties, navigating suburban life in Haddam, New Jersey, after the death o ...

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Ash Burner' by Kári Gíslason

Catriona Menzies-Pike
Thursday, 26 March 2015

Midway through Kári Gíslason’s début novel, The Ash Burner, Ted, his dreamy, curious narrator, watches Anthony paint Claire. As she strikes angular poses for him, Ted reflects on how he would paint her: ‘I would have waited for the moments when she relaxed that pose and when her outline, the shape of her waist, was allowed to stand uncorrected by art o ...