Fiction

Peter Conrad reviews 'The Hanging Garden' by Patrick White

Peter Conrad
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

‘Genius,’ as Arthur Rimbaud put it, ‘is childhood recovered at will.’ Rimbaud himself abandoned poetry at the age of twenty and thereafter refused to look back, but Patrick White exemplified the rule in writing The Hanging Garden. He was sixty-eight at the time, and had just completed his rancorous memoir Flaws in the Glass (1981); having d ...

Ronnie Scott reviews 'Blue' by Pat Grant

Ronnie Scott
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Australian graphic novel, being a fairly new phenomenon, has no unifying aesthetic, no identifiable form. While it is possible to group the characteristics of French, American, and Japanese comics, Australia’s finest exponents are stylistically on their own. Nicki Greenberg crafts adult work from a child’s figurative toolkit, Shaun Tan’s comics are drenched in high fantasy draftsmansh ...

Dean Biron reviews 'Closer to Stone' by Simon Cleary

Dean Biron
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

About a third of the way into Simon Cleary’s Closer to Stone, all of the preceding distinctively phrased metaphors and similes, all of the fragrant, lucid imagery – along with some that is rather less than lucid: how, exactly, does one pick up a drink and take a ‘deep sip’? – begin to meld into a compelling whole. Narrator Bas Adams, scouring the immense unknown of the Sahara ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Longing' by Candice Bruce

Francesca Sasnaitis
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Longing is an ambitious first novel. Set in the Western District of Victoria, with parallel narratives in the mid-nineteenth century and the present day, its principal theme is the occupation of Gunditjmara country by white settlers, and the decimation of Indigenous tribes. Novel writing is, of course, an act of imagination, and writers should be commended for their research, tenac ...

Solitude is a wonderful enabler of art, but as we learn from Stephen Scourfield’s stories, it can engulf us in the absence of external balancing forces and can become dangerous in the process. Each of the characters in Stephen Scourfield’s three novellas (a craftsman, a novelist, and a student of nature) is a solitary, with the possible exception of Bea ...

Alan Vaarwerk reviews 'After the Darkness' by Honey Brown

Alan Vaarwerk
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

In After the Darkness, the third novel by Victorian writer Honey Brown, suburban couple Bruce and Trudy Harrison have their lives upended by a brutal attack while holidaying on the Great Ocean Road. This is only the tip of the narrative iceberg. Indeed, their ordeal at the hands of an opportunistic psychopath happens with such speed that the reader feels as disoriented as the victims d ...

M.L. Stedman’s first novel was the subject of spirited bidding from several publishers when her agent put it up for auction in 2011. Stedman lives in London, where she has contributed to literary journals, but she is originally from Western Australia, where this book is set. Her three-part novel tells the story of Tom Sherbourne, a returned World War I digger who not only carries the guilt of ...

Paddy O’Reilly’s début novel, The Factory (2005), was widely commended, and her collection of short fiction, The End of the World (2007), garnered recognition in several major literary prizes. Published under the name P.A. O’Reilly, thereby distinguishing it from the author’s more literary works, O’Reilly’s second novel, The Fine Colour of Rust, marks a d ...

Lucas Smith reviews 'The Cartographer' by Peter Twohig

Lucas Smith
Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The unnamed, eleven-year-old narrator protagonist of The Cartographer has an epileptic fit after witnessing a horrific rape-murder. The year is 1959. His father has just left the family days after his identical twin brother was killed by faulty playground equipment. The child’s closest friend is his wheeler-dealer grandfather, but it is in his own head that he thrives. To act out his ...

Sonya Hartnett revisits 'A Difficult Young Man' by Martin Boyd

Sonya Hartnett
Monday, 27 February 2012

Few writers, it could be argued, have ever cannibalised life for their art as ruthlessly and consistently as did Martin Boyd; and few are born into situations which lend themselves so readily to art. Boyd’s working life – indeed, much of his entire existence – was spent trying to unite the past with the present, the old world with the new, himself with the man ...

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