Fiction

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End of the Night Girl, the first novel by Adelaide writer Amy T. Matthews, is a story about one of the most difficult tasks of writing and scholarship in the past sixty years: imagining the Shoah. In attempting this task, Matthews emulates writers such as W.G. Sebald, Thomas Keneally, Elfriede Jelinek, and Inga Clendinnen.

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How can Australians write fiction about Indigenous Australia? It is one of the most contentious literary questions today. There aren’t any rules, but writers – particularly white writers – are driven by a strange mix of passion and caution.

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The beauty and danger of the ocean and its unpredictable nature have long been fertile subjects for artists and writers, and the sea a popular and potent metaphor. In Favel Parrett’s trim, lyrical début novel Past the Shallows, shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award,the sea is once again symbolic. In fact, nearly everything in this novel feels symbolic, s ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'Welcome to Normal' by Nick Earls

Jeffrey Poacher
Monday, 09 July 2012

Wheen asked why his later writing had taken on such a different character, Eugenio Montale explained that this was because it came from la retrobottega – literally, from the back of the shop – that place where an artist might unhurriedly conduct a private experiment or two. Something similar might be said of Welcome to Normal, the first collection of stories by Nick Earls ...

Adolescent girls aged sixteen to seventeen are at the centre of these three Young Adult novels: girls whose heightened emotional states prompt supernatural events. Broken families, disconnection from parents, obsession, music, art, and death impel the protagonists to seek solace and healing in the metaphysical. For Shirley Marr (Black Dog Books, $18.95 pb, 272 pp, 9781742031903), it is the Chin ...

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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