Fiction

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The latest work by bestselling Tasmanian novelist Rachael Treasure is a collection of short stories, written at various stages of her career. At the age of thirteen, Treasure began writing mock Mills & Boon stories with her friends. The influence, and the mocking tone, are still there in the square-jawed heroes with chocolate- (or coffee-) coloured eyes and dark curls, but the stories veer ...

Thuy On reviews 'All I Ever Wanted' by Vikki Wakefield

Thuy On
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sixteen-year-old Jemima (Mim) Dodd lives in a dilapidated house on the edge of suburbia, with an overweight, couch-loving mother. Mim’s two elder half-brothers are in remand for drug-related offences, and she is struggling not to be sucked into her neighbourhood’s vortex of sex, crime, and violence. Mim seems to be a victim both of her hostile social environment and her dysfunctional family ...

Patrick Allington reviews 'Spirit of Progress' by Steven Carroll

Patrick Allington
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

At the beginning of Steven Carroll’s new novel, Spirit of Progress, Michael stands on a platform of the Gare Montparnasse in Paris. Readers of Carroll’s ‘Glenroy’ trilogy will remember that Michael is Vic and Rita’s son – a boy who grew up with an unblinking grasp of his parents’ fractured marriage and who learned early to fend for himself. Now a man, Michael observes the ...

Carmel Bird reviews 'Thought Crimes' by Tim Richards

Carmel Bird
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

A book’s epigraph doesn’t often feel like a direct personal statement to the reader, but the one in Thought Crimes, drawn from Ionesco, is just that: ‘You got stuck in the mud of life. You felt warm and cosy. (Sharply) Now you’re going to freeze.’ Imagine the world as a jigsaw from which the author has removed some pieces, substituting them with his own pieces – but wh ...

Any attempt to write a novel that covers three generations, two centuries, and two continents is undeniably ambitious. Include subject matter that ranges from Jewishness and gemstones to the occult, and set the story in a vibrant and sometimes turbulent time in the history of Melbourne and Victoria, from the 1850s gold rushes to the early 1900s, and the possibilities are exciting. Whether A ...

Dean Biron reviews 'The Boundary' by Nicole Watson

Dean Biron
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Diego Maradona is the greatest football player I have ever seen, but as a coach he sits somewhere between a comic opera and a train wreck. Philip Larkin was one of Britain’s finest poets, but to read his music criticism is to wish someone had heaved his typewriter into the nearest river. Ronald Reagan qualified as an A-grade B-movie actor, yet as president – the biggest acting role on the p ...

Adam Gall reviews 'Berlin Syndrome' by Melanie Joosten

Adam Gall
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Melanie Joosten’s first novel, Berlin Syndrome,is a compelling literary thriller. Clare, an Australian travelling alone in Europe, meets a charming Berlin local, Andi. The novel centres on their relationship, which soon becomes something quite different from what either had intended.

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Joy Lawn review 'Jam Dreaming' by Jan Gross

Joy Lawn
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The premise of Jam Dreaming is worthwhile; three cultures and generations meet over food. Eileen is an Aboriginal girl who lives in a squat. She is grieving for her mother, who died of alcoholism. Trying to find warmth beside a restaurant at night, she stumbles into the life of Mama Jocsdi, who cooks traditional European food. Mama’s sister, Nellie, with whom she escaped the Nazis, r ...

Don Anderson reviews 'The Chase' by Christopher Kremmer

Don Anderson
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Australians are suckers for a day at the races, and may be suckers for novels and poems about a day at the races. Consider Gerald Murnane’s metaphysics of racing, Peter Temple’s grim Melbourne in which stresses are relieved by a bottle of Bolly or some such beverage after a successful day at the track. The term ‘Turf’ is granted three-and-a-half columns in the 1985 edition of the Ox ...

Jeffrey Poacher reviews 'The Fix' by Nick Earls

Jeffrey Poacher
Tuesday, 23 August 2011

In contemporary crime fiction, first-person narrators can often sound irritatingly implausible, either too much the Marlovian stoic or too much the Holmesian savant. This is not the case with The Fix, Nick Earls’s latest offering, in which the narratorial voice is convincing from the first page. Then again, The Fix is hardly a conventional work of crime fiction; it has some ...

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