Fiction

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Alice Nelson reviews 'Matryoshka' by Katherine Johnson

Alice Nelson
Thursday, 25 October 2018

Half a century ago, the Palestinian writer Edward Said described the state of exile as ‘the unhealable rift forced between a human being and a native place, between the self and its true home’. Its essential sadness, he believed, was not surmountable. The crippling sorrows of exile and estrangement ...

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Anthony Lynch reviews 'When I Saw the Animal' by Bernard Cohen

Anthony Lynch
Thursday, 25 October 2018

As a boy, I watched with fascination an early sci-fi horror film, The Blob. After a meteorite lands in Pennsylvania, a small, gelatinous blob emerges from the crater. Starting with an inquisitive old man who probes this runaway black pudding with his walking stick, the blob proceeds to consume, literally, everything ...

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Susan Wyndham reviews 'Shell' by Kristina Olsson

Susan Wyndham
Thursday, 25 October 2018

The story of the Sydney Opera House is usually told as the heroic tragedy of its Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, who won the design competition for his breathtaking cluster of white sails but resigned before its completion over conflict about practicalities, costs, and government interference ...

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Brenda Niall reviews 'Upstate' by James Wood

Brenda Niall
Thursday, 25 October 2018

Forget the author – it’s the book that matters. That’s sound advice, but there are times when it is hard to follow. James Wood’s Upstate is a testing case. A quietly reflective little novel, elegantly written, with four main characters and a minimal plot, Upstate doesn’t look like a literary time bomb ...

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Margaret Robson Kett reviews four recent Young Adults novels

Margaret Robson Kett
Wednesday, 26 September 2018
Friendship can be a powerful force for change in a young adult’s life. These four new books explore the full gamut of the unlikely, advantageous, and destructive consequences of relationships. ... (read more)

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'The Yellow House' by Emily O’Grady

Jay Daniel Thompson
Wednesday, 26 September 2018

Cub lives next door to the yellow house. The girl also lives in the shadow of her grandfather, Les, who once owned that property, and who died years ago, after doing ‘ugly things’ to women. Indeed, Les’s crimes seem to cast a pall over Cub’s entire family. This is a family where warmth ...

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Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'The Children’s House' by Alice Nelson

Sarah Holland-Batt
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

What are the limits of maternal love? How do children fare in its absence? Is mothering a socialised behaviour or a biological impulse? These are the questions Alice Nelson pursues in her second novel, The Children’s House, which draws its title from the name given to the separate quarters ...

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Brenda Walker reviews 'The Year of the Farmer' by Rosalie Ham

Brenda Walker
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

‘In time and with water, everything changes,’ according to Leonardo da Vinci, who worked with Machiavelli on a strategic and ultimately doomed attempt to channel the flow of the Arno. Large-scale water management has had some notable successes in parts of Australia ...

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Jane Sullivan reviews 'Too Much Lip' by Melissa Lucashenko

Jane Sullivan
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

A stranger rides into a one-horse town on a shiny new motorbike. Cue Ennio Morricone music. Except it’s not a stranger, it’s that skinny dark girl Kerry Salter, back to say goodbye to her Pop before he falls off the perch. The first conversation she has is in the Bundjalung language ...

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Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Killing Commendatore' by Haruki Murakami

Cassandra Atherton
Tuesday, 25 September 2018

There is a running joke in Japan that autumn doesn’t start each year until Haruki Murakami has lost the Nobel Prize for Literature. Most recently, in 2017, he lost to Kazuo Ishiguro, who was born in Japan but is now a British citizen. To date, two Japanese writers have been awarded the prize ...

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