Fiction

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Posthumous Holmes

Brian McFarlane

 

The Narrative of John Smith
by Arthur Conan Doyle (read by Robert Lindsay)
British Library Board (Inbooks), $39.95 5 CDs, 270 minutes, 9780712351157

 

A century later, the Conan Doyle/Sherlock Holmes industry shows n ...

Joy Lawn reviews recent picture books

Joy Lawn
Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Australian picture books are among the best in the world. Some of our most notable authors and illustrators include Bob Graham, Libby Gleeson, Freya Blackwood, Stephen Michael King, and Glenda Millard. The latest books by these creators are valuable additions to Australian children’s literature.

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Ronnie Scott reviews 'Sensitive Creatures' by Mandy Ord

Ronnie Scott
Wednesday, 22 February 2012

It’s a simple proposition: short graphic stories about city life, and one narrator – Mandy Ord – drawn with a single bulging eye. But the slice-of-life stories in Sensitive Creatures are rarely straightforward. Sweeping and brittle, kinetic and lush, this is a consistently surprising volume, at once an autobiography, a collection of vignettes, and a comprehensive catalogue of an ...

Patrick Allington reviews 'The Chemistry of Tears' by Peter Carey

Patrick Allington
Friday, 20 January 2012

 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ...

Ruth Starke reviews 'A Common Loss' by Kirsten Tranter

Ruth Starke
Friday, 20 January 2012

It begins with a car accident. Five friends are returning to college after a night of drinking. The driver, Cameron, hits a deer and overturns the vehicle. When the police and ambulance arrive, Dylan, who has drunk the least, claims to have been at the wheel. The others – Elliot, who narrates the story, Tallis, Brian, and especially Cameron – let him assume responsibility. It is, more or le ...

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published in 2005, was shortlisted for various major prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. It also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2005 and the Dobbie Literary Award in 2007. Everyman’s Rules tells t ...

Currawalli Street is Christopher Morgan’s second novel for adults. Set in a suburb north of Melbourne, the novel is divided into two parts. It follows the lives of the street’s residents on the brink of World War I, then skips to 1972, when one of the grandsons of the original residents returns from the Vietnam War.

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In writing Bite Your Tongue, Francesca Rendle-Short, who is director of Creative Writing at RMIT University, has chosen a thorny tale. She dedicates the book to her mother, Angel, who is clearly a formidable personality: Northern Irish; medical doctor; mother of six daughters; Christian activist; ‘book burner’. Early on, we are told that ‘some stories are hard to tell, they bite ...

Kate Holden reviews 'The Last Thread' by Michael Sala

Kate Holden
Friday, 20 January 2012

Memoir, it seems, is proliferating ever more furiously in Australia, filling bookshelves and review pages like bacteria in still water. We are insatiable in our appetite to read and write memoir, to feel the ‘real’. As a memoirist myself, I am all too aware of my hypocrisy in feeling uneasy about this rage for introspection. But memoir is most successfu ...

Phil Brown reviews 'Poor Man's Wealth' by Rod Usher

Phil Brown
Friday, 20 January 2012

Small towns, as anyone who has lived in one can attest, abound in colourful characters. Or is it just that people’s peccadilloes are magnified without the distractions of the madding crowd? Rod Usher knows a thing or two about small towns; he happens to live in one: the village of Barcarrota in Extremadura, Spain. After a long career in journalism – including stints as literary editor of