Fiction

Sign up to Book of the Week

Miriam Zolin reviews 'Animal People' by Charlotte Wood

Miriam Zolin
Thursday, 24 November 2011

Early in Charlotte Wood’s previous novel The Children (2007), one of Stephen Connolly’s sisters describes him as lost; she says he carries within him ‘a bedrock of resentment … never articulated and never resolved, but which has formed the foundation for his every conversation, every glance from his guarded eyes’. Readers may disagree with this harsh assessment as they read W ...

Judith Armstrong, a Russian and French scholar, has translated the diaries of Tolstoy’s wife, Sonya, to form the focus of her second novel. Armstrong combines an intimate knowledge of Russian literature with a close reading of the couple’s diaries to create a convincing portrait of their volatile relationship through forty-eight years of marriage.

...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Inherited' by Amanda Curtin

Francesca Sasnaitis
Thursday, 24 November 2011

Inheritance is either a burden or a blessing in this selection of Amanda Curtin’s short stories. Strung like beads under evocative headings, each story addresses an aspect of love, loss, grief, or desire, and reveals Curtin’s capacity for empathetic characterisation.

...

Elena Gomez reviews 'The Dark Wet' by Jess Huon

Elena Gomez
Thursday, 24 November 2011

The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one ...

Any novel by Andrew McGahan is likely to be a surprise, if you know his previous work, but if you were to approach this book knowing nothing about the author, there would be little about it to disturb your expectations. The cover, with its heraldic design against a marine backdrop, immediately signals its genre, and the maps on the endpapers, showing McGahan’s imagined geography of a place ca ...

Since the publication of Frank Moorhouse’s The Americans, Baby (1972), Australian literature has maintained a tense awareness of its powerful neighbour’s cultural sway over younger generations. Even the ‘Oz as’ Young Adult titles (think of Tim Winton’s Lockie Leonard series) concede, by studious omission, the impact of American cultural hegemony on the teenage imagin ...

Joy Lawn surveys a number of new children's picture books

Joy Lawn
Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Diverse memories of childhood, ranging from Indigenous and migrant experiences to the Great Depression, permeate these evocative Australian picture books. Admired illustrator Bruce Whatley displays his range of styles in a pair of them; two others are set in Western Australia and Queensland. The potential danger of water is a disconcerting theme.

...

Jo Case reviews 'Hand Me Down World' by Lloyd Jones

Jo Case
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Lloyd Jones’s Booker-shortlisted ‘breakthrough’ novel Mister Pip (2006) began life as a collection of random memories and myths written on a wall...

... (read more)

Peter Pierce reviews 'When Colts Ran' by Roger McDonald

Peter Pierce
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Between the wars, the dominant mode of Australian fiction was the saga: tales of land-taking and nation-building, melodramas within families across generations, characters shaped by loneliness and obsession ...

... (read more)

Murray Waldren reviews 'Nemesis' by Philip Roth

Murray Waldren
Tuesday, 15 November 2011

With book thirty-one arriving as its author approaches his seventy-eighth birthday, the numbers are stacking up for Philip Roth ...

... (read more)