Fiction

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Beatrice May Ross (Bee) is a list-maker, an amateur detective, a taxidermy assistant, and a regular teenage girl. She falls in love, fights with her best friend, and hates her mother’s new boyfriend, like plenty of adolescents. But she does so while stitching together a dead koala and trying to solve the ever-developing mystery surrounding the death of her mentor.

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A survey of recent children's picture books by Stephanie Owen Reeder

Stephanie Owen Reeder
Friday, 07 October 2011

Many Australian picture book authors and illustrators continue to develop the genre in exciting and unusual ways...

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The birth of Tom Downs on the banks of the Murray River in South Australia tragically coincided with the death of his mother. His premature arrival – in the breech position – subsequently informs how his life is played out.

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Morag Fraser reviews 'Autumn Laing' by Alex Miller

Morag Fraser
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Not since Marguerite Yourcenar’s classic Memoirs of Hadrian (1951) have I encountered a novel of such bravura intensity and insight into the jagged contours of the human heart.

Autumn Laing opens with a mercurial soliloquy. Over eighteen shimmering pages, the novel’s eponymous heroine draws scarcely a breath as, in a soul-scouring torre ...

Jo Case reviews 'All That I Am' by Anna Funder

Jo Case
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The heroine of All That I Am reflects that an author’s published books ‘preserve the fossil imprint on the world of that particular soul at that particular time’. In her début novel – based on real characters and events – acclaimed non-fiction author Anna Funder (Stasiland, 2003) has preserved the imprint of a particular group of souls at a vitally important histori ...

Sophie Cunningham reviews 'Sarah Thornhill' by Kate Grenville

Sophie Cunningham
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sarah Thornhill is the third book in Kate Grenville’s loose trilogy depicting life in the early days after Australia’s settlement. Like the previous novels, The Secret River (2005) and The Lieutenant (2008), Sarah Thornhill fictionalises actual stories of settlement. In the process, Grenville transforms our history into someth ...

Christina Stead is an author perennially ripe for rediscovery. Her acknowledged masterpiece, The Man Who Loved Children, came out originally in 1940; in 2005, it figured in Time’s list of the 100 best novels published since 1923. But in his introduction to the Miegunyah Modern Library edition of the novel, American novelist Jonathan Franzen cites ...

Don Anderson reviews 'The Street Sweeper' by Elliot Perlman

Don Anderson
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

In 2003, the year in which Elliot Perlman’s previous novel Seven Types of Ambiguity was published, the eminent gadfly David Marr suggested that Australian novelists failed to address major contemporary social concerns. As if anticipating Marr’s criticisms, Perlman wove a plot that involved stock market speculation (and peculation), upmarket Melbourne brothels, privatised prisons, p ...

Mark Gomes reviews 'Jack and Jill' by Helen Hodgman

Mark Gomes
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Australian author Helen Hodgman depicts writing and domestic love as apotheoses of self-annihilation. In Jack and Jill (1978) – Hodgman’s second novel and the second to be reissued by Text Publishing this year, after Blue Skies (1976) – literary imagination acts as a sexual Strangling Fig, and childbearing poses a threat to psychic wherewithal. Mind and body, this stylis ...

Australia is supposed to have a knowing relationship with East Asia, but the embarrassing truth we keep under wraps is that you can count on one hand the number of first-class translators we have produced. There are no doubt complex cultural reasons for this, but it is hard to escape the impression that many academics teaching Chinese and Japanese have not been earning their keep.

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