Fiction

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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 ...

The way nostalgia works, according to theorists, is that we pine for the era just before our own. This may be why the twenty-something musicians of today mine the sounds of the 1980s. But does this pattern succeed in Young Adult fiction? What does an author gain by setting his or her story in the ‘nostalgia zone’ of potential readers?

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'Liberator' by Richard Harland

Benjamin Chandler
Monday, 22 August 2011

Richard Harland’s Liberator begins three months after its predecessor, Worldshaker (2009), left off. The optimism and exuberance that marked the success of the revolution has dimmed as the inhabitants of the newly renamed Liberator struggle with the realities of running the mobile juggernaut. A saboteur breeds havoc and mistrust between the governing council of Filt ...

To make Ernest Giles’s trek across the scrub and desert of southern Australia interesting to younger readers, relate it through the eyes of a young protagonist. It was an inspired choice to invent Taj, twelve-year-old son of the historical figure Saleh Mohamed, Afghan cameleer, and an equally inspired choice to invent Taj’s beloved young camel, Mustara. The love and respect between camel an ...

Ruth Starke reviews eight recent children's books

Ruth Starke
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Linda and Paul McCartney, so the story goes, became vegetarians the moment they looked up from a delicious meal of roast lamb and saw a flock of lambs gambolling in the field beyond their cottage. Young readers of Pamela Freeman’s Lollylegs (Walker Books, $11.95 pb, 64 pp, 9781921529078) might well have a similar reaction, since the connection in Lollylegs between the meal o ...

Bec Kavanagh reviews 'Pig Boy' by J.C. Burke

Bec Kavanagh
Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Damon Styles keeps a list of those who have crossed him. In a small, bully-rich town like Strathven, there are a lot of them. Damon has a plan, though, and getting his gun licence is only part of it. Next he needs to get a job with the Pigman. Nobody really knows the latter. He is foreign, shoots pigs, and keeps to himself, which is quite enough to fuel rumours in Strathven. Damon knows that th ...