Fiction

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Three years after her first novel, The Book of Emmett, which chronicled the trials and tribulations of a troubled family, Melbourne writer Deborah Forster covers similar territory in her second, The Meaning of Grace. It opens with an elderly woman named Grace dying of cancer in hospital, then rewinds several decades, back to when a much younger Grace and her children moved to ...

Proudly popular fiction, Dead Heat is a romantic thriller set in a north-western New South Wales National Park. Organised crime in fiction generally operates in a large city or on the coastline, but author Bronwyn Parry sets her plot in the bush. The inclusion of bushland and animals creates unique plot obstacles and possibilities for both the criminals and the authorities, and it is a ...

Sea Hearts takes place in an intensely wrought setting, both unnerving and thrilling – in propinquity to our world, yet enchantingly different. We journey, with a series of intriguing characters, through brutal landscapes where the wind is ‘swiping like a cat’s paw at a mousehole’.

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‘Genius,’ as Arthur Rimbaud put it, ‘is childhood recovered at will.’ Rimbaud himself abandoned poetry at the age of twenty and thereafter refused to look back, but Patrick White exemplified the rule in writing The Hanging Garden. He was sixty-eight at the time, and had just completed his rancorous memoir Flaws in the Glass (1981); having d ...

Ronnie Scott reviews 'Blue' by Pat Grant

Ronnie Scott
21 March 2012

The Australian graphic novel, being a fairly new phenomenon, has no unifying aesthetic, no identifiable form. While it is possible to group the characteristics of French, American, and Japanese comics, Australia’s finest exponents are stylistically on their own. Nicki Greenberg crafts adult work from a child’s figurative toolkit, Shaun Tan’s comics are drenched in high fantasy draftsmansh ...

About a third of the way into Simon Cleary’s Closer to Stone, all of the preceding distinctively phrased metaphors and similes, all of the fragrant, lucid imagery – along with some that is rather less than lucid: how, exactly, does one pick up a drink and take a ‘deep sip’? – begin to meld into a compelling whole. Narrator Bas Adams, scouring the immense unknown of the Sahara ...

The Longing is an ambitious first novel. Set in the Western District of Victoria, with parallel narratives in the mid-nineteenth century and the present day, its principal theme is the occupation of Gunditjmara country by white settlers, and the decimation of Indigenous tribes. Novel writing is, of course, an act of imagination, and writers should be commended for their research, tenac ...

Solitude is a wonderful enabler of art, but as we learn from Stephen Scourfield’s stories, it can engulf us in the absence of external balancing forces and can become dangerous in the process. Each of the characters in Stephen Scourfield’s three novellas (a craftsman, a novelist, and a student of nature) is a solitary, with the possible exception of Bea ...

In After the Darkness, the third novel by Victorian writer Honey Brown, suburban couple Bruce and Trudy Harrison have their lives upended by a brutal attack while holidaying on the Great Ocean Road. This is only the tip of the narrative iceberg. Indeed, their ordeal at the hands of an opportunistic psychopath happens with such speed that the reader feels as disoriented as the victims d ...

M.L. Stedman’s first novel was the subject of spirited bidding from several publishers when her agent put it up for auction in 2011. Stedman lives in London, where she has contributed to literary journals, but she is originally from Western Australia, where this book is set. Her three-part novel tells the story of Tom Sherbourne, a returned World War I digger who not only carries the guilt of ...