Fiction

Simon Caterson reviews 'A Legacy of Spies' by John le Carré

Simon Caterson
28 September 2017

Sherlock Holmes, fairly early on in his career, survived an attempt by Arthur Conan Doyle to kill off the character in ‘The Adventure of the Final Problem’. Although Conan Doyle had wa More

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley

David Whish-Wilson
28 September 2017

Every Chris Womersley novel represents a significant departure from the last. Following his award-winning and magnificently dark début, The Low Road (2007), and his Miles Frankli More

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Wimmera' by Mark Brandi

Jay Daniel Thompson
27 September 2017

The tagline of Wimmera is ‘Small town. Big secret’. Mark Brandi’s first novel does indeed feature a secret (and a grim one, at that), but it also offers a disturbing insight More

Gretchen Shirm reviews 'Rain Birds' by Harriet McKnight

Gretchen Shirm
27 September 2017

In Harriet McKnight’s début novel, a story about early onset dementia is offset by a second conservation-focused narrative involving the glossy black cockatoo. This braided structure im More

Nicole Abadee reviews 'Home Fire' by Kamila Shamsie

Nicole Abadee
27 September 2017

Sophocles might not have foreseen when he wrote his tragedy Antigone in 441 BCE that the issues he explored would remain topical in 2017. In the play, Polynices, Antigone’s brot More

Shannon Burns reviews 'The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc' by Ali Alizadeh

Shannon Burns
27 September 2017

The many gaps in the verifiable history of Jeanne d’Arc’s early years in rural France, as well as her improbable rise to prominence and martyrdom, have left room for a considerable amo More

Beejay Silcox reviews 'The Life to Come' by Michelle de Kretser

Beejay Silcox
22 September 2017

Humans are narrative creatures. We tell stories to make sense of ourselves, but our stories – be they historical, political, fictional, or personal – shape us as much as we shape them. In the service of narrative expediency, we often sacrifice nuance. We turn chance to prophecy, and accidents into choices. We justify and excuse ourselves. We anoint heroes and vi ... More

Sonia Nair reviews 'The Hope Fault' by Tracy Farr

Sonia Nair
25 August 2017

The minutiae and messiness of family life as it comes together and unravels time and time again are delicately rendered in Tracy Farr’s second novel, The Hope Fault. The unrelenting rain that forms the lugubrious backdrop for much of the novel conjures up the same rich, atmospheric setting of the late Georgia Blain’s More

Patrick Holland reviews 'Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria: A novel in thirty-four cantos' by Brian Castro

Patrick Holland
25 August 2017

Lucien Gracq, the hero of Brian Castro’s verse novel Blindness and Rage, wishes to be a writer, though he has written only love letters to women, which achieved tragicomic results, or none at all. When Gracq retires from his job as a town planner in Adelaide, it seems he will have the time and freedom to write the epic he has dreamed of, but he is diagnos ... More

Johanna Leggatt reviews 'Australia Day' by Melanie Cheng

Johanna Leggatt
25 August 2017

The characters in Melanie Cheng’s collection of short stories are all outsiders or misfits in some way. Some feel conspicuously out of place, such as the Lebanese immigrant Maha, in ‘Toy Town’, who is struggling with suburban Australian life, or the Chinese medical student Stanley, who is visiting the family farm of a friend in the titular story. Stanley freez ... More

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