Books of the Year

Dennis Altman

It is always tempting to use this opportunity to draw attention to books that may have been somewhat neglected, and looking back over 2012 three books stand out: Russell Banks’s Lost Memory of Skin (Ecco), Kim Westwood’s The Courier’s New Bicycle (Harper Voyager), and ...

Bec Kavanagh

Winner of the 2010 Text Prize, Jane Higgins’s The Bridge (Text) is amazing dystopian fiction that taps into the mistrust of our government and the complex tug of emotions that comes with adolescence. Cath Crowley’s Graffiti Moon (Macmillan) is a raw and energetic coming-of-age book that has won its fair share of awards this year, and r ...

Patrick Allington

The year, for me, has been dominated by wonky donkeys and dancing kangaroos. As for books for adults, I read more fiction than non-fiction – and, with accidental parochialism, more Australian than international novels. Frank Moorhouse’s Cold Light (Vintage, see the November 2011 ABR review [11/11]), especially its majestic ending, ...

Patrick Allington

While I have been rather underwhelmed by much of the non-fiction I’ve read in 2010, it’s been a terrific fiction year. Although published in 2009, I can’t go past Marie Munkara’s début book, Every Secret Thing (University of Queensland Press, reviewed 4/10, ABR), connected stories set on an island mission. Munkara writes bril ...

Don Anderson

Don Watson’s Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A portrait of Paul Keating PM (Knopf). Gripping narrative; gripping drama. Plenty of heart; plenty of blood on Canberra carpets. Fond picture of possibly Australia’s last Labour prime minister. Sylvia Lawson’s How Simone de Beauvoir Died in Australia: Stories and essays (UNSW Press). Complex, spacious, committed, convincing, intellectually riveting speculations and reflections. And, finally, anything by Peter Temple, an outstanding crime fiction novelist who combines true grit and a college education with the smells of the city (Melbourne). Try Shooting Staror Dead Point (both from Bantam).

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