Australian Fiction

Sonya Hartnett revisits 'A Difficult Young Man' by Martin Boyd

Sonya Hartnett
Monday, 27 February 2012

Few writers, it could be argued, have ever cannibalised life for their art as ruthlessly and consistently as did Martin Boyd; and few are born into situations which lend themselves so readily to art. Boyd’s working life – indeed, much of his entire existence – was spent trying to unite the past with the present, the old world with the new, himself with the man ...

Sky Kirkham reviews 'Floundering' by Romy Ash

Sky Kirkham
Monday, 27 February 2012

Romy Ash’s début novel, Floundering, sits comfortably in the realm of Australian realism. It depicts the travails of a dysfunctional and impoverished family as they make their way across the country during a scorching Australian summer. Tom and Jordy, young brothers, live with their grandparents following their abandonment by their mother, Loretta. Twelve months later Loretta return ...

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Cooking the Books' by Kerry Greenwood

Francesca Sasnaitis
Monday, 27 February 2012

For many years I have looked forward to the ongoing exploits of Kerry Greenwood’s sassy heroine Phryne Fisher – the marvellous descriptions of period detail and fashion, the historical background of her ripping yarns – and have wilfully ignored occasional anachronisms of language or behaviour.

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Patrick Allington reviews 'The Chemistry of Tears' by Peter Carey

Patrick Allington
Friday, 20 January 2012

 In his closing address to the 2010 Sydney Writers’ Festival, Peter Carey made a plea on behalf of the fading ‘cult’ of serious reading. This prompted a fierce riposte from Bryce Courtenay: ‘There’s no such thing as popular writing versus literary writing. If I’m a popular writer then Peter Carey is an unpopular writer. If I’m a best-selling write ...

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living was always going to be a tough book to follow. Carrie Tiffany’s début novel, published in 2005, was shortlisted for various major prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Orange Prize. It also won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award in 2005 and the Dobbie Literary Award in 2007. Everyman’s Rules tells t ...

Mamang and Noongar Mambara Bakitj are retellings of traditional Noongar narratives by the Miles Franklin Award-winning author Kim Scott, in collaboration with a team of others. The books are part of a broader Wirlomin Noongar Language and Stories reclamation and revitalisation project currently under way in the south-western coastal region of Western Australia, an area roughly ...

The ABC Shop is currently selling online The Best Australian Stories 2010 for $14.99. ‘Ideal for summer reading’ its advertising says, and it surely doesn’t matter which summer. At that price you might get yourself a copy and sling it in your beach bag, unless you suspect it might dampen your holiday mood. More than a few reviewers found the overall tone of the collection bleak a ...

Chris Flynn reviews 'Blood' by Tony Birch

Chris Flynn
Thursday, 24 November 2011

As Christos Tsiolkas notes in his back cover puff, Tony Birch’s storytelling skills have been widely acknowledged since the publication of Shadowboxing in 2006. Many people have been waiting to see how Birch would fare with a full-length novel. His début, Blood, is nothing short of outstanding. Birch has finally found a home at University of Queensland Press, where he has h ...

Elena Gomez reviews 'The Dark Wet' by Jess Huon

Elena Gomez
Thursday, 24 November 2011

The short story form is the realm of perfection, proclaims Steven Millhauser in his 2008 New York Times essay, ‘The Ambition of the Short Story’, in which the ‘virtues of smallness’ are dissected, along with the successes and shortcomings of the genre. Jess Huon’s first short story collection, The Dark Wet, could be described in many ways, but ‘small’ is not one ...

Any novel by Andrew McGahan is likely to be a surprise, if you know his previous work, but if you were to approach this book knowing nothing about the author, there would be little about it to disturb your expectations. The cover, with its heraldic design against a marine backdrop, immediately signals its genre, and the maps on the endpapers, showing McGahan’s imagined geography of a place ca ...