Australian Fiction

Having been ‘completely screwed over by men’, Libby Cutmore is on a self-imposed and inevitably short-lived ‘man-fast’. Although she loves her job at the (fictional) National Aboriginal Gallery in Canberra, memories of New York adventures with her friend Lauren (Manhattan Dreaming, 2010), and Libby’s own sense of exclusion now that her two closest ...

The final offering in Patrick Holland’s first collection of short stories is also its best.

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Gone by Jennifer Mills

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April 2011, no. 330

Writing in the Guardian late last year, Philip Pullman said this of what he regards as the dominant style in contemporary fiction: ‘What I dislike about the present-tense narrative is...

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Jane Sullivan’s novel, which was runner-up in the 2010 CAL Scribe Fiction Prize for a novel by a writer over thirty-five years of age, blends the powerful theme of ...

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Those Who Come After by Elisabeth Holdsworth

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April 2011, no. 330

Wirklich, ich lebe in finsteren Zeiten. 
(Truly, I live in dark times.)

When her mother uttered that line from Bertolt Brecht’s great poem ‘An die Nachgeborenen’, Juliana – the narrator of Elisabeth Holdsworth’s first novel – knew they were in for a hard time. Janna had returned to the Netherlands from Da ...

Maris Morton’s novel is the winner of the Scribe CAL Fiction Prize for 2010...

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Jessica Rudd’s fiction début, Campaign Ruby, is witty and warm-hearted chick lit set against a convincingly painted and disconcertingly prescient political backdrop.

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The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett & The Red Wind by Isobelle Carmody

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September 2010, no. 324

I had fun imagining Sonya Hartnett and Isobelle Carmody indulging in a little pre-publication chit-chat:

IC: What are you working on now, Sonya?
SH: A children’s story about two orphaned brothers battling for survival in a world turned upside down; talking animals; themes of freedom and loss. What about you?
IC: A children’s story about two orphaned brothers struggling for survival in a world suddenly turned alien; talking animals; themes of resilience and loss …

The result is two different novels, but the marketing meetings at Penguin must have been interesting.

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The Body in the Clouds, Ashley Hay’s scintillating and accomplished first novel, is in fact her fifth book, its predecessors all being non-fiction. There was the Lord Byron book, The Secret: The Strange Marriage of Annabella Milbanke and Lord Byron (2000), Gum: The story of eucalypts and their champions (2002), Herbarium (2004) and Museum: The Macleays, their collections and the search for order (2007).

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The title of Sarah Hopkins’s second novel, Speak to Me, is an exhortation: bridge the gap between us. It is also an expression of hope, however misguided, that such a gap can be bridged: if only we could speak, we could heal.

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