Australian Literature

Debra Adelaide reviews 'Peripheral Vision' by Paddy O'Reilly

Debra Adelaide
29 July 2015

Just as there are ways of writing short story collections, there are also ways of reading them. I used to be a rummager, picking through collections, seeking out the title piece, dipping in here and there to ascertain the feel of the stories, then reading the book from start to finish. Conscious now of the architecture of collections, of the fact that the author has ... More

Kerryn Goldsworthy on 'The Slap' by Christos Tsiolkas

Kerryn Goldsworthy
30 June 2015
The slap that I wanted to deliver with that book was to a culture in Australia that had literally made me sick, sick to the stomach. A middle class culture that struck me as incredibly selfish and ungenerous … I wanted to try and write a book ... that represented that culture. And to do that, honestly, I had to put myself in the middle of it. I also had to put my Greekness in the mid ... More

Reading Australia: 'The Female Eunuch' by Germaine Greer

Miriam Cosic
24 June 2015

When Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch was published in 1970, it created a sensation. Within six months, it had almost sold out its second print run and had been translated into eight languages. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, the influence of which critics see in Greer’s book, had come out in France in 1949. The Feminine Mystique, b ... More

Reading Australia: 'One hundred poems: 1919–1939' by Kenneth Slessor

Peter Kirkpatrick
10 June 2015

People who go in for the arts are often advised Don’t give up your day job. But what’s a suitable day job for a poet? A century ago many Australian poets made a meagre living as freelance writers for newspapers and magazines. Some even took up journalism full-time, writing their verses on the side. The old Bulletin, one of the wellsprings of Austra ... More

Reading Australia: ‘The Gathering’ by Isobelle Carmody

Ruth Starke
03 June 2015

My postgraduate student frowned. ‘The Gathering? Isn’t that the one where someone sets a dog on fire?’ Spoiler alert: indeed it is. It is the book’s most memorable scene; it is certainly the most horrific. My postgrad had read Isobelle Carmody’s 1993 novel in high school and that was the first memory of it which surfaced. The scene shocked readers a ... More

Susan K. Martin reviews 'Wild Bleak Bohemia' by Michael Wilding

Susan K Martin
29 May 2015

‘The mind retires from such speculation, unsatisfied but impressed’

Joseph Furphy, Such is Life

Michael Wilding’s biographical study traces in minute detail the interwoven lives of Adam Lindsay Gordon, Marcus Clarke, and Henry Kendall as their destinies converged on Mel ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Poets' Stairwell' by Alan Gould

Gillian Dooley
28 May 2015

In 1977 the aspiring poet Alan Gould travelled through Europe with his friend Kevin Hart. Just such a tour forms the narrative thread for Gould’s latest novel, The Poets’ Stairwell. This is a roman à clef and those in the know will enjoy the identification game.

More interesting, though, is the intellectual journey; Gould’s virginal twenty-seve ... More

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'Coming Rain' by Stephen Daisley

David Whish-Wilson
28 May 2015

For this reviewer, it’s been a long five years since the publication of Stephen Daisley’s Traitor (2010). The rightly acclaimed and award-winning début novel wrote of the terrors of war, and the life on the land of one irreparably damaged New Zealand soldier, David. As an exploration of the damage done to an ordinary and unappreciated man, the prose was ... More

Rose Lucas reviews 'The Mothers' by Rod Jones

Rose Lucas
28 May 2015

Rod Jones’s new novel, The Mothers, works on a number of levels. It provides a social and familial history of life in Melbourne’s working-class suburbs throughout the twentieth century while also telling the often moving stories of individuals connected across generations, usually mothers and children, battling to survive in adverse circumstances.

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Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Wonder Lover' by Malcolm Knox

Kevin Rabalais
28 May 2015

Since the publication of his début novel, Summerland (2000), Malcolm Knox has established himself as one of the most ambitious and exciting fiction writers at work in Australia. A seasoned journalist, recipient of two Walkley Awards– one for his work, with Caroline Overington, in the exposé of Norma Khouri– and prolific author of diverse non-fiction wor ... More

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