Susan Lever

Susan Lever reviews 'The World Without Us' by Mireille Juchau

Susan Lever
26 August 2015

From the opening pages of Mireille Juchau’s new novel, The World Without Us, we know we are in the hands of a poetic writer in control of language and ready to invest every sentence with resonant detail. In this scene, two of the central characters encounter each other at a river above a waterfall:

Now the water was strung with ... More

The missing novels: our critics nominate some overlooked classics

Debra Adelaide et al.
24 August 2015

Early success is no guarantee of a book’s continued availability or circulation. Some major and/or once-fashionable authors recede from public consciousness, and in some cases go out of print. We invited some writers and critics to identity novelists who they feel should be better known.

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Reading Australia: 'The Floating World' by John Romeril

Susan Lever
11 June 2015

Late in 2013, the Griffin Theatre in Sydney revived John Romeril’s The Floating World as its annual production of an Australian classic. The play is now forty years old, and unfamiliar to contemporary audiences who would have been lucky to see its first performances in the tiny Pram Fa ... More

Susan Lever reviews 'Merciless Gods' by Christos Tsiolkas

Susan Lever
15 December 2014

Susan Lever reviews Merciless Gods, a new collection of short stories by Christos Tsiolkas, and concludes that, though admirable, the work amounts to confined literary art.

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Susan Lever reviews 'Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy'

Susan Lever
22 July 2014

Forty years ago next Christmas, a cyclone devastated Australia’s northernmost city, Darwin. It is a disaster still clear in the living memory of most Australians over fifty, but it also belongs to the past, the time before we had become aware of climate change. At the time, it was the kind of natural disaster to be expected in summer in the Top End, even if its fe ... More

Australia and Modernity

Susan Lever
30 April 2014

Australia was colonised in the period of modernity, with the Industrial Revolution driving much of its development and a belief in improving technology and political progress underlying its public institutions. The society may have been modern but its culture, in particular its art and literature, has borne the recurrent charge of backwardness. The centres of innova ... More

Susan Lever on 'The Best Australian Essays 2013'

Susan Lever
26 February 2014

In his introduction to this selection of prose engagements with the world, Robert Manne tells us he was looking for the ‘presence of a distinctive voice’ as a sign of what he calls a good essay. Some of these pieces are conventional essays, but others are memoirs, newspaper columns, sketches, ‘true’ stories – there’s even a speech and an article from Man ... More

Susan Lever reviews 'Telling Stories'

Susan Lever
31 October 2013

Telling Stories is a great brick of a book full of diverting bits and pieces about Australian culture over the past seventy-seven years. It is hugely entertaining – a sort of QIin book form, with seventy-nine authors offering their brief observations on aspects of Australian cultural life. No one will read it cover to ... More

Susan Lever reviews 'Antipodes, Vol. 27, No.1'

Susan Lever
30 September 2013

No matter what the state of local publishing of Australian literature and criticism, twice a year the loyal members of AAALS continue to produce the readable and enlightening Antipodes. The June 2013 issue includes some splendid poetry by Tom Shapcott, Jan Owen, and Ali Alizadeh, and several less well-known names, and a mix of stories that move beyond f ... More

Susan Lever reviews 'Man of Letters: Dog Rock 3'

Susan Lever
28 November 2012

David Foster’s earlier Dog Rock novels came out of his experience as a Bundanoon postman in the 1980s. A recent brief return to his old run has provided irresistible material for a further comic foray into rural life. Dog Rock: A Postal Pastoral (1985) and The Pale Blue Crochet Coathanger Cover (1988)observed the changes in a country village under th ... More

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