Fiction

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Finding Nevo' by Nevo Zisin

Crusader Hillis

‘Coming out’ stories remain one of the most potent sources for young people to understand their own relationship to sex, gender, and sexuality. Living in a largely heteronormative society, many young people find a place in these stories to validate and challenge their thoughts and experiences. Nevo Zisin’s memoir, written at the age of twenty, covers these areas but also speaks to those l ... More

Piri Eddy reviews 'Closing Down' by Sally Abbott

Piri Eddy

Closing Down is about survival and the rituals that allow it; those that keep the fraying edges of life and society together, that stop a relationship disintegrating, that stave off insanity. In her début novel – which won the inaugural Richell Prize for Emerging Writers – Susan Abbott asks: how do you survive when your world is breaking into pieces?More

Tali Lavi reviews 'As the Lonely Fly' by Sara Dowse

Tali Lavi

Sara Dowse is a fine observer of politics and power. Her new novel, As the Lonely Fly, traverses three continents over fifty years and contains a multitude of characters, but its focus is honed in on three sisters, of sorts. While Chekhov’s play of that name is typified by waiting, Dowse’s story is of continuous flux and upheaval. Clara-later-Chava, Man ... More

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Gravity Well' by Melanie Joosten

Naama Grey-Smith

Gravity Well opens with Carl Sagan’s famous ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam’ quote, suggesting themes of astronomy, loneliness, and humanity’s cosmic insignificance. Though I was immediately smitten with the cover design (a nebula-coloured orb, its top and bottom halves depicting mirrored but not identical female silhouettes amid a sea of cosmi ... More

Donata Carrazza reviews 'No More Boats' by Felicity Castagna

Donata Carrazza

No More Boats is Felicity Castagna’s newest work since Small Indiscretions (2011), a collection of short stories, and her award-winning Young Adult novel ...

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Catherine Noske reviews 'Datsunland' by Stephen Orr

Catherine Noske

Datsunland, a collection of short stories and the latest from Stephen Orr, is in many ways flawed. The collection is uneven: the final (titular) work is a novella previously published in a 2016 issue of Griffith Review, which overwhelms the earlier, shorter stories, exhibiting the depth and nuance which several others lack. The narratives and chara ... More

Bernadette Brennan reviews 'The Last Garden' by Eva Hornung

Bernadette Brennan

The epigraph to the first chapter of Eva Hornung’s The Last Garden speaks of Nebelung, a time of great prosperity, joy, and hope for new life. Over the page, Hornung shatters any sense of well-being with an extraordinary opening sentence: ‘On a mild Nebelung’s afternoon, Matthias Orion, having lived as an exclamation mark in the Wahrheit settlement an ... More

Anna MacDonald reviews 'This Water: Five tales' by Beverley Farmer

Anna MacDonald

There is a distinct poignancy attached to last things, a sense in which they encapsulate all that has gone before at the same time as they anticipate an end. In the moment of their first manifestation, last things are already haunted by their own absence. This Water: Five tales is the first book by Beverley Farmer to be published since 2005, and has been an ... More

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness' by Arundhati Roy

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Arundhati Roy’s first and only other novel was The God of Small Things (1997). It attracted an advance of half a million pounds; publishing rights were sold in twenty-one countries; and it won the 1997 Booker Prize, as it was then called. Since then it has sold six million copies and has been translated into forty languages. In the interval, Roy has been ... More

Anna MacDonald reviews 'See What I Have Done' by Sarah Schmidt

Anna MacDonald

In this gripping first novel, Sarah Schmidt re-imagines the lives of Lizzie Borden, her family, and the brutal double murder of her father and stepmother, for which Lizzie became notorious. Set in and around the Borden’s house at Fall River, Massachusetts, the narrative has a dense, claustrophobic air that feeds the portrayal of this family as menacingly close.

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