November 2017, issue no. 396

Brian Matthews reviews 'A Sea-Chase' by Roger McDonald

Brian Matthews
25 October 2017

As Ratty observed to Mole, ‘There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.’ In Roger McDonald’s A Sea-Chase, lovers Wes Bannister and Judy Compton would certainly agree, but before they achieve Ratty’s state of nautical transcendence much that does matter has to be dealt with.

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Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Book of Dirt' by Bram Presser

Anna MacDonald
25 October 2017

Within the last decade, a new wave of writers has emerged whose work is indebted to W.G. Sebald. Sebald’s name, become an adjective (‘Sebaldian’), is often used as shorthand for describing a writer’s approach to history and memory, or his or her use of images alongside word-text, or the presence of a peripatetic narrator, or the rejection of conventional gen ... More

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Rubik' by Elizabeth Tan

Cassandra Atherton
25 October 2017

Invoking the Rubik’s Cube – a puzzle where twenty-six ‘cubelets’ rotate around a core crosspiece – Rubik is less a novel and more a book of interconnected short stories More

James Ley reviews 'First Person' by Richard Flanagan

James Ley
25 October 2017

The literature of the modern era contains any number of stories about doppelgängers, divided selves, alter egos, obsessive relationships, and corrosive forms of mutual dependence. The end More

Paul Giles reviews 'A Long Way from Home' by Peter Carey

Paul Giles
25 October 2017

On learning that the premise of Peter Carey’s new novel involved a test of automobile reliability on a round trip across Australia, my first response was to dismiss it as a thin conceit More

Geordie Williamson reviews 'The Passage of Love' by Alex Miller

Geordie Williamson
25 October 2017

Every author has some version of origin story: a narrative describing what it was that first compelled him or her to write, or at least what attracted them to the role. You can hear the ta More

Simon Caterson reviews 'A Legacy of Spies' by John le Carré

Simon Caterson
28 September 2017

Sherlock Holmes, fairly early on in his career, survived an attempt by Arthur Conan Doyle to kill off the character in ‘The Adventure of the Final Problem’. Although Conan Doyle had wa More

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'City of Crows' by Chris Womersley

David Whish-Wilson
28 September 2017

Every Chris Womersley novel represents a significant departure from the last. Following his award-winning and magnificently dark début, The Low Road (2007), and his Miles Frankli More

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Wimmera' by Mark Brandi

Jay Daniel Thompson
27 September 2017

The tagline of Wimmera is ‘Small town. Big secret’. Mark Brandi’s first novel does indeed feature a secret (and a grim one, at that), but it also offers a disturbing insight More

Gretchen Shirm reviews 'Rain Birds' by Harriet McKnight

Gretchen Shirm
27 September 2017

In Harriet McKnight’s début novel, a story about early onset dementia is offset by a second conservation-focused narrative involving the glossy black cockatoo. This braided structure im More

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