April 2015, issue no. 370

James Dunk reviews 'Seasons of War' by Christopher Lee

Jonathan Dunk

Seasons of War is a fictional firsthand account of the Allied invasion of Gallipoli. Opposite the title page, the blurb suggests that it offers ‘the kind of truth that only fiction can’: what it felt like to be there, and how being there transformed the Australian nation (a contention which belongs, truly, to fiction).

... More

Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'Trio' by Geraldine Wooller

Jay Daniel Thompson

The threesome in Trio is a group of friends who meet in the United Kingdom around 1966. Celia, Marcia, and Mickey bond one ‘pea-souperof a London evening’ and soon move in together. They become extremely close, and socialise in the same (largely theatre-based) circles. Their closeness has its limits; the protagonists draw the line at ‘threefold sex’.< ... More

Naama Amram reviews 'Useful' by Debra Oswald

Naama Amram

What makes a person useful? What gives them worth and value in the world? And who gets to decide? These are some of the questions Debra Oswald explores in Useful, a novel set in suburban Sydney.

... More

Joel Deane reviews 'Let Me Be Frank With You' by Richard Ford

Joel Deane

‘My name is Frank Bascombe. I am a sportswriter.’ With those opening words in The Sportswriter (1986), Richard Ford introduced one of American literature’s more unlikely protagonists. In his fictional début, Bascombe is a former short story writer-turned-journalist, aged in his thirties, navigating suburban life in Haddam, New Jersey, after the death o ... More

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Ash Burner' by Kári Gíslason

Catriona Menzies-Pike

Midway through Kári Gíslason’s début novel, The Ash Burner, Ted, his dreamy, curious narrator, watches Anthony paint Claire. As she strikes angular poses for him, Ted reflects on how he would paint her: ‘I would have waited for the moments when she relaxed that pose and when her outline, the shape of her waist, was allowed to stand uncorrected by art o ... More

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Goodbye Sweetheart' by Marion Halligan

Judith Armstrong

Marion Halligan is a prolific writer, and this is not the first time I have reviewed one of her books. Once, when she branched out into the genre of lightweight crime – The Apricot Colonel (2006) and Murder on the Apricot Coast (2008) – I commented on the problem faced by Cassandra, the novel’s narrator. An editor-turned-author, she turns out boo ... More

Doug Wallen reviews 'The Buried Giant' by Kazuo Ishiguro

Doug Wallen

Fitting for a novel about a patient quest, we only fully grasp Kazuo Ishiguro’s precise intentions with The Buried Giant at the end of its final page. Until then, the reader primarily follows the elderly married couple, Axl and Beatrice, as they journey through a memory-dulling fog that hangs heavily over the land. The presence of such magical elements, inc ... More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'A Madras Miasma' by Brian Stoddart

Francesca Sasnaitis

Brian Stoddart is a scholar and expert in the history of modern India, with sixteen works of non-fiction to his credit. His first novel, A Madras Miasma, is set soon after World War I. The body of an Englishwoman is found with her head buried in the rancid mud of the Buckingham Canal, behind Chepak Palace. Superintendent Christian Jolyon Brenton Le Fanu, head ... More

Jane Sullivan reviews 'Oddfellows' by Nicholas Shakespeare

Jane Sullivan

Two aggrieved Islamic men follow a foreign cause and wage jihad on their fellow Australians. Shouting Allahu akbar, they stage an ambush, raise a home-made flag and open fire on hundreds of men, women and children. They escape and die in a final shoot-out. They leave four dead and seven wounded.

It could be ripped from today’s headlines – except i ... More

Fiona Gruber reviews 'The Mystery of the Venus Island Fetish' by Dido Butterworth (Tim Flannery)

Fiona Gruber

It is 1932 and as the SS Mokambo steams into Sydney Harbour with Archie Meek on board, the Australian Museum’s young anthropologist is about to discover that he has committed a terrible faux pas. After five years away in the Venus islands studying the customs and culture of its head-hunting inhabitants, Meek is eager to be reunited with Beatrice Goodenough, ... More

Page 1 of 28
Australian Book Review Logo

Studio 2
207-229 City Road
Southbank VIC 3006

Tel: (03) 9699 8822
Fax: (03) 9699 8803

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Close Panel

ABR Online Login