September 2017, issue no. 394

Sonia Nair reviews 'The Hope Fault' by Tracy Farr

Sonia Nair
25 August 2017

The minutiae and messiness of family life as it comes together and unravels time and time again are delicately rendered in Tracy Farr’s second novel, The Hope Fault. The unrelenting rain that forms the lugubrious backdrop for much of the novel conjures up the same rich, atmospheric setting of the late Georgia Blain’s More

Patrick Holland reviews 'Blindness and Rage: A Phantasmagoria: A novel in thirty-four cantos' by Brian Castro

Patrick Holland
25 August 2017

Lucien Gracq, the hero of Brian Castro’s verse novel Blindness and Rage, wishes to be a writer, though he has written only love letters to women, which achieved tragicomic results, or none at all. When Gracq retires from his job as a town planner in Adelaide, it seems he will have the time and freedom to write the epic he has dreamed of, but he is diagnos ... More

Johanna Leggatt reviews 'Australia Day' by Melanie Cheng

Johanna Leggatt
25 August 2017

The characters in Melanie Cheng’s collection of short stories are all outsiders or misfits in some way. Some feel conspicuously out of place, such as the Lebanese immigrant Maha, in ‘Toy Town’, who is struggling with suburban Australian life, or the Chinese medical student Stanley, who is visiting the family farm of a friend in the titular story. Stanley freez ... More

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Gulf' by Anna Spargo-Ryan

Josephine Taylor
25 August 2017

Shortly after her son, Luke, was murdered by his father, Rosie Batty spoke of the non-discriminatory nature of family violence: ‘No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.’ If Batty’s is an example of the less easily imagined site of domestic violence, Anna Spargo-Ryan’s second novel, The Gulf, ... More

Shannon Burns reviews 'The Town' by Shaun Prescott

Shannon Burns
25 August 2017

Shaun Prescott’s début novel shares obvious conceptual territory with the fiction of Franz Kafka and Gerald Murnane, both of whom are mentioned in its promotional material ...

More

Patrick Allington reviews 'A New England Affair' by Steven Carroll

Patrick Allington
25 August 2017

In his fiction, Steven Carroll stretches and slows time. He combines this with deliberate over-explaining and repetition, the echoing of memories and ideas, coincidence, and theatricality. A distinctive rhythm results: when reading his work, I often find myself nodding in time to the words. Occasionally – and it happens now and again in his new novel, A New En ... More

Susan Midalia reviews 'Pulse Points' by Jennifer Down

Susan Midalia
25 August 2017

Barbara Kingsolver, praising the skill required to write a memorable short story, described the form as entailing ‘the successful execution of large truths delivered in tight spaces’. Her description certainly applies to Jennifer Down’s wonderful début collection, Pulse Points. Using the typical strategies of suggestion, ambiguity, and inconclusivene ... More

Phoebe Weston-Evans reviews 'So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood' by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron

Phoebe Weston-Evans
24 August 2017

Patrick Modiano’s most recent novel, published just before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014, is his twenty-sixth to date, though one of a great number to arrive almost all at once in the English-speaking world. In the post-Nobel flurry to translate Modiano into English, the past two years have marked a shift in the author’s status from practically unknown ... More

Fiona Wright reviews 'Common People' by Tony Birch

Fiona Wright
24 August 2017

The characters who populate Tony Birch’s Common People are striking not so much because they are the ordinary people, the commonplace or everyday people that the title would suggest – they are, mostly, people living in or with extremity and trauma – but because the thing that unites them in these stories are discoveries of small moments of common huma ... More

James Ley reviews 'The Choke' by Sofie Laguna

James Ley
24 August 2017

The Choke is full of holes. I mean that literally, which is also to say (since we are talking about a novel) symbolically. It contains any number of insinuating references to wounds, ditches, gaps, and voids. The primary implication of these can be grasped if one recalls that ‘nothing’ was Elizabethan slang for female genitalia. Sofie Laguna’s narrato ... More

Page 1 of 47