June-July 2017, issue no. 392

Benjamin Chandler reviews 'All Fall Down' by Cassandra Austin

Benjamin Chandler

The collapse of a bridge is the catalyst in Cassandra Austin’s All Fall Down, isolating the small town of Mululuk in true Australian gothic fashion ...

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Crusader Hillis reviews 'Down the Hume' by Peter Polites

Crusader Hillis

Peter Polites’s first novel is remarkable in its power to evoke growing up caught between conflicting cultural and sexual identities. It tells the story of Bux, a gay man haunted by his addiction to painkillers, his abusive relationship with his drug-dealing bodybuilder boyfriend, his violent alcoholic Greek father, and a childhood where his sexuality and his trad ... More

Tessa Lunney reviews 'A Hundred Small Lessons' by Ashley Hay

Tessa Lunney

Hundred Small Lessons holds powerful truths, simply told. It is a story of parenthood and place, where small domestic moments, rather than dramatic public displays, are the links between people, the present a More

Anna Spargo-Ryan reviews 'Jean Harley Was Here' by Heather Taylor Johnson

Anna Spargo-Ryan

There is much to like about a well-executed set of short stories, and this is true of Jean Harley Was Here. While the book presents itself as a novel, it has more in common with Elizabeth More

Doug Wallen reviews 'Storyland' by Catherine McKinnon

Doug Wallen

‘I write best from place,’ Catherine McKinnon told Fairfax newspapers in a recent interview. Her second novel, which concerns centuries of human interaction with the New South Wales co More

Beejay Silcox reviews 'The Idiot' by Elif Batuman

Beejay Silcox

Email is a chimeric beast, an uneasy mix of intimacy and distance – unlimited time and space to say precisely what we mean, coupled with the unnerving promise of instant delivery ...

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Benjamin Chandler reviews 'The Change Trilogy: The Silent Invasion' by James Bradley

Benjamin Chandler

The Silent Invasion, James Bradley’s first Young Adult novel and the first in a trilogy, begins in generic post-apocalyptic fashion. Humanity crowds into restricted safe zones, hiding from an intergalactic plague that infects living matter with the mysterious Change. Adolescent protagonist Callie’s younger sister Gracie is infected; to prevent her demise at the hands of Quarantine, ... More

Anna MacDonald reviews 'The Trapeze Act' by Libby Angel

Anna MacDonald

An epigraph from Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey: Collected lectures (2012) sets the tone of Libby Angel’s novel, The Trapeze Act ‘what is the moment but a fragment of greater time?’ This book is composed of fragments, which, taken together, capture the desire for a complete understanding of history and the impossibility of satisfyin ... More

Sara Savage reviews 'The Permanent Resident' by Roanna Gonsalves

Sara Savage

There is a moment in ‘The Skit’ – the second in a collection of sixteen short stories by Indian-Australian author Roanna Gonsalves – when the writer protagonist, upon reading her work to a group of her peers (‘the Bombay gang’, as she describes them, ‘still on student visas, still drinking out of second-hand glasses from Vinnies, and eating off melamin ... More

Blanche Clark reviews 'The Restorer' by Michael Sala

Blanche Clark

Domestic violence is an everyday reality for tens of thousands of women in Australia. Recent horrors and public campaigns have raised awareness of this social scourge. Journalists have written extensively on the subject, yet it is novelists, as Michael Sala shows in The Restorer, that can give us a more acute view of the emotional complexities that bind cou ... More

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