June-July 2015, issue no. 372

Reading Australia: 'Lilian's Story' by Kate Grenville

Peter Craven

Kate Grenville’s Lilian’s Story is one of the great Australian novels of the last thirty years. When it was first published in 1985, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. The original cover carried a recommendation by Patrick White, Nobel laureate and the greatest writer of any kind Australia has produced. White said ... More

Tony Birch on 'The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith' by Thomas Keneally for Reading Australia

Tony Birch

Thomas Keneally’s novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) is based in part on historical events, particularly the crimes committed by Jimmy Governor, an Aboriginal man from New South Wales. In 1900, Governor was a key figure involved in the killing of nine Europeans, including five women and children. The killings followed Governor’s marriage t ... More

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Forever Young' by Steven Carroll

Kerryn Goldsworthy
Most Australians, if asked to name a date they associate with the name Gough Whitlam, would say ‘11 November 1975’. Steven Carroll subverts this expectation at the outset ... More

Patrick Allington reviews 'That Deadman Dance' by Kim Scott

Patrick Allington

Kim Scott noted in 2001 that the biographical notes accompanying his first two novels (True Country, 1993, and Benang: From the Heart, 1999) changed from ‘Kim Scott ... of Aboriginal and British ancestry’ to ‘Kim Scott ... one among those who call themselves Noongar’. Scott probed his self-identification to make a more confronting point: ‘The ... More

Reading Australia: 'That Deadman Dance' by Kim Scott

Patrick Allington

The shortlist for the 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award, which included Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance, was controversial because it consisted of only three novels, all written by men. The exclusion of women writers for that year itself was noteworthy: for example, Fiona McGregor’s fine novel of Sydney, Indelible InkMore

Luke Johnson reviews 'Down to the River' by S.J. Finn

Luke Johnson

If it were up to Roy Ellis, the town-proud editor-in-chief of Dungower’s only newspaper, ‘paedophilia would be systematically bred out of humans’. That just about sums up the attitudes of his readers, who are disgusted to learn that there is a convicted child sex offender living among them in rural Victoria. Only when Ellis’s maverick reporter Joni Miller re ... More

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Wolf, Wolf' by Eben Venter

Crusader Hillis

Mattheüs (Mattie) Duiker is a thirty-something gay man with a chequered past and an addiction to porn. His Afrikaans father, Bennie, is a self-made man, a larger-than-life uber-masculine traditionalist who has forever cast a shadow over his family. Bennie is dying from terminal cancer, and Mattie is his primary carer. Mattie, desperate to make something of his life ... More

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Last Pulse' by Anson Cameron

Catriona Menzies-Pike

‘What’s your favourite way water can be?’, eight-year-old Em asks her father Merv. Em likes waterfalls, but Merv prefers floods. A flood, he explains to Em, ‘is a type of flat waterfall you can ride on. But it’s serious too. It knows where it’s going and it’s determined to get there.’

Mervyn Rossiter, the exasperating, endearing larrikin hero ... More

Ann-Marie Priest reviews 'Vanessa and Her Sister' by Priya Parmar and 'Adeline' by Norah Vincent

Ann-Marie Priest

Given the plethora of non-fiction books about Virginia Woolf and her circle, ranging from biographies to memoirs to coffee-table offerings of all kinds, it is tempting to wonder why we need novels as well. For intimacy and immediacy we have the Bloomsberries’ own accounts of themselves in the many voluminous editions of their letters and diaries, not to mention po ... More

Chris Flynn reviews 'Quicksand' by Steve Toltz

Chris Flynn
Penguin Australia’s recent fiction output has been remarkable... More
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