June-July 2016, issue no. 381

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Last Painting of Sara de Vos' by Dominic Smith

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Australian-born Dominic Smith grew up in Sydney but has spent most of his adult life in the United States; he currently lives in Austin, Texas, where he is claimed as a 'Texan writer'. Despite the fact that this is his fourth novel, the fact that his previous novel was shortlisted for two major Australian literary prizes, and the fact that he is clearly a major tale ... More

James Ley reviews 'Zero K' by Don DeLillo

James Ley

Among Don DeLillo's sixteen previous novels, White Noise (1985) is commonly held up as the apotheosis of his satirical vision, while his postwar epic Underworld (1997) tends to be lauded as his grand statement, his unofficial entry (they're all unofficial) in the never-ending competition to write the Great American Novel.

For me, the essent ... More

Kate Holden reviews 'A Loving, Faithful Animal' by Josephine Rowe

Kate Holden

'That was the summer ...' begins Josephine Rowe's début novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal, and with this classic overture she evokes that most common of literary tropes, the summer in adolescence that changes everything. But this is the summer, she continues, when a sperm whale washes up dead at Mount Martha, and all the best cartoons go off the air, replac ... More

Andy Lloyd James reviews 'The Noise of Time' by Julian Barnes

Andy Lloyd James

While reading Julian Barnes's latest novel, I recalled the day forty years ago when Philippe Petit spent an hour on a cable slung between the tops of the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre. The image of that minuscule figure dancing back and forth between those massive buildings was a perfect metaphor for the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–7 ... More

Alex Cothren reviews 'We Ate The Road Like Vultures' by Lynette Lounsbury

Alex Cothren

Jack Kerouac spent his elderly years sequestered in a crumbling Mexican hacienda that 'smelt like beer and farts'; his amphetamines replaced with antacids, his octogenarian skin 'the colour and texture of beef jerky'. Never mind that Kerouac actually drank himself to an early death in Florida, because somehow this alternate universe, the starting point of Lynnette L ... More

Colin Nettelbeck reviews 'After the Circus' by Patrick Modiano

Colin Nettelbeck

In early 1960s Paris, an eighteen-year-old who is keeping up his student enrolment to delay compulsory military service is questioned by the police because his name has been found in an address book. At the same time, a slightly older young woman is also being interrogated. The boy contrives to meet her afterwards in a café. Thus begins a story which is part romanc ... More

Jo Case reviews 'Between a Wolf and a Dog' by Georgia Blain

Jo Case

Between a Wolf and a Dog is Georgia Blain's eighth book: it follows five previous novels, an acclaimed short-story collection (The Secret Lives of Men, 2013) and Births, Deaths, Marriages (2008), a sublime memoir-in-essays. Blain has an affinity for domestic realism with a dark edge and an unstinting eye: she is fascinated by the faultline ... More

Luke Horton reviews 'Dodge Rose' by Jack Cox

Luke Horton

The circumstances around the publication of Dodge Rose, Jack Cox's début novel, have attracted considerable attention in Australian literary circles. A choice publicity tale as to how the novel was rescued from the slush pile by American publisher Dalkey Archive Press has contributed to this. So have claims advanced by Dalkey Archive that Dodge RoseMore

Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Midnight Watch' by David Dyer

Felicity Plunkett

Two headlines, a day apart, evoke the confusion surrounding the fate of the Titanic in April 1912. New York's Evening Sun reported, 'ALL SAVED FROM TITANIC AFTER COLLISION'. Twenty-four hours later, The Boston Daily Globe added: 'TITANIC SINKS, 1500 DIE.' From there, the sinking of the 'unsinkable' Titanic has been the subject of ... More

Marie O'Rourke reviews 'That Devil's Madness' by Dominique Wilson

Marie O'Rourke

Is it possible to 'just pack up and go, and all your problems will stay behind?' Nicolette is hoping that's the case when we meet her literally on the road to a new life, troubled partner and toddler in tow. Louis, her grandfather, may well have asked the same; his earlier experiences of geographic and personal change form the alternate strand of the dual narrative ... More

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