November 2015, issue no. 376

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Golden Age'

Kerryn Goldsworthy

When the polio epidemics at the hinge of the twentieth century were catching hundreds of Australian children and adults in their web of pathogens, a pub in suburban Perth called ‘The Golden Age’ was converted – with its name unchanged – into a convalescent home for children who were recovering from polio but still unready to go back into the world. Joan Lond ... More

Delia Falconer reviews 'The Snow Kimono'

Delia Falconer

When Mark Henshaw’s début, Out of the Line of Fire, appeared in 1988, it was, as literary editor Stephen Romei states in his introduction to the recent Text Classics reissue, the ‘literary sensation of the year’. A novel about an Australian author’s difficulties in writing about his fugitive subject, the young German philosopher Wolfi, it was very mu ... More

Doug Wallen reviews 'Wild Things'

Doug Wallen

‘The boys are behaving badly’ is the coy tagline for journalist Brigid Delaney’s début novel, about an élite Australian university’s cricket team subjecting a Malaysian exchange student to a grisly hazing ritual that goes too far. Such understatement isn’t indicative of the book itself, which follows a group of thinly drawn characters through pained, oft ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Return'

Carol Middleton

Silvia Kwon’s début novel explores the legacy of war on an Australian family, seen mainly through the eyes of the wife of a returned soldier. The prologue comprises a vivid and disturbing flashback to Burma in 1944, where Merna’s husband Frank spent time ‘on the line’.

Although narrated in the third person, this is Merna’s story, told from the poi ... More

Rose Lucas reviews 'Claustrophobia'

Rose Lucas

The prolific Tracy Ryan’s new novel, Claustrophobia, is a smart and fast-paced hurtle through lust, obsession, and stultifying patterns of dependency and self-delusion. Written in a low-key, ironic style, Ryan borrows from tropes of crime fiction, in particular the novels of Patricia Highsmith, as well as the double-crossing figure of the femme fatale, < ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews 'The Yellow Papers'

Alison Broinowski

The three parts of Dominique Wilson’s story are linked together by racial prejudice, of Australians towards Asians, and of Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese towards Westerners. She picks up this well-worn thread in pre-Federation Australia and weaves it in and out of the narrative, tying it off when China is in the throes of the Cultural Revolution. During the twenti ... More

Melinda Harvey reviews the short story collection 'Bark'

Melinda Harvey

In Bark’s second story, ‘The Juniper Tree’, an unnamed narrator sings ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with calculated slowness to alter ‘not just the attitude of the song but the actual punctuation, turning it into a protest and question’. Lorrie Moore’s writing career to date strikes a similar counterbalance between form and content: irrepressible ... More

Jane Sullivan reviews 'The Wonders'

Jane Sullivan

A while ago, I was walking through Melbourne Central station when I was buffeted on all sides. Muscular minders were pushing back a crowd of jostling fans from a red carpet. Everyone was holding iPhones above their heads. They had come to see two Hollywood stars. But Hollywood is different these days. One star was playing a mutant who could grow adamantium claws fro ... More

Gerald Murnane's new novel

Shannon Burns
Gerald Murnane – one of our most original voices – has published a new novel about the narrator and ‘dark-haired females’. Shannon Burns describes it in his review as ‘a triumph of creative configuration’. More

Sophia Barnes reviews Janet Frame's new collection of short stories

Sophia Barnes

Over half the stories collected in Between My Father and the King have not been published before – whether through reluctance, initial rejection, or restraint – and are only now, with this posthumous publication, reaching an audience. Others have appeared everywhere from the New Zealand School Journal to The New Yorker, from the mid-19 ... More

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