May 2015, issue no. 371

Amy Baillieu reviews 'Letter to George Clooney'

Amy Baillieu

There are some writers whose style is so distinctive they can be identified from a single paragraph. Sydney writer Debra Adelaide is more of a chameleon. Letter to George Clooney is Adelaide’s first short story collection. She has previously written three novels and edited several anthologies. Her first novel, The Hotel Albatross (1995), is the meand ... More

Rachel Robertson reviews 'The Great Unknown'

Rachel Robertson

This collection of strange and spooky stories was perfect reading for that lazy week between Christmas and New Year, providing a dark antidote to the forced cheeriness of the season. The book was inspired partly by The Twilight Zone and similar television shows. Contributors to the anthology were invited to write about the fantastical, uncanny, absurd, or, as ... More

Milly Main reviews 'The Lost Girls'

Milly Main

Wendy James has been quite prolific since her first book, the historical crime novel Out of the Silence, was published in 2006; she has released a new book every couple of years. Out of the Silence received some accolades, but, excepting the broadly positive critical response to her fiction, James has flown under the radar since then. In her most recen ... More

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'One Boy Missing'

David Whish-Wilson

Stephen Orr’s previous novel, Time’s Long Ruin (2010), which was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and long-listed for the Miles Franklin, explored the repercussions within a quiet Adelaide community of the disappearance of three of its most vulnerable members, closely related to the disappearance and presumed murder of the Beaumont child ... More

Alice Bishop reviews 'White Light'

Alice Bishop

White Light pieces together fragments of a colourful Australian suburbia: a bat-featured baby born to secretive neighbours; a young girl tipping over a bulldozer while playing on dormant construction equipment; and gold bullion appearing outside a rundown rooming house. The characters, like the book’s kaleidoscopic cover, are splintered. ... More

Alex Cothren reviews 'An Elegant Young Man'

Alex Cothren

Late in his first collection of anecdotal short stories, Luke Carman’s narrator, also named Luke Carman, realises that the magic in a book he loves, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, cannot be replicated in his own life. He is stuck in Australia, and ‘Australia is not the place for ecstatic truth.’ Stuck, to be precise, in Sydney’s western suburbs, ... More

Ray Cassin reviews 'Infamy'

Ray Cassin

Infamy comes packaged with a blurb declaring it to be an Australian western, and a testimonial from Malcolm Knox, who compares this evocation of the hellish convict colony of Van Diemen’s Land in the 1830s with the imaginative achievements of Martin Scorsese. Neither claim is quite right. Bartulin’s narrative style does have affinities ... More

Michael McGirr reviews 'The Colonials'

Michael McGirr

Brian Fitzpatrick – a notable historian, intellectual, and civil libertarian – was a prominent Melbourne figure in the middle of the twentieth century. He died in 1965 and survives partly as the central figure in Sheila Fitzpatrick’s poignant memoir My Father’s Daughter (2010), an affectionate and yet painfully honest book. It describes Fitzpatr ... More

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Down in the City'

Susan Sheridan

Elizabeth Harrower’s début novel was first published by Cassell in London in 1957. Down in the City begins with a hymn to Sydney, with its beaches, harbour suburbs, city arcades – and disreputable Kings Cross, ‘a haven for the foreigner and racketeer; a beacon for long-haired boys, mascaraed women and powdered men. It is Montmartre: it is bright ... More

Kathryn Koromilas reviews 'The Antibiography of Robert F. Menzies'

Kathryn Koromilas

‘Above the line’, a narrator begins a story. At a specific moment in time, a specific fictional character appears and something is about to happen. ‘Below the line’, another narrator begins a different story, a story in notes, footnotes, ‘citational backup’ for the story ‘above’. You have begun reading Bernard Cohen’s new novel: a work in sto ... More

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