August 2015, issue no. 373

Tony Birch reviews Chris Flynn

Tony Birch
The Glass Kingdom offers readers a wild ride through a world of misfits, meth, and the shadowy recesses of society. More

Elisabeth Murray's 'The Loud Earth'

Benjamin Chandler

The unnamed narrator of The Loud Earth lives the hermit life of the shunned. Her parents were murdered. She was acquitted of the crime, but small-town mentality condemns her nonetheless. She retires to a cabin in the mountains overlooking the town’s lake, and seems content to remain there until Hannah arrives at her door. Hannah, not of the town and thus no ... More

Carmel Macdonald Grahame's 'Personal Effects'

Gillian Dooley

A woman, married but alone, stands at a window in a high-rise apartment in Calgary watching the snow fall. Later she might unpack a carton, go out to eat, go to bed. That is about all that happens in the present time in Grahame’s Personal Effects. The rest is memory. This woman, Lilith, from a coastal town in Western Australia, ruminates on a life story fil ... More

Robert Hillman's 'Joyful'

Kári Gíslason

While it may not be a novel’s main purpose, certainly one of its pleasures can lie in how it witnesses the history of the form itself. All novels reveal something of the genealogy from which they emerge, their debt to past traditions and ways of storytelling. Rather as is the case with families, sometimes the further back you go the more striking the resemblance b ... More

Louis Armand's 'Cairo'

Sky Kirkham

Science fiction, for all its association with wild technology and alien cultures, has always concerned itself with the state of the world as it is now, using future possibilities as a lens through which to examine current issues. Louis Armand is clearly fascinated by the way our world is shaped and the way we shape our place within it; in addition to his previous no ... More

Ceridwen Dovey's 'Only the Animals'

Sam Cadman

One of the animal narrators in Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals, a dolphin named Sprout who is writing to Sylvia Plath, quotes Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti: ‘whenever you observe an animal closely, you feel as if a human being sitting inside were making fun of you.’ The ten animal souls whose thematically interwoven stories Dovey recounts do not si ... More

Emilo Bitto's 'The Strays'

James Tierney

Lily, the cautious girl at the heart of Emily Bitto’s début novel, The Strays, is befriended on the first day of school by Eva, the daughter of artists Evan and Helena Trentham. Lily’s deep connection with her ‘leg sister’ (so called because their limbs often become entangled in sleep) places her on the periphery of a colony of unconventional artists ... More

Felix Calvino's 'Alfonso'

Patrick Holland

Félix Calvino’s short novel tells the story of a young man who moves to Australia to escape Franco’s Spain. The strange thing about the book (given that its author has spent so long in Australia) is how unlike contemporary Australian literature it is. David Malouf has championed Calvino, but then there has always been something essentially Mediterranean ... More

Siri Hustvedt's 'The Blazing World'

Doug Wallen

A quote from Oscar Wilde in Siri Hustvedt’s The Blazing World crystallises the novel’s central study of adopted guises: ‘Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.’ The book’s protagonist, underappreciated New York artist Harriet Burden, dons a trio of masks when she puts forward her art as ... More

Elizabeth Harrower's final novel

Bernadette Brennan

Almost 50 years after she wrote it (and withdrew it from publication), Elizabeth Harrower’s last novel, ‘In Certain Circles’, is finally published.

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