March 2015, issue no. 369

Milly Main reviews 'The Shadow Year'

Milly Main

Shadows, shallows, tides, secrets, aching hearts, and tragedy. ‘The love and the grief and the joy and the pain and all the emotion’ – oh the emotion – in Hannah Richell’s new novel, centred around a secluded lake, can leave one feeling thoroughly water-logged. Richell’s close follow-up to Secrets of the Tides (2012) uses similar techniques ... More

Simon Collinson reviews 'Getting Warmer'

Simon Collinson

Fremantle is rapidly becoming a preferred setting for novelists seeking to explore the hidden costs of the mining boom. Within weeks of the publication of Tim Winton’s Eyrie, which is haunted by the crime and gritty emptiness of the city’s rough side, we now have Getting Warmer, Alan Carter’s second novel and the sequel to Prime Cut ... More

Ray Cassin reviews 'Bitter Wash Road'

Ray Cassin

Garry Disher’s World War II novel Past the Headlands (2001) was inspired in part by his discovery of the diary of an army surgeon in Sumatra, who wrote of how his best friend was trying to arrange passage on a ship or plane that could take them back to Australia before the advancing Japanese army arrived. But one morning the surgeon woke to find that ... More

Maria Takolander reviews John Kinsella's 'Tide'

Maria Takolander

Imagine a cross between Tim Winton’s The Turning and Kenneth Cook’s Wake in Fright, and you might very well imagine John Kinsella’s latest collection of fiction, Tide. Kinsella, a Western Australian like Winton, writes of the coast and of the desert, of small-town life and small-town people. However, Kinsella highlights the corruptio ... More

Robert Dessaix on 'The Testament of Mary'

Robert Dessaix

What a scandal! The Blessed Virgin sprawled on a bed in the half-dark, dead as a doornail, belly swollen, bare legs sticking out for all the world to see. What could Caravaggio have been thinking of?

... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Night Guest'

Gillian Dooley

The depredations of time on the ageing human is an unusual topic for a young writer to confront, especially in a first novel, but why not, if the negative capability is not wanting? After all, it’s common enough for an older writer to inhabit young characters. The difference is, of course, that a young writer hasn’t yet been old. In Fiona McFarlane’s fir ... More

Books of the Year 2013

Robert Adamson et al.

Books of the Year is always one our most popular features of the year. Find out what 30 senior contributors liked most this year – and why.


Kate Hayford reviews 'The Wild Girl'

Kate Hayford

In the German kingdom of Hessen-Cassel, twelve-year-old Dortchen Wild falls in love with her scholarly neighbour Wilhelm Grimm amid the turbulent lead-up to the Napoleonic Wars. When Wilhelm and his brother Jakob undertake the task of collecting folk and fairy tales to preserve their national heritage, Dortchen becomes a willing source and participant, telling ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'Floodline'

Carol Middleton

Floodline is the fifth novel by Kathryn Heyman, course director at Allen & Unwin’s Faber Academy. Set in an unspecified area of the United States, it follows a proselytising family, which is on a mission to save the godless inhabitants of Horneville on the eve of their annual gay mardi gras, Hornefest, when the city is devastated by floods.

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Rory Kennett-Lister reviews 'Privacy'

Rory Kennett-Lister

Privacy is an elusive concept. As Jonathan Franzen notes in his essay ‘Imperial Bedroom’ (2002), it is defined by negativity – freedom from interference, from disturbance, from observation – but resists any positive explanation. Privacy, Genna de Bont’s second novel, explores this slippery idea and uses privacy’s nebulou ... More

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