November 2017, issue no. 396

Phoebe Weston-Evans reviews 'So You Don’t Get Lost in the Neighbourhood' by Patrick Modiano, translated by Euan Cameron

Phoebe Weston-Evans
24 August 2017

Patrick Modiano’s most recent novel, published just before he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014, is his twenty-sixth to date, though one of a great number to arrive almost all at once in the English-speaking world. In the post-Nobel flurry to translate Modiano into English, the past two years have marked a shift in the author’s status from practically unknown ... More

Fiona Wright reviews 'Common People' by Tony Birch

Fiona Wright
24 August 2017

The characters who populate Tony Birch’s Common People are striking not so much because they are the ordinary people, the commonplace or everyday people that the title would suggest – they are, mostly, people living in or with extremity and trauma – but because the thing that unites them in these stories are discoveries of small moments of common huma ... More

James Ley reviews 'The Choke' by Sofie Laguna

James Ley
24 August 2017

The Choke is full of holes. I mean that literally, which is also to say (since we are talking about a novel) symbolically. It contains any number of insinuating references to wounds, ditches, gaps, and voids. The primary implication of these can be grasped if one recalls that ‘nothing’ was Elizabethan slang for female genitalia. Sofie Laguna’s narrato ... More

Jolley Prize 2017 (Winner): 'Pheidippides' by Eliza Robertson

Eliza Robertson
26 July 2017

At the first interview, I sat in a plastic canteen chair while Berkeley lay under a towel and a woman with spiked hair dug into the cords of his thigh. He rested his chin on his forearms s More

Jolley Prize 2017 (Shortlisted): 'Butter' by Lauren Aimee Curtis

Lauren Aimee Curtis
25 July 2017

We met him in a park down by the derelict part of the harbour. It was just an oblong of yellow grass and some lopsided play equipment. We used to go there at night and drink cheap, fizzy w More

Shannon Burns reviews 'The Lost Pages' by Marija Peričić

Shannon Burns
25 July 2017

Alan Bennett once wrote of Franz Kafka: ‘One is nervous about presuming even to write his name, wanting to beg pardon for doing so, if only because Kafka was so reluctant to write his na More

Miriam Cosic reviews 'On the Java Ridge' by Jock Serong

Miriam Cosic
25 July 2017

A rich vein of political writing runs through Australian fiction. From the early days of socialist realism, through the anti-colonialism of both black and white writers, to tough explorati More

Tony Hughes-d’Aeth reviews 'Taboo' by Kim Scott

Tony Hughes-d'Aeth
25 July 2017

When a new novel from Kim Scott appears, one feels compelled to talk not only about it as a work of fiction by a leading Australian writer, but also about its cultural significance. In thi More

Robert Dessaix reviews 'House of Names' by Colm Tóibín

Robert Dessaix
25 July 2017

House of Names is a grim book, as any retelling of Aeschylus’s Oresteia is bound to be. It is a tale to harrow up your soul, to make your two eyes start from their sphe More

Jolley Prize 2017 (Shortlisted): 'The Leaching Layer' by Dominic Amerena

Dominic Amerena
25 July 2017

My neighbour has been digging a hole in his backyard for the past few days. The hole is quite large now, big enough to fit, say, a single bed, or – it’s hard not to draw the connection More

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