April 2015, issue no. 370

Naama Amram reviews 'Deeper Water' by Jessie Cole

Naama Amram

Deeper Water delivers on its title’s promise of immersion, sensuality, and the liminal. Narrated by Mema, an innocent twenty-two-year-old living on an isolated rural property, the book opens with the arrival of Hamish, a city sophisticate whose car has been washed down a flooding creek. Mema saves Hamish from drowning and takes him into her family home unti ... More

Doug Wallen reviews 'Slush-Pile' by Ian Shadwell

Doug Wallen

Billed as ‘a satire of literary ambition’, Ian Shadwell’s début novel chronicles the misadventures of Michael Ardenne, an Australian author who has been riding the coat-tails of his Booker Prize-winning first book for more than a decade. Content for years to drain every last drop of goodwill from the book industry, not to mention his long-suffering wife, he h ... More

Mark Byron reviews 'Echo's Bones' by Samuel Beckett

Mark Byron

It is a theatrical truism that Samuel Beckett remains good box office: the Sydney Theatre Company recently announced its intention to take the 2013 production of Waiting for Godot to the Barbican in 2015, with the original cast. Another truism – adapted from a remark once made by Edward Albee – is that at any moment a Beckett production occurs somewhere i ... More

David Whish-Wilson reviews 'To Name Those Lost' by Rohan Wilson

David Whish-Wilson

Rohan Wilson’s To Name Those Lost is a ferocious and brilliant sequel to his The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award-winning début, The Roving Party (2011), which charted the murderous exploits of John Batman and his crew of cutthroats sent out on a punitive ... More

Shannon Burns reviews 'Three Stories' by J.M. Coetzee

Shannon Burns

Each fiction in this small but handsome volume emerges from an interesting, perhaps even ‘transitional’ phase in J.M. Coetzee’s writing life: between the publication of Disgrace (1999) and Slow Man (2005); before and after receiving the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. The first story in the collection also predates Coetzee’s move to Adelaid ... More

Ruth Starke reviews 'South of Darkness' by John Marsden

Ruth Starke

It is sobering to think that the thousands of teenagers who in 1987 eagerly devoured John Marsden’s first novel, So Much To Tell You, and sent it and the author spinning into bestsellerdom are now in their forties – and as such, the target readership for his first adult novel, South of Darkness, a transportation saga that covers some familiar groun ... More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Australian Love Stories', edited by Cate Kennedy

Francesca Sasnaitis

You are perfect for this story. I will never meet you.’ We are invited into Australian Love Stories and into Bruce Pascoe’s erotic reverie with this line from ‘Dawn’. The reader is embraced, as the luxuriating eye of Pascoe’s narrator embraces the recumbent body of the woman beside him. His gaze is illicit, touch forbidden. We are privileged voyeurs ... More

Morag Fraser reviews 'Stone Mattress' by Margaret Atwood

Morag Fraser

One swallow doesn’t make a summer, as the stark proverb cautions, but a cockatoo flocking of short stories suggests that the form is perhaps enjoying a revival – and the publishing industry has seized an opportunity. As it should.

In 2013, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for literature, lauded as ‘the master of the contemporary short story’. Edna O ... More

Helen Garner's return to fiction

Peter Rose

The Spare Room marks Helen Garner’s return to fiction after a long interval. Since Cosmo Cosmolino (1992), she has concentrated on non-fiction and journalism: newspaper columns and feature articles. She has speculated in public about her distance from fiction, while giving us The First Stone (1995) – an account of an incident at a Melbourn ... More

Paul Carter reviews 'Game Day'

Paul Carter

Miriam Sved’s début novel is a structurally innovative portrait of élite Australian football as a juggernaut that leaves lives scrambling and spent in its wake. Its fourteen stories, each told from a different narrative perspective, form a prismatic study of a single season in the lives of Mick Reece and Jake Dooley, two first-year recruit ... More

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