June-July 2015, issue no. 372

Amy Baillieu reviews 'Clade' by James Bradley

Amy Baillieu

Set in an unsettlingly convincing near future, James Bradley’s fourth novel, Clade, opens with climate scientist Adam Leith walking along an Antarctic coastline reflecting on the state of the world and on his relationship with his partner, Ellie. After six years together, their relationship is under pressure as Ellie undergoes fertility treatment. Adam is a ... More

Morag Fraser reviews 'Can't and Won't' by Lydia Davis

Morag Fraser

Reading Lydia Davis’s stories is akin to getting new glasses – or glasses for the first time. Suddenly the world shifts into sharp, bright focus. Disturbing. Disorienting. What you see, or understand, won’t necessarily gladden your heart. It may pique it, but you may not want to be brought so close to life, to the poignancy of it all. Not at first, anyway.

... More

'A Short History of Richard Kline' by Amanda Lohrey

Felicity Plunkett

A prefatory note to this striking novel tells us that it is Richard Kline’s memoir of ‘a strange event that intervened in my life at the age of forty-two’. The following ‘short history’ interleaves sections of first- and third-person narration, shuffling the pieces of a reflective Bildungsroman that charts Richard’s ... More

Kate Grenville

Amy Baillieu

Kate Grenville (1950–) is an award-winning Australia author of fiction, memoir and non-fiction, Kate’s first publication was the short story collection Bearded Ladies (1984). She has gone on to publish a total of thirteen books in the last thirty years including her most recen ... More

Kim Scott

Amy Baillieu

Professor Kim Scott (1957-) is an award-winning indigenous author. His books include True Country (1993), Benang (1999), Kayang and Me (with Hazel Brown, 2005), and That Deadman Dance (2010). He has won the Miles Franklin Literary Award twice (for Benang and That Deadman Dance) and has also been awarded th ... More

Ronnie Scott reviews 'Crow Mellow' by Julian Davies

Ronnie Scott

Crow Mellow, the sixth novel by Julian Davies, centres on a bush retreat where a millionaire couple gathers artists to share around ideas. From an optimistic standpoint, the retreat is a salon. Viewed differently, all parties are engaged in a status grab: artists ‘came from the cities of the east coast to score … the kudos of being there when their collea ... More

Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Breaking Beauty' edited by Lynette Washington

Cassandra Atherton

The authors of the stories in Breaking Beauty are graduates of the University of Adelaide, which Brian Castro (a professor there) reminds us in his introduction is ‘the first and best creative writing college in the country’. However, as an advertisement for creative writing at Adelaide University, this collection has limited success. While the contributo ... More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Springtime' by Michelle de Kretser

Francesca Sasnaitis

Anyone who has lived in Sydney’s inner west will recognise the terrain of Springtime: gardens redolent of mystery and decay, shabbiness, unexpected vistas, and streets that Michelle de Kretser describes as running ‘everywhere like something spilled’.

Frances has moved to Sydney with Charlie, who has left his wife and son Luke behind in Melbourne ... More

Christian Griffiths reviews 'Perfidia' by James Ellroy

Christian Griffiths

There is a quality in James Ellroy’s fiction that evades analysis and exceeds his popular status as a successful author in the ‘crime genre’. This quality is in part connected to his demanding narratives, which inevitably leave one with the nagging feeling that there is a great deal one has failed to understand, and which prompt (often multiple) re-readings of ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'To Love a Sunburnt Country' by Jackie French

Gillian Dooley

Jackie French, according to the press release for her new adult novel To Love a Sunburnt Country, has written over 140 books in a twenty-five-year career. Many are for children and teenagers. I have only read one other, A Waltz for Matilda (2012), the first in ‘the Matilda Saga’ for teens; but these two books share at least one character and severa ... More

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