January-February 2015, issue no. 368

Luke Horton reviews 'Boyhood Island'

Luke Horton

In Boyhood Island, the third volume in Karl Ove Knausgaard’s internationally acclaimed My Struggle cycle, we are taken back to where the series began: an island in southern Norway, seven-year-old Karl Ove and his older brother Yngve live under the tyranny of a cruel and taciturn father in the mid-1970s. Unlike the first volume, A Death in the Fami ... More

Patrick Allington reviews Peter Carey's 'Amnesia'

Patrick Allington

Peter Carey’s new novel, Amnesia, is an odd-shaped – but not misshaped – tale about power and, more particularly, resistance to power. When the veteran leftist journalist Felix Moore writes the story of Gaby Baillieux, a young Australian cyber-activist, he finds himself, like Gaby, a fugitive. As if by magic, Gaby has unlocked Australian and US prison d ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews Haruki Murakami's new novel

Alison Broinowski

Alison Broinowski reflects on Haruki Murakami’s writing style and reviews his latest novel.

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Gretchen Shirm reviews 'Arms Race'

Gretchen Shirm

Characters on the verge of a breakthrough populate this impressive début short story collection. An aspiring artist in ‘Making It’ is unsure whether a tilt at greatness is worth the personal sacrifice. In ‘Scar’, a middle-aged geologist feels conflicted by prospective fatherhood and observes, ‘Against that slow patience of stone the need to reproduce had ... More

Laurie Steed reviews 'After Darkness'

Laurie Steed

Australia’s history is chequered at best. For every story of military heroism, there is one of discomfiting prejudice. So it is with Christine Piper’s After Darkness, which explores Australian history from the point of view of a Japanese doctor, Tomakazu Ibaraki, arrested as a national threat while in Broome, and sent to the Loveday internment camps in re ... More

Sophie Shanahan reviews 'Sweet One'

Sophie Shanahan

Peter Docker knits us into a ‘pea-soup fog’ of Western Australian heat, blanketing us, until we feel it ‘seeping right into the bones’. In the familiar-sounding Baalboorlie, the sun beats down,scorching the airless metal cell of a prisoner transportation vehicle. It cooks the Old Man’s flesh as he is escorted across a vast stretch of his desert country. Th ... More

Alec Patrić reviews 'Heat and Light'

Alec Patrić

A prestigious prize and na-tional exposure are fine achievements for a writer in her early twenties. Heat and Light is the first major publication by Ellen Van Neerven, winner of the 2013 David Unaipon Award. Given her age, it is less surprising that Heat and Light focuses on questions of identity.

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Alice Bishop reviews 'Lost & Found'

Alice Bishop

Certain catchwords – ‘quirky’, ‘heartwarming’, ‘uplifting’ – mark the media coverage surrounding the release of Western Australian Brooke Davis’s first novel, Lost & Found. Perhaps foreseeing this, Davis presents her twee characters in a slightly laboured, albeit fashionable, manner: the elderly Karl in colourful braces; the agoraphobic ... More

Ten authors on their favourite short story collections

In the spirit of our annual ‘Books of the Year’ feature, in which we ask a range of writers and critics to nominate their favourite new fiction and non-fiction titles, we asked ten Australian short story writers to nominate their favourite short story collections and individual stories. As this is the first time we have run a short-story themed feature of this n ... More

Jo Case on Sonya Hartnett's new novel

Jo Case

Sonya Hartnett writes for all ages, her work spanning children’s picture books to novels for young adults and adult readers. Her adult novels have been widely acclaimed; Of a Boy (2002) won the Age Book of the Year award and has been canonised as a Penguin Classic. In many ways, though, her pedigree as a much-awarded children’s writer has always character ... More

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