January–February 2018, issue no. 398

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

David Latham reviews 'The Circle and the Equator' by Kyra Giorgi

David Latham
23 July 2017

The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ L.P. Hartley’s now proverbial observation at the start of The Go-Between (1953) functions as a statement of f More

Piri Eddy reviews 'Closing Down' by Sally Abbott

Piri Eddy
30 May 2017

Closing Down is about survival and the rituals that allow it; those that keep the fraying edges of life and society together, that stop a relationship disintegrating, that stave off insanity. In her début novel – which won the inaugural Richell Prize for Emerging Writers – Susan Abbott asks: how do you survive when your world is breaking into pieces?More

Tali Lavi reviews 'As the Lonely Fly' by Sara Dowse

Tali Lavi
29 May 2017

Sara Dowse is a fine observer of politics and power. Her new novel, As the Lonely Fly, traverses three continents over fifty years and contains a multitude of characters, but its focus is honed in on three sisters, of sorts. While Chekhov’s play of that name is typified by waiting, Dowse’s story is of continuous flux and upheaval. Clara-later-Chava, Man ... More

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Gravity Well' by Melanie Joosten

Naama Grey-Smith
29 May 2017

Gravity Well opens with Carl Sagan’s famous ‘mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam’ quote, suggesting themes of astronomy, loneliness, and humanity’s cosmic insignificance. Though I was immediately smitten with the cover design (a nebula-coloured orb, its top and bottom halves depicting mirrored but not identical female silhouettes amid a sea of cosmi ... More

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