June-July 2016, issue no. 381

Craig Billingham reviews 'Cloudless' by Christine Evans

Craig Billingham

Cloudless is the first verse novel from Christine Evans, a Australian playwright now resident in Washington, D.C., where she is a member of faculty at Georgetown University. Set in Perth in the 1980s, after 'the late seventies / when Bondy ruled the roost', but twenty years prior to the mining boom, Cloudless relates the story of eight characters w ... More

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Hands' by Stephen Orr

Josephine Taylor

The Wilkie family has farmed cattle at the edge of the desert for 130 years. When catastrophe strikes, three generations of men must wrestle with secrets from the past and the present. The decision whether or not to continue on a failing station becomes critical; definitive action no less testing.

The subtitle juxtaposes elegy and irony: though some characte ... More

Jenni Kauppi reviews 'The Sleepers Almanac X' edited by Zoe Dattner and Louise Swinn

Jenni Kauppi

In more than ten years on the scene, Sleepers has positioned itself as both champion of the small press sector – the natural home of the short story – and a canny player in the broader publishing landscape; its Almanac has been a reliable litmus test for the direction of new Australian writing.

In this instalment, several absurdist and satirical works are stacked into the c ... More

Chris Flynn reviews 'Abacus' by Louis Armand

Chris Flynn

Abacus is Prague-based Australian author and poet Louis Armand's seventh novel, his fifth in as many years. Such a prolific work rate is admirable, but in telling a story which covers the entirety of the twentieth century, as seen through the eyes of ten disparate ... More

Barnaby Smith reviews 'List of the Lost' by Morrissey

Barnaby Smith

Like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Morrissey is among the relatively few figures in popular music deemed worthy of serious academic attention. Scholarly theses on Morrissey are common, dissecting the poetic cadence and social relevance of his remarkable song lyrics, from The Smiths' self-titled début album of 1984 to more recent solo albums. It is not surprising, th ... More

Claudia Hyles reviews 'Flood of Fire' by Amitav Ghosh

Claudia Hyles

Amitav Ghosh has spent more than ten years writing the Ibis trilogy, his fictional account of the turbulent years leading to the First Opium War of 1839–42. Flood of Fire follows Sea of Poppies (2008) and River of Smoke (2011). It is unnecessary to have read the earlier books, though reuniting with some of the characters is enjo ... More

Georgia Blain reviews 'Six Bedrooms' by Tegan Bennett Daylight

Georgia Blain

The best short stories are like a glimpse into a room as you rush past in a train – the messy kitchen table, an empty handbag, the perfectly made bed – a snapshot with enough detail to suggest so much more.

In Six Bedrooms, Tegan Bennett Daylight takes us into the world of growing up, of desire and shame, and of repeatedly making mistakes. She k ... More

Luke Horton reviews 'Ghost River' by Tony Birch

Dilan Gunawardana

With Ghost River, Tony Birch returns to a world he has delineated over many short stories and in his first novel, the Miles Franklin-shortlisted Blood (2011): the world of adolescents living on the margins. Invariably in trouble and in unstable family envi ... More

Bernadette Brennan reviews 'A Few Days in the Country and Other Stories' by Elizabeth Harrower

Bernadette Brennan

It is gratifying to witness the renewal of interest in Elizabeth Harrower's fiction. Last year, ...

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Susan Sheridan reviews 'The Women's Pages' by Debra Adelaide

Susan Sheridan

In this beautifully crafted novel, two parallel stories merge. Chapters alternate between Ellis, a young woman living in Sydney in the 1960s, and Dove, a thirty-eight-year-old woman in the present day. As the novel begins, Ellis is contemplating leaving her husband and taking her baby son with her; Dove is mourning the death of her adoptive mother – and writing a ... More

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