September 2015, issue no. 374

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

Carol Middleton reviews 'Nest'

Carol Middleton

Inga Simpson’s second novel is set in the lush subtropical hinterland of Australia’s east coast. Jen, a reclusive artist, goes back to where she grew up and where her father was a timber-cutter, to find peace among the birds and trees. But mysteries and disappearances trouble her idyllic life.

Like her artist protagonist, Simpson has acute powers of obse ... More

Dean Biron reviews 'Beams Falling'

Dean Biron

Beams Falling is a good example of its kind: a sweaty, grimy Sydney-based noir. I wish that were higher praise, but there is an endless procession of local crime fiction out there – much of which seems to emanate from Sydney – and the competition has not set the bar overly high.

... More

Rachel Robertson reviews 'Riding a Crocodile'

Rachel Robertson

There is a long tradition of physicians turned writers, including Chekhov, Keats, Conan Doyle, and Somerset Maugham. More recent doctor–novelists include Alexander McCall Smith, Michael Crichton, and Khaled Hosseini. In Australia, Peter Goldsworthy is probably our most prominent writer–physician, with John Murray and now Paul Komesaroff joining the tradition.

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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

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