April 2015, issue no. 370

J. P. McKinney's Great War Novel

Rodney Hall

Everybody knows by now that the eBook may soon become as significant to literature as recording is to music. The copyright problems are evident, but on the positive side the tired old market-driven canon is being given a rude shake-up.

Quality speaks for itself. Recent welcome revivals include editions of David Ireland’s The Unknown Industrial Prisoner< ... More

Don Anderson on John A. Scott's new novel

Don Anderson
Don Anderson on John A. Scott's new novel More

Janette Turner Hospital's new novel

Brian Matthews

‘You acquired the habit of disguise and now you can’t shed it.’ This observation, made by a nameless old man to Lilith Goldberg, one of the three main protagonists of The Claimant, lies at the heart of the novel, though it shares that vibrantly beating heart with much else: the implications and intricacies of privilege; the iron grip of lineage; the com ... More

Tony Birch reviews Chris Flynn

Tony Birch
The Glass Kingdom offers readers a wild ride through a world of misfits, meth, and the shadowy recesses of society. More

Elisabeth Murray's 'The Loud Earth'

Benjamin Chandler

The unnamed narrator of The Loud Earth lives the hermit life of the shunned. Her parents were murdered. She was acquitted of the crime, but small-town mentality condemns her nonetheless. She retires to a cabin in the mountains overlooking the town’s lake, and seems content to remain there until Hannah arrives at her door. Hannah, not of the town and thus no ... More

Carmel Macdonald Grahame's 'Personal Effects'

Gillian Dooley

A woman, married but alone, stands at a window in a high-rise apartment in Calgary watching the snow fall. Later she might unpack a carton, go out to eat, go to bed. That is about all that happens in the present time in Grahame’s Personal Effects. The rest is memory. This woman, Lilith, from a coastal town in Western Australia, ruminates on a life story fil ... More

Robert Hillman's 'Joyful'

Kári Gíslason

While it may not be a novel’s main purpose, certainly one of its pleasures can lie in how it witnesses the history of the form itself. All novels reveal something of the genealogy from which they emerge, their debt to past traditions and ways of storytelling. Rather as is the case with families, sometimes the further back you go the more striking the resemblance b ... More

Louis Armand's 'Cairo'

Sky Kirkham

Science fiction, for all its association with wild technology and alien cultures, has always concerned itself with the state of the world as it is now, using future possibilities as a lens through which to examine current issues. Louis Armand is clearly fascinated by the way our world is shaped and the way we shape our place within it; in addition to his previous no ... More

Ceridwen Dovey's 'Only the Animals'

Sam Cadman

One of the animal narrators in Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals, a dolphin named Sprout who is writing to Sylvia Plath, quotes Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti: ‘whenever you observe an animal closely, you feel as if a human being sitting inside were making fun of you.’ The ten animal souls whose thematically interwoven stories Dovey recounts do not si ... More

Emilo Bitto's 'The Strays'

James Tierney

Lily, the cautious girl at the heart of Emily Bitto’s début novel, The Strays, is befriended on the first day of school by Eva, the daughter of artists Evan and Helena Trentham. Lily’s deep connection with her ‘leg sister’ (so called because their limbs often become entangled in sleep) places her on the periphery of a colony of unconventional artists ... More

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