June-July 2015, issue no. 372

Rose Lucas reviews 'Claustrophobia'

Rose Lucas

The prolific Tracy Ryan’s new novel, Claustrophobia, is a smart and fast-paced hurtle through lust, obsession, and stultifying patterns of dependency and self-delusion. Written in a low-key, ironic style, Ryan borrows from tropes of crime fiction, in particular the novels of Patricia Highsmith, as well as the double-crossing figure of the femme fatale, < ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews 'The Yellow Papers'

Alison Broinowski

The three parts of Dominique Wilson’s story are linked together by racial prejudice, of Australians towards Asians, and of Chinese, Koreans, and Japanese towards Westerners. She picks up this well-worn thread in pre-Federation Australia and weaves it in and out of the narrative, tying it off when China is in the throes of the Cultural Revolution. During the twenti ... More

Melinda Harvey reviews the short story collection 'Bark'

Melinda Harvey

In Bark’s second story, ‘The Juniper Tree’, an unnamed narrator sings ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with calculated slowness to alter ‘not just the attitude of the song but the actual punctuation, turning it into a protest and question’. Lorrie Moore’s writing career to date strikes a similar counterbalance between form and content: irrepressible ... More

Jane Sullivan reviews 'The Wonders'

Jane Sullivan

A while ago, I was walking through Melbourne Central station when I was buffeted on all sides. Muscular minders were pushing back a crowd of jostling fans from a red carpet. Everyone was holding iPhones above their heads. They had come to see two Hollywood stars. But Hollywood is different these days. One star was playing a mutant who could grow adamantium claws fro ... More

Gerald Murnane's new novel

Shannon Burns
Gerald Murnane – one of our most original voices – has published a new novel about the narrator and ‘dark-haired females’. Shannon Burns describes it in his review as ‘a triumph of creative configuration’. More

Sophia Barnes reviews Janet Frame's new collection of short stories

Sophia Barnes

Over half the stories collected in Between My Father and the King have not been published before – whether through reluctance, initial rejection, or restraint – and are only now, with this posthumous publication, reaching an audience. Others have appeared everywhere from the New Zealand School Journal to The New Yorker, from the mid-19 ... More

Simon Collinson reviews 'How I became the Mr Big of People Smuggling'

Simon Collinson

How I Became the Mr Big of People Smuggling is sold as a crime novel, but this is a crude categorisation for an unusual book. Mr Big is more like a fictional memoir; the story of Nick Smart, a high-school graduate who signs up to work as a jackaroo at the remote Palmenter Station, but quickly discovers that it is a front for a people-smuggling outfit. ... More

Sonia Nair reviews 'Chasing Shadows'

Sonia Nair

A multi-generational saga straddling numerous countries and political régimes, Leila Yusaf Chung’s first novel, Chasing Shadows, largely alternates between middle child Ajamia’s viewpoint and her father Abu Fadi’s memories, thus giving an evocative portrait of Middle Eastern life in the late nineteenth century. Abu, a middle-aged Polish-Jewish m ... More

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