June-July 2016, issue no. 381
Rod Jones’s new novel, The Mothers, works on a number of levels. It provides a social and familial history of life in Melbourne’s working-class suburbs throughout the twentieth century while also telling the often moving stories of individuals connected across generations, usually mothers and children, battling to survive in adverse circumstances.
Since the publication of his début novel, Summerland (2000), Malcolm Knox has established himself as one of the most ambitious and exciting fiction writers at work in Australia. A seasoned journalist, recipient of two Walkley Awards– one for his work, with Caroline Overington, in the exposé of Norma Khouri– and prolific author of diverse non-fiction wor ... More
We meet Kit, a reticent and slightly spoilt teenager, just after her arrival at the train station of an unnamed Victorian seaside town. She has been picked up by her friendly, daggy aunt Treen and taken to the Sea House, a dilapidated nineteenth-century mansion that is a case study in antipodean gothic.
Treen lives in the Sea House as a carer and companion t ... More
Kate Grenville’s Lilian’s Story is one of the great Australian novels of the last thirty years. When it was first published in 1985, it was immediately hailed as a masterpiece. The original cover carried a recommendation by Patrick White, Nobel laureate and the greatest writer of any kind Australia has produced. White said ... More
Thomas Keneally’s novel The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith (1972) is based in part on historical events, particularly the crimes committed by Jimmy Governor, an Aboriginal man from New South Wales. In 1900, Governor was a key figure involved in the killing of nine Europeans, including five women and children. The killings followed Governor’s marriage t ... More
Kim Scott noted in 2001 that the biographical notes accompanying his first two novels (True Country, 1993, and Benang: From the Heart, 1999) changed from ‘Kim Scott ... of Aboriginal and British ancestry’ to ‘Kim Scott ... one among those who call themselves Noongar’. Scott probed his self-identification to make a more confronting point: ‘The ... More
The shortlist for the 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award, which included Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance, was controversial because it consisted of only three novels, all written by men. The exclusion of women writers for that year itself was noteworthy: for example, Fiona McGregor’s fine novel of Sydney, Indelible Ink ... More
If it were up to Roy Ellis, the town-proud editor-in-chief of Dungower’s only newspaper, ‘paedophilia would be systematically bred out of humans’. That just about sums up the attitudes of his readers, who are disgusted to learn that there is a convicted child sex offender living among them in rural Victoria. Only when Ellis’s maverick reporter Joni Miller re ... More
Mattheüs (Mattie) Duiker is a thirty-something gay man with a chequered past and an addiction to porn. His Afrikaans father, Bennie, is a self-made man, a larger-than-life uber-masculine traditionalist who has forever cast a shadow over his family. Bennie is dying from terminal cancer, and Mattie is his primary carer. Mattie, desperate to make something of his life ... More