October 2015, issue no. 375

Alice Bishop reviews 'Lost & Found'

Alice Bishop

Certain catchwords – ‘quirky’, ‘heartwarming’, ‘uplifting’ – mark the media coverage surrounding the release of Western Australian Brooke Davis’s first novel, Lost & Found. Perhaps foreseeing this, Davis presents her twee characters in a slightly laboured, albeit fashionable, manner: the elderly Karl in colourful braces; the agoraphobic ... More

Ten authors on their favourite short story collections

In the spirit of our annual ‘Books of the Year’ feature, in which we ask a range of writers and critics to nominate their favourite new fiction and non-fiction titles, we asked ten Australian short story writers to nominate their favourite short story collections and individual stories. As this is the first time we have run a short-story themed feature of this n ... More

Jo Case on Sonya Hartnett's new novel

Jo Case

Sonya Hartnett writes for all ages, her work spanning children’s picture books to novels for young adults and adult readers. Her adult novels have been widely acclaimed; Of a Boy (2002) won the Age Book of the Year award and has been canonised as a Penguin Classic. In many ways, though, her pedigree as a much-awarded children’s writer has always character ... More

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'When the Night Comes'

Sarah Holland-Batt

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews Favel Parrett's new novel and the literal and metaphorical meanings of the rough seas her characters' navigate.


Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Golden Age'

Kerryn Goldsworthy

When the polio epidemics at the hinge of the twentieth century were catching hundreds of Australian children and adults in their web of pathogens, a pub in suburban Perth called ‘The Golden Age’ was converted – with its name unchanged – into a convalescent home for children who were recovering from polio but still unready to go back into the world. Joan Lond ... More

Delia Falconer reviews 'The Snow Kimono'

Delia Falconer

When Mark Henshaw’s début, Out of the Line of Fire, appeared in 1988, it was, as literary editor Stephen Romei states in his introduction to the recent Text Classics reissue, the ‘literary sensation of the year’. A novel about an Australian author’s difficulties in writing about his fugitive subject, the young German philosopher Wolfi, it was very mu ... More

Doug Wallen reviews 'Wild Things'

Doug Wallen

‘The boys are behaving badly’ is the coy tagline for journalist Brigid Delaney’s début novel, about an élite Australian university’s cricket team subjecting a Malaysian exchange student to a grisly hazing ritual that goes too far. Such understatement isn’t indicative of the book itself, which follows a group of thinly drawn characters through pained, oft ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Return'

Carol Middleton

Silvia Kwon’s début novel explores the legacy of war on an Australian family, seen mainly through the eyes of the wife of a returned soldier. The prologue comprises a vivid and disturbing flashback to Burma in 1944, where Merna’s husband Frank spent time ‘on the line’.

Although narrated in the third person, this is Merna’s story, told from the poi ... More

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

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