Sometimes an author will have one big hit and then … nothing. When we meet Michael Ardenne, the antihero of Ian Shadwell’s Slush Pile, it has been more than a decade since he won the Man Booker Prize for his debut novel Ephesus. Now, he is 'as dry as an old dog turd'. Instead of writing, … Continue reading Review: Slush Pile by Ian Shadwell, for The Australian
Yesterday: The plane is just about to descend as I draft this. Craig Sherborne is sitting in the row in front and I've just finished his beautiful novel Tree Palace. I've been completely lost in the story of this family of itinerants, or 'trants', as they call themselves in the book. The family—connected by both blood … Continue reading Craig Sherborne’s Tree Palace and Craig Sherborne, #555writers
'Summer House is a dark satire, scalpel-sharp and more cohesive than The Dinner, with a more complex unreliable narrator, a compelling structure, and a sutured but festering wound of themes.' Read my review of Dutch author Herman Koch's disturbing novel Summer House with Swimming Pool here. I also reviewed his previous novel, The Dinner, for The Australian.
I reviewed Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame (released with a new foreword by Margaret Drabble in the Text Classics series) for Readings Monthly, with the book still ringing in my head (hence the style of the review). When I read Frame I am reminded, too, that a writer might deliberately eschew grammar rules, in aid of rhythm or … Continue reading Review: Owls Do Cry by Janet Frame in Readings Monthly
Hologram is a new venture publishing novellas by writers under 30. Hologram is associated with Express Media, a fantastic organisation that provides support and development opportunities for young Australians in writing and media. The first book to be published by Hologram is No Limit, by Holly Childs. It’s about Ash, who is stuck in Auckland … Continue reading Detachment, surfaces, excess: No Limit by Holly Childs
Melbourne University Publishing 9780522858822 (paperback) 9780522864366 (ebook) August 2013 In Profits of Doom, Antony Loewenstein investigates the effects of predatory, vulture or disaster capitalism on individuals, communities, the environment, and future prospects of entire countries. Loewenstein’s work is powerful because he goes to Afghanistan, Christmas Island, Papua New Guinea, and other places ravaged by greed, … Continue reading Profits of Doom by Antony Loewenstein
I have a guest post up on the fabulous tumblr Go Book Yourself, which features book recommendations by humans. If you like The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, you'll like... (click here).
Jane has just has her second child. She is recovering in bed in her too-warm room, dealing with complex feelings of isolation (experiencing both loneliness and a desire to be left alone). Her husband is gone. Her cousin Lucy and her husband James begin to drop in to look after Jane and keep her company. … Continue reading The Waterfall by Margaret Drabble
The Luminaries Eleanor Catton Little, Brown 9780316074315 Winner of the 2013 Man Booker Prize I’ve woken up around 4am the past couple of nights thinking about this book. My thoughts on it aren't final but this is a space where conversations happen, and I need to talk. The Luminaries is an engaging page-turner, a mystery … Continue reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
9781922079763 Text Publishing August 2013 One of the best contemporary short story collections I've read, Takolander's fictions are intellectual, dark, strange and often dystopian. The tone is of casual realism, but what's described is beyond that: fantastical, nightmarish or just off; my favourite kind of fiction. If you like Kafka or Beckett, or MJ Hyland … Continue reading Maria Takolander’s The Double