I've really enjoyed reading this year's Best Australian Stories (which includes my story 'Too Solid Flesh', originally published in Island 137). One commonality I found between the stories, which reminded me of the power of fiction (what it can do), was an emotional complexity that can only be 'shown', not explained. For example, in Julienne van Loon's 'Bring … Continue reading Best Australian Stories 2014, ed. Amanda Lohrey
I reviewed The Rosie Effect, Graeme Simsion's follow-up to The Rosie Project for the Weekend Australian. It's a warm read, and a successful sequel. Following is an extract from the review. — As with the first book, these incidents are humorous and cause cringing; the reader observes the miscommunication, the unravelling, and longs to step in as an … Continue reading Review of The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion in The Australian
I had the pleasure last night of launching The Special by David Stavanger, winner of the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Prize. The book is published by UQP and available now. David and I didn't know each other beforehand, but connected through words (in emails, but mainly through our work) and it was a wonderful night, with much warmth. … Continue reading Bodies, effort, straws: The Special by David Stavanger
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