Trauma, kindness & starting with a bang: Jessie Cole on Darkness on the Edge of Town

Fourth Estate, 2012 9780732293192 (buy paperback, ebook) A woman crashes her car outside Vincent's house. Vincent attempts to help the woman, and the baby in her arms, which may not have survived the crash. Rachel is her name and her arrival will have repercussions for Vincent and his daughter Gemma, and will draw attention (and judgment) … Continue reading Trauma, kindness & starting with a bang: Jessie Cole on Darkness on the Edge of Town

The Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012: how did I go?

After completing the recent survey on the Australian Women Writers Challenge website I decided it was time I looked at my reading and reviewing of books by Australian women writers in 2012. On the Overland website Jane Gleeson-White has declared 2012 the year of Australian women writers, and has provided a fantastic summary of the year in relation to … Continue reading The Australian Women Writers Challenge 2012: how did I go?

Home, strange home: Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire

Picador, 9781742610832 September 2012 (buy paperback, ebook) A version of this article was originally published in The Big Issue no. 415. Somewhere around the six-week mark of Emily Maguire’s 2008 visit to Hanoi, she realised she was in love: 'Actual love—the kind where you wake up smiling in anticipation, and you fall asleep deeply, deeply happy every … Continue reading Home, strange home: Fishing for Tigers by Emily Maguire

20 classics #13: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson

I’m reading 20 classic, modern-classic or cult books. Read more about this project here. See the other classics here. Why did I want to read it? I haven’t yet reviewed an Australian classic in this series, and The Lifted Brow also asked me to choose one of the Text Classics range to introduce for their October issue. There was a … Continue reading 20 classics #13: The Fortunes of Richard Mahony by Henry Handel Richardson

Treasures from the past: Belinda Castles on Hannah and Emil

Belinda Castles is the author of Falling Woman and The River Baptists (for which she won the 2006 Australian/Vogel Award). Her latest novel is Hannah and Emil, which traces two characters across Europe, the UK and Australia and charts their complex struggles, and the love that pulls them through. Emil fights for Germany in WWI but is forced from his … Continue reading Treasures from the past: Belinda Castles on Hannah and Emil

Parsley and blood: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

April 2012 Random House 9781741668452 (buy paperback, ebook) I love a good historical novel: the ability to contrast past and present, to be absorbed in a world that’s (mainly) unfamiliar, and to experience vastly different circumstances, pressures, and social customs. Kate Forsyth allows us to taste, smell and feel 16th Century Italy and late 17th … Continue reading Parsley and blood: Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth

Casual fate: Taking Shelter by Jessica Anderson

Published in 1989, by Penguin Jessica Anderson (1916-2010) won the Miles Franklin Literary Award twice, for Tirra Lirra by the River in 1978 and The Impersonators in 1980. Taking Shelter is one of her less lauded novels (they all sound quite different). I picked it up mainly because of one of the cover blurbs: 'A provocative … Continue reading Casual fate: Taking Shelter by Jessica Anderson