Guest post: Troy Martin on Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth

Jonathan Cape (Random House) 9780224097383 September 2012 (buy paperback, ebook) reviewed by Troy Martin This isn’t a spy drama. Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth is more than a novel of London or the 1970s. It’s bound with literary references, but you do not need a companion to English literature to enjoy this novel. That is the most … Continue reading Guest post: Troy Martin on Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth

Dallas Angguish on Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (guest review)

Jonathan Cape (Random House) 9780224093453, 2011 (buy hardcover, ebook)  Review by Dallas Angguish Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal is the sometimes disturbing, sometimes tender and often funny story behind Jeanette Winterson’s debut novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit. Whereas Oranges was a semi-autobiographical novel, Why Be Happy is a memoir, a … Continue reading Dallas Angguish on Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (guest review)

Pleasure, memory, decay, and The Stranger’s Child: an interview with Alan Hollinghurst

I had the pleasure of speaking with British novelist and Man Booker Prize winner (for The Line of Beauty) Alan Hollinghurst at his hotel last month in Melbourne, over a pot of tea. Hollinghurst's latest novel The Stranger's Child opens in 1913. The poet Cecil Valance is visiting his Cambridge friend (and secret lover) George Sawle … Continue reading Pleasure, memory, decay, and The Stranger’s Child: an interview with Alan Hollinghurst

Grey areas of madness: an interview with Jon Ronson, on The Psychopath Test

Picador, Australia, 9780330451369 (paperback) In The Psychopath Test Jon Ronson takes us on journey through the mad 'industry' of madness. And it's not all acid-tripping psychopaths. Ronson follows leads to high-security prisons, a mansion filled with predators... and to L Ron Hubbard’s coca cola stain. What results is an inevitably open-ended, sometimes frightening and often hilarious look … Continue reading Grey areas of madness: an interview with Jon Ronson, on The Psychopath Test

20 Classics #8: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

I’m reading 20 classic, modern-classic or cult books. I aimed to read them all in 2011, but that's beginning to look unlikely. Read more about this project here. Why did I want to read it? I had vague ideas about Gulliver’s Travels. I remembered Ted Danson being tied up by some little people in a film version I … Continue reading 20 Classics #8: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Guest review: Lyndon Riggall on Embassytown by China Miéville

9780230754317 Pan Macmillan, May 2011 (Aus, UK, US/Kindle) Reviewed by Lyndon Riggall I admit defeat. I’ve been trying to present these events with a structure. I simply don’t know how everything happened. Perhaps because I didn’t pay proper attention, perhaps because it wasn’t a narrative, but for whatever reasons, it doesn’t want to be what I want to … Continue reading Guest review: Lyndon Riggall on Embassytown by China Miéville

20 classics in 2011 #6: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

I’m reading 20 classic, modern-classic or cult books in 2011. Read more about this project here. Why did I want to read it? I love Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, and dystopian fiction in general. Plus, the sections of my work-in-progress that people have read have been compared to Brave New World. I thought it was about time I read it … Continue reading 20 classics in 2011 #6: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Guest review: Rachel Edwards on Armistice by Nick Stafford

9781849160230 Quercus, 2011 (Aus) (also US, UK) reviewed by Rachel Edwards Armistice recreates the disorientated, discombobulated world of London post World War One and looks at the effect that war had on the lives of those who survived. It is a semi-mystery, semi-romance novel and it tells the story of Philomena Bligh, seamstress of Manchester. … Continue reading Guest review: Rachel Edwards on Armistice by Nick Stafford

Recent reads: Perth Writers Festival special

The following three books are some of the new ones I've read in preparation for Perth Writers Festival (5 to 7 March). I'll be chairing panels featuring the authors. Find out more about those panels on this post. The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O'Hagan Faber, 9780571215997 … Continue reading Recent reads: Perth Writers Festival special