The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

At the moment I'm reading fiction set in the C19th, but I'm also generally reading historical fiction (particularly books set partly in the present/partly in the past) for research reasons. This one I read as part of a wonderful MOOC I'm doing on historical fiction through the University of Virginia. Any other recommendations are welcome. … Continue reading The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe

Dignified survival: Courtney Collins on The Burial

Allen & Unwin September 2012 9781743311875 (buy paperback, ebook) When Courtney Collins' debut novel The Burial landed in my pile last month, it went straight to the top. Set in the early C20th, it's inspired by the story of Australia's last bushranger, Jessie Hickman. Jessie has done something she can't turn back from, and spends the majority … Continue reading Dignified survival: Courtney Collins on The Burial

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

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

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

Between worlds: Dominic Smith on Bright and Distant Shores

  Allen & Unwin, 9781742374161, 2011 (Aus paperback, ebook + US/Kindle) Bright and Distant Shores is hugely imaginative historical fiction. It’s set just before the dawn of the 20th century in Chicago and the South Pacific. Owen Graves is sent by Hale Gray, the president of Chicago First Equitable, to collect some ‘special items’ to … Continue reading Between worlds: Dominic Smith on Bright and Distant Shores