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Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   Read on >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >
  • Aristotle said that metaphor consists in giving a thing a name that belongs to something else. Shakespeare used metaphor when he wrote ‘All the world’s a stage’, drawing parallels between the planet and a theatrical performance space so that we might more easily understand what the world is like. Metaphors, by likening one thing to another, help us to understand things, or aspects of them, that might otherwise be difficult to comprehend. In Metaphors Be With You, DR MARDY GROTHE takes a historical look at how metaphors have been used to understand a huge range of topics, from adversity, beauty and curiosity through to love, war and vanity. Read on >
  • From an investigation into the scandals of the Catholic Church by Tom Keneally to Jeffrey Archer’s thrilling last instalment in the ‘Clifton Chronicles’ series or a tale of a shrewd female locksmith in the time of Queen Elizabeth I, these books will delight you over the long, languid days of summer. Read on >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. Read on >
  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. Read on >
  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. Read on >
  • It’s often said that whatever happens in our childhoods resonates throughout the rest of our lives – for good or for ill. This was certainly the case for TIM ELLIOTT, who grew up with a father who suffered from bipolar disorder. TIM GRAHAM spoke to him about the lingering effects of a tumultuous childhood and his memoir ofpaternal madness, Farewell to the Father. Read on >
  • Alison Evans is a genderqueer writer, lover of bad movies, and co-founder of the zine Concrete Queers. Here Alison tells us about her new spec-fic novel, Ida, and non-binary identities in YA fiction. Read on >
  • Biographies have long fascinated readers, serving as guides for how to live our own lives or often just giving us an intriguing peek into the world of extraordinary people. In this round-up we look at a comedian with a disability, a magician with a learning disorder, the real man behind Walter White of Breaking Bad and more. But we’re bending the biography rules a bit by also including a book by a philosopher that will prompt you to think about living a better life, a book about Aussies at war and an account of Queensland police leading lives of corruption. Read on >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 4.5 STAR REVIEW This novel, Jane Jago’s first, explores the seldom-discussed issue of violence perpetrated by children against children. It also looks at juvenile incarceration and rehabilitation, and to whom culpability should be ascribed when children commit crimes. Published at a time when the mistreatment of juvenile offenders in Northern Territory detention centres has hit the headlines and a Royal Commission is under way, The Wrong Hand is a disturbing yet relevant read. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Isabelle Li’s 16 short stories immerse our senses in the depth of feeling, rhythms, and the mysterious elusiveness of poetry, while her easy conversational style focuses on events in the lives of a number of people who have emigrated from China. Set largely in China, Australia, Singapore and also in the Philippines and London, the stories oscillate from the tropics to the temperate zones, and from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere, where the moon in all its stages is the protagonists’ only companion. The stories reveal the emotional and cultural problems of the emigrants in a new land where they must deal with a new language. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Britt-Marie’s husband, Kent, has a heart attack and his mistress is looking after him in a Swedish hospital. Britt-Marie is in shock. She thought her husband was on a business trip in Germany. She didn’t realise he had a mistress. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review The novel tells the story of two families over 50 years, one in Virginia and the other in California. When the father of one family divorces his wife to marry the mother of the other family, who divorces her husband, the scene is set for blended families at holiday times. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review At the centre of the novel is cricket, a national obsession in contemporary India. The Kumar brothers – handsome Radha, the prodigy who all the selectors are fighting over, and his younger brother, Manju – have been working all their lives under the diabolical gaze of their father to improve the family’s status through cricketing greatness. And it finally seems as if they have achieved it.  Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Jessie Burton’s debut novel, The Miniaturist, was published in 2014 to much fanfare but mixed reviews. It nonetheless became a bestseller. So it’s not surprising to discover that Burton struggled with the pressure that comes with writing a second novel. The Muse, however, is a solid achievement. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review What would you do if you knew you were the only person in America who could rescue the one man who could help bring the Manhattan Project to completion faster than the Nazi scientists could complete their own experiments with nuclear fusion? Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Bipolar psychiatrist Natalie King is recovering from a combination of PTSD and depression. She decides to relocate to a sleepy coastal town on the Great Ocean Road and complete her PhD at the local university. Her supervisor, Dr Frank Moreton, approaches her with a problem – his first wife died while pregnant, and now his second wife is pregnant and behaving erratically. Natalie reluctantly but irrevocably finds herself drawn in by Frank and his complex and tragic past. Read on >

  • 3 Star Review In this 14th ‘Charlie Parker’ thriller, John Connolly has again posited an ancient evil that prospers in a sleepy little backwoods American town. In this case, a cult-like group called the Cut (which is also the name of the area in which the group lives) worships an ancient totem, the Dead King, and for centuries they have lived off the proceeds of crime, rapine and murder. They live in isolation from the other inhabitants of the town and, generally, each side leaves the other alone. Read on >

  • 2.5 Star Review Sherlock Holmes is all very well, but lately we’ve see him and his knock-offs in so many books, movies and TV adaptations that it’s likely that some people are a bit sick of the Holmesian phenomenon. What to do then, if you’ve had enough of wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving young men? How about a wise, inscrutable, mystery-solving older woman? Read on >

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