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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 >
  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. Read on >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. Read on >
  • We talk with PATRICK HOLLAND, a longlist nominee for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys, about his new novel, One, which tells the story of the real-life Kenniff brothers. These two late-19th-century Queenslanders were Australia’s last bushrangers, and vPatrick questions the extent of their supposed villainy. Read on >
  • It’s 100 years since
 Roald Dahl’s birth on 13 September 1916. For many years now, 13 September has been celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.  I love all of Roald Dahl’s books. I love the naughty antics his characters get up to in so many of his stories. I love reading about the fascinating life he led – especially his wartime flying exploits – and I really loved how he made the nasty grandmother in George’s Marvellous Medicine just go ‘pop’ and disappear. I think we all have someone in our life we’d like that to happen to occasionally. If you are yet to read his memoirs – Boy and Going Solo – I can’t recommend them highly enough. Read on >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  Read on >
  • FIONA CAPP is the internationally published, award-winning author of three works of non-fiction, including her memoir That Oceanic Feeling – which won the Kibble Award – and five novels, including Gotland, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Queensland Literary Awards. Fiona lives in Melbourne and works as a freelance writer and reviewer. Her latest novel, To Know My Crime, is a story of blackmail, risk, corruption, guilt and consequences set on the Mornington Peninsula. We asked Fiona to tell us about the books that have shaped her view of the world. Read on >
  • The changing moral code and shift in gender roes of World War II provide the backdrop for JENNIFER RYAN's debut novel The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN about the people and events that inspired the story. Read on >
  • For some women, bad men cast an irresistibly magnetic spell. Melbourne-based author LAURA ELIZABETH WOOLLETT examines this often fatal attraction in  The Love of a Bad Man, a collection of 12 stories based on the lives of real women who sought the love of criminals. In this extract from ‘Eva’, the author imagines the post-coital thoughts of Eva Braun, who met Adolf Hitler when she was 17. Read on >
  • Ed Yong – science reporter for The Atlantic and blogger for National Geographic – has just published his first book, I Contain Multitudes: The microbes within us and a grander view of life. We asked him to tell us about his reading life.   What are you
reading now?
 Patient H.M. by 
Luke Dittrich, because 
my editor for my own 
book sent me a galley
 copy! I’m glad she
 did. Henry Molaison 
was arguably the most
influential patient in
all of neuroscience.
 After an operation to
cure his epilepsy, he lost the ability to form new memories – think Memento – and so taught us much about how our memories work. Dittrich is the grandson of the surgeon who operated on Molaison, and he brings a deeply personal flavor to the incisive reporting and colourful writing that characterise this book. What are your three favourite books?
 The Song of the Dodo: Island biogeography in the age of extinctions by David Quammen is natural history writing at its finest – a witty, insightful tour of the planet’s islands and what they tell us about our increasingly fragmented world. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell offers genre-hopping stories but delivers a deep fable about hope and nihilism; I stared silently out a window for the longest time when I finished 
it. Being Wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz is a wondrous study of human error that blends literature, science and philosophy. Read on >
  • If you set out to write a thriller, you’re going to have to do some research. And while your story will be fiction, you’ll probably uncover more than a few fascinating real-world facts, as Australian thriller author L A LARKIN discovered while researching for her latest novel, Devour. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • 4 Star Review Nutshell is probably unlike any other thriller you have read, largely because it is narrated by a foetus. This is an original novel that will resonate with anyone familiar with the story of Hamlet. Enjoy the Shakespearean undertones and the elegant prose. Read on >

  • 4 star review Hill’s dense, satisfying storytelling shines a critical and satirical light on contemporary America culture and introduces a cast of quirky characters – some strangely beguiling, others despicably toxic – all caught up in a series of bizarre events and experiences. Read on >

  • 2 star review Take a fiercely intelligent, ambitious, and profoundly naive college student. Add a brilliant physics professor and a dash of infatuation, and bake slowly in the stifling social mores of mid-20th century small-town USA.     Read on >

  • 3 star review Abel is dying, and the disembodied voice of a nurse is asking him to give a full account of himself. In dreamlike stream-of-consciousness prose, Abel tells the story of his life.     Read on >

  • 4 star review The title (based on a quote from Martin Luther King Jr: ‘If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’) is what drives Ruth to take on the big issue of racism that she has pushed to the back of her mind for too long. Read on >

  • 4 star review This collection of short stories is a skilful exploration of characters who seem to inhabit a nebulous world: visible, present and yet somehow adrift on the margins of society. After the Carnage is a fine collection of stories and bodes well for her next novel, due out later this year. Read on >

  • 2 star review In this sixth book of the ‘Ancient Egypt’ series, Pharaoh Tamose is dead, leaving Taita, his chief advisor, in charge of the remnants of Pharaoh’s army, which faces an overwhelming Hyksos army. Their defeat seems unstoppable until succour arrives from a most unexpected source, and Taita emerges the victor. Read on >

  • 1 star review The college narrative presents Charlie, a wannabe entrepreneur who is trying to start a business, and Ellie, who is attempting to finish a dissertation on Nietzsche. Read on >

  • 4 star review The Rules of Backyard Cricket is an astute exploration of character and family. Serong takes us from ’70s suburbia through to a brutal present in which ex-cricketer Darren Keefe is cable-tied and lies wounded in the boot of a car. During his frightening ride, Darren remembers the life that has led him to this point. Read on >

  • 4 star review A tightly written thriller with enough twists and turns to keep you reading until the last page. Read on >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue