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Cath Crowley's Words in Deep Blue was recently nominated for a Prime Minister's Literary Award. Angus Dalton reviews.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • As a teenager, GAYLE FORMAN was so obsessed with ‘80s movie star Molly Ringwald that she started to imitate the actress’s trademark nervous lip bite – and now she has a permanent scar. After seven bestselling YA novels and a successful movie adaption of one of her books, she talks with ANGUS DALTON about her first book for adults, Leave Me. Read on >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  Read on >
  • SABRINA HAHN has been WA’s go-to dispenser of green-thumb advice to radio listeners for more than 20 years. Now, in Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds, she shows you what to do in your garden and when to do it. In this extract she outlines how to encourage good predatory insects. 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 >
  • Creativity is often thought of as a special gift bestowed on only a handful of lucky people. But as Australian novelist SUE WOOLFE points out, it’s a skill that you can cultivate. Here are five tips she used to create her latest collection of stories, Do You Love Me or What? Read on >
  • The Sound, the second book from novelist SARAH DRUMMOND, is set around Western Australia’s King George
Sound. Based on a true story, the novel tells of Wiremu Heke, a Maori man from across the Tasman who sails from Tasmania to WA in 1825 on a mission of vengeance. We asked Sarah to tell us about Wiremu and about The Sound. 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 >
  • When she was 16, MADELAINE DICKIE went to Denpasar, the capital 
of Bali, on a language exchange program.
 Since then she has been fascinated with Indonesia; she has lived and studied in our northern neighbour for three years and
 she speaks Indonesian fluently. Her first novel, Troppo, tells the story of Penny, an Australian expat who flees from her career- minded boyfriend in Perth to a seemingly carefree 
life of surfing in Indonesia. Madelaine tells us how she came to write the novel. 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 >
  • KIRI FALLS was introduced to the works of English novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-65) when she saw the 2004 BBC production of North & South. Last year, the 150th anniversary of Gaskell’s death, Kiri decided to make a pilgrimage to the newly renovated Manchester home of the great lady. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Elspeth Muir’s memoir begins at the funeral of her younger brother, Alexander. She describes him in the coffin: ‘Beneath the lid was my brother’s soggy body – fresh from the refrigerator – pickled in embalming fluids, alcohol and river water.’ From this visceral description until the end of the book, Elspeth’s writing is superb, sinuous and unrelentingly engrossing. Read on >

  • On Thursdays, 42-year-old Ted and his dog Lily talk about boys they think are cute. Ted fawns over Ryan Gosling and Lily scandalously suggests Chris Pratt. Friday is therapy day. Ted endures an hour in an overlit office and craves cookies while Jenny, the feckless therapist, tries to achieve insights into why he and Jeffrey, his partner of six years, split up. Read on >

  • When a book is finally finished, I find it hard to think about it any more … I want to fill my head with something totally different, with a new book. My favourite book is the ‘new’ book I’m working on, still working out and trying to make better than the books I made before it! Before I held a copy 
of Jeannie Baker’s latest book, Circle, in my hands I had no idea ... Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Shortlisted for the T.A.G. Hungerford Award in 2014, Portland Jones’s Seeing the Elephant is a rewarding and poignant read that addresses the themes of war, post-war life, grief, change and friendship. Read on >

  • 5 Star Review Hannah Kent’s magnificent Burial Rites brought her to international attention – and deservedly so. A meticulously researched and nuanced portrait of the last woman sentenced to death for murder in Iceland, Burial Rites marked the arrival of a genuine literary talent. Her latest novel, The Good People, will not disappoint. Read on >

  • 4 Star Review Doyle’s debut is funny, engaging, fast and fascinating but, above all, it reads as a warning. I was thoroughly rattled by its ending. Read on >

  • 3.5 Star Review What makes multi-volume historical fiction such as this enjoyable are two things: strong and unconventional characterisation and a basic respect for the historical facts. Read on >

  • 3 star review ‘Write what you know’ is sage advice for any budding novelist. This author has done just that in describing how a single mother PR consultant buys a run-down blueberry orchard in northern Victoria. This interesting book certainly makes one appreciate that next punnet of blueberries. Read on >

  • 3.5 star review Two races uneasily share the great forest: the Earth Walkers, who draw their power from the moon, and the Tribe of Trees, who worship the sun. Each clan sees the other as savage and unreasonable and there’s no understanding between the two. Read on >

  • This 21st ‘Rebus’ book proves that there is plenty of life left in the series. The fraught relationships between Rebus, Clarke and Fox lie at the heart of the narrative and are just as important as the convoluted strands of their intertwining investigations. Read on >

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