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Debut author Karen Hamilton tells gr about the sociopathic air hostess that leads her new novel, The Perfect Girlfriend.
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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • JANINE
 BURKE is an
 Australian
art historian,
author,
biographer,
photographer and
award-winning novelist.
Her latest book, Kiffy Rubbo,
which she has co-edited with Helen Hughes, collects contributions 
from leading figures in the artistic community that all focus on the dynamic figure of Kiffy Rubbo (1944-80), a pioneering curator
in Melbourne in the 1970s. We asked Janine to tell us about this new book and the books that have shaped her life. Read on >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  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 >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. 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 >
  • In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years.  Read on >
  • He has worked as a wilderness guide, a ranch hand and a dogsled musher – and he’s also a skilled marksman. But ERIK STOREY, a lover of the great outdoors, has come in out of the wild for long enough to turn out his first novel, Nothing Short of Dying. A thriller set in the mountainous landscape of western Colorado, it features Clyde Barr, a man with a military past who is fresh out of prison. We talked with Erik recently about dealing with rejection, the lure of western Colorado and his number-one tip for surviving in the wild. 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Cleverly written, Unearthed alternates between the two narrators, Mia and Jules. The story moves along at a steady pace, sometimes reminiscent of Indiana Jones’s adventures and at other times more like the ‘Star Wars’ saga. The main characters are resourceful and brave but also awkward and vulnerable in their youthful naivety. Planet Gaia is a dangerous place, not only because of what is on it, but also because of what it could potentially mean for Earth. This is an absorbing tale. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for the next instalment. Read on >

  • This is magical realism at its best and grittiest, and the ghosts have a particularly signficant role as the story draws to a close. Sing, Unburied, Sing is a brilliant book by a new luminary in US literature. Read on >

  • Sally Hepworth delves into the lives of four families living in a cul-de-sac of suburban Melbourne. Superficially, they characters are all friends, but the secrets they keep from each other poses the question, do we ever really know our neighbours, or even our own family? Read on >

  • Life on a cattle property enables Thomson to vividly describe experiences on the farm and in the garden. The themes of love and duty, the challenges in marriage, and friendship that can bridge generations make this an enjoyable true-to-life read for all ages. Read on >

  • The author wants his readers to be involved in this dark and violent novel. He invites them to take sides, take on board the ideas he has written and think about poverty, power, privilege, suicide and Aboriginal deaths in custody. But first they must meet some rather unattractive characters. Read on >

  • It’s hard to know what to focus on: Busi’s personal narrative of letting go or the political machinations within the town. Read on >

  • CeCe D’Apliese is one of seven sisters adopted from different parts of the world by a wealthy man. Although he gave her love, affection and security, she has never felt that she has fitted in with her family. Upon his death, he leaves her a clue as to her birthright, and with this scrap of information, she sets off to Australia in an effort to discover her roots. Unsure if she can face her past, she decides to kill a little time in Thailand, where she befriends a man who is not all that he seems. Read on >

  • Secrets emerge about the past, with troubling revelations about the natures of both of their parents. The lengths some of them go to get to the proffered inheritance provide entertaining and riveting reading. Read on >

  • This enthralling novel is extraordinarily rich in historical detail, made all the more fascinating because it’s based on a true story. Stephanie Parkyn vividly brings this world to life: the boredom and peril of ship life, the political undercurrents of the revolution that follow the ships as they traverse the world, and the people, flora and fauna the voyagers discover are all brilliantly evoked. Marie-Louise was possibly the first European woman to visit Van Diemen’s Land, but her amazing story encompasses so much more than this fact. Highly recommended. Read on >

  • This novel is brilliant. The story is compelling and addictive, and I continually questioned Royce’s and Vita’s motives and desires. Dovey’s richly detailed writing evokes both the interior and physical worlds of the two characters, from Royce’s memories of an archaeological dig in Pompeii to Vita’s struggles with the ethics behind her filmmaking. The book offers a profound insight into the nature of the human psyche, such as dealing with the burden of guilt, how the past can control the present and the motives behind creative output, control, desire and obsession.  Read on >

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Books for Boys