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Australian author Sarah Epstein has written an impressive page-turner in her debut novel about 17-year-old Tash, who witnessed her imaginary friend Sparrow lure young Mallory Fisher away from a carnival. Nine years later, Tash is trying to leave her troubled past behind. When disturbing memories resurface and Tash starts to see Sparrow again, she starts to question everything. Is Sparrow real or is Tash more dangerous to others than she thinks?
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Archive Discoveries

  • Australian film director BRUCE BERESFORD (Driving Miss Daisy, Paradise Road) and film producer SUE MILLIKEN (Black Robe and Sirens) have collaborated on several films over their long careers. Their new book, There’s a Fax from Bruce: Edited correspondence between Bruce Beresford & Sue Milliken 1989- 1996, collects the communications – full of industry gossip, news and thoughts on books and films – from a pre-email era between these two filmmaking luminaries. They tell us here about the books that have influenced them. Read on >
  • The mystery surrounding Agatha Christie’s 1926 disappearance provided the inspiration for On the Blue Train, the second novel of US-based Australian author KRISTEL THORNELL. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how her research led her to parts of England where the celebrated mystery author lived – and to the North Yorkshire hotel wher she spent jer 'lost' days. Read on >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • American author and hairdresser DEBORAH RODRIGUEZ lived in the Afghan capital of Kabul for five years, and in that time she founded her own beauty salon and coffee shop. On her return to the US, she wrote a bestselling novel based on the bustling cafe, and now she’s taking us back to Afghanistan in Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • RITU MENON loves to travel and she loves to sample the local fare of the places her journeys take her to.Her new book, Loitering with Intent: Diary of a happy traveller, is derived from over a decade of travel journal writing. Here she recounts how she came to write the book and recalls a couple of fabulous Italian feasts. Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? 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 >
  • Church attendance has been plummeting for decades, yet enrolments for church-based schools are soaring. Nearly all non-churchgoers say that they like having a church in their suburb – although they never go inside it. Leading social researcher HUGH MACKAY takes a look at our contradictory attitudes to religion in his new book, Beyond Belief. In this article, Hugh recounts a part of his own spiritual journey and how he came to write the book. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Following on from her two-million-selling historical novel Orphan Train, CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE has delved into the backstory of a famous painting by Andrew Wyeth to write her new novel, A Piece of the World. ANGUS DALTON talks with the author.  Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • A charming novel, its narration across characters and time is deft and often very moving. I thoroughly enjoyed it and shall look for other works by this author. Read on >

  • It is indeed a tribute to Murakami’s skill as a writer that he can keep deploying these same elements to create fascinating stories. He is nothing if not reliable. If you are a Murakami fan, this is well worth a look and if you are not familiar with his work this would not be a bad starting point. Read on >

  • Miss Burma opens during the titular contest in 1956, when the beautiful 15-year-old Louisa sweeps across the stage. There is something about Louisa, it could be her mixed heritage ( Jewish father, Karen mother), it could be her almost unnatural beauty or it could be something else. The narrative then shifts back in time to 1926 and to Louisa’s father, Benny. Read on >

  • The stories begin and end quickly, but still manage to be intimate and fulfilling. Some are easily digested – read, enjoyed and put aside. But a memorable few will sit in the back of your mind, asking to be untangled further. We leave behind the characters, feeling privileged to have known them, even for a short time, and hopeful for how their lives will unfold beyond the pages. Read on >

  • Tom Hope is broken-hearted, but as his name suggests, he is optimistic and carries on stoically. His wife, Trudy, leaves him after a short marriage. She hates living on his farm in Victoria and Tom doesn’t take enough notice when she regularly sighs and says, ‘Another day in Paradise’. He makes a second-chance list of 34 things to do if she comes back. Read on >

  • In 16th-century Carcassonne, 19-year-old Minou Joubert lives with her widowed father, caring for her two younger siblings and working in the family bookshop as her father’s health declines. There she receives an anonymous letter, sealed with a family crest that she does not recognise, that says simply, ‘She knows that you live.’ Read on >

  • When your life is ruined, you look for some sense of renewed purpose. This is what A Stolen Season is all about – three lives that demand re-examination. Each focal character takes their turn as narrator, and the book is sectioned into chapters around these, each interspersing through the other’s narrative. Read on >

  • Almost Love is an incredibly raw look at messy relationships and the way the people in our lives contribute to who we are. The book is shocking and sobering in the way O’Neill forces you to connect with Sarah and even find yourself relating to her in the most obscure ways. Almost Love is a challenging read, but not one that I regret reading. Read on >

  • This moving, engrossing story of a traditional Italian family enduring the worst of times is written by an Italian-Australian author now living in the UK, for whom migrants and migration have always been at the heart of her storytelling. Read on >

  • Despite being a little banal and wordy at times, this book is a fascinating look at an African country in different times. Read on >

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