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NOTHING THAT IS OURS  The pyres were still burning as the procession turned and headed back toward the city. It was customary for the smoke to rise all night, and for families to gather in Angel Square to mourn among others.  Not that Emma thought it was likely the Blackthorns would do that. They would remain in their house, closeted in with each other: They had been too much apart all their lives to want comfort from other Shadowhunters who they barely knew. She had trailed away from the rest of the group, too raw to want to try to talk to Julian again in front of his family. Besides, he was holding Tavvy’s hand. “Emma,” said a voice beside her. She turned and saw Jem Carstairs.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • The stories of SUSAN PERABO have been likened to the work of George Saunders and Raymond Carver. Her latest novel, The Fall of Lisa Bellow, kicks off when school student Meredith is kidnapped together with her nemesis, Lisa Bellow. Meredith is set free – but Lisa remains. We asked Susan to tell us about short stories versus novels, her love of baseball and writing advice she has received. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • ABC journalist and science writer IAN TOWNSEND cut his teeth as a novelist in 2007 with Affection, which told the story of a plague outbreak in 1900. His next novel, The Devil’s Eye, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009. Now with Line of Fire, he turns his pen to narrative non-fiction to tell the story of Richard Manson, an 11-year-old boy who was accused of espionage and shot by the Japanese during World War II in New Guinea. Read on >
  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  Read on >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. Read on >
  • Teachers of writing classes often tell their students ‘show, don’t tell’. But showing – which means providing vivid description so that readers can clearly imagine what is being represented – depends to a large extent on memory and an alertness to the present moment. Writer and memoir instructor PATTI MILLER, author of Ransacking Paris, shows here how you can draw on sensory memory to enhance your writing. 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 >
  • JIM OBERGEFELL led a class action in the US Supreme Court that established marriage equality nationwide for Americans. Love Wins, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DEBBIE CENZIPER, is the story of the love that inspired the fight for justice. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Jessie Cole’s father and half-sister suicided years apart, using the same method. These deaths betrayed Cole’s trust. The mental pain her father and half-sister, Zoe, experienced showed itself in a kind of violence: humiliations designed to wound, rants ‘infected by rage’.  As tree-changers in their 70s, her psychiatrist father and home-maker mother had moved to Burringbar, a tiny town in the Northern Rivers of NSW. It’s an area many escape to in order to live in a beautiful landscape without judgement (in theory). Cocooned in a rainforest without any known grandparents or strict rules, she had a free-ranging life on a property she still calls home. Cole takes you into her child’s world; riding her father’s back across a river or hiding safe and happy in her mother’s long skirts.This perspective colours what you as the reader see of her parents. After Zoe’s suicide, Jessie expertly pulls the lens back to show a clearer picture of how the young parents around her were really behaving. It’s hard not to judge her father poorly for wreaking havoc on his family when he descends into madness. However, Cole delicately teases out her father’s personality and kinder self through his letters to her. Years later, a fisherman on a beach helps Cole to trust again. ‘I latched on to the idea of him … as though he had caught me with his hook … In his unwavering gaze I came into the light.’ Cole paints such an authentic picture of her grieving family I wanted to read more about the years that followed, which shows her great achievement in Staying. Reviewed by Josepha Dietrich Read on >

  • Filled with poignant scenes between Teddy and Radford, dark and rollicking parties, and the stark beauty of their isolation in the winter landscape, Robert Lukins has created a secret world that nurtures these troubled boys. There’s heartbreaking vulnerability, frustration and confusion, but this is balanced with self-sacrifice, tenderness and loyalty. This is a debut novel from a very accomplished writer and we can only hope that there will be many more to come. Read on >

  • The Boat People shows us how, when the powerful brutalise the powerless - with guns or laws - tidy notions of ‘right/wrong’, ‘legal/illegal,’ and ‘truth/lies’ become useless. A humane attitude must begin with kindness and compassion. Read on >

  • This is a witty book, a blend of both comedy and tragedy, full of sharp-eyed observations about life as a migrant in modern Britain, with an emotional punch behind the humour that stays with the reader. Read on >

  • Claire’s recounting of the past overshadows the story of Lucy and Ben’s current situation. Despite this, the novel is soulful, perplexing and deeply moving. The separate narrators’ tales beat with the same devastating heartbeat. This is a story of love lost and the grief it causes, of tragic circumstances and the threads that bind us all together. Read on >

  • The title valley is a narrow valley in the Shetland Islands. It contains five houses, a few people, sheep and assorted other animals.  David has lived in the valley for most of his life with his wife, Mary. Sandy has just broken up with David and Mary’s daughter, Emma, but he is the one who stays. When the valley’s oldest inhabitant dies, David becomes the executor of her croft, which he offers to Sandy in the hopes of giving the lost young man an anchor.  Meanwhile Alice, a former crime novelist who has fled to the islands to escape her grief, is trying to write a book about the island. Then there is the befuddled drunk, Terry, and the newcomers who aren’t exactly honest with their landlord, David, about why they are really there.  Remote landscapes exist as kind of self-contained microcosms, and the valley in this book is that kind of place, a world unto itself ruled by the changing of the seasons and the eternal transition from night to day and back again. In terms of narrative, very little happens over the year that is covered in the book. The story is composed of episodes in the lives of the characters as they live quiet existences entirely contained within the landscape of the valley.  This is a quietly profound work capturing both a sense of place and a sense of being contained by place. The most important character in the story is the valley, and it is beautifully realised through the human characters and their daily interactions with it.  Reviewed by Tessa Chudy     Read on >

  • This award-winning novel also rewards every reader with a rich and vibrant tale. It will make them question the very nature of humanity as Shelley did, and wonder at the value of any war, no matter how justified it may seem. Read on >

  • The Earth Does Not Get Fat is a skinny but seemingly interminable book about love and suffering. The biggest problem with the narrative is its unfortunate trajectory - life sucks, but after a holiday by the beach, replete with wine, tears and talking, suddenly, magically, everything gets better. It just doesn’t ring true. It feels like a concept undone by an over reliance on form (switching between multiple narrators) when just building the story around convincing characters might have worked better. Read on >

  • Oneiron is a complex and highly conceptual work, filled with deep and profound ideas, and is concerned with perhaps the greatest mystery faced by humanity – life after death. But when all is said and done, it is more a story about life and death. Read on >

  • Yvonne Fein is the daughter of Holocaust survivors. This collection of stories investigates experiences that have ravaged people - often irreparably. Read on >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue