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In this extract from MIKE MCRAE’s new book, Unwell, he tells us about an age-old belief that our internal organs were, well ... mobile.

Articles in this issue

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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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. Read on >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. 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 >
  • Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has inspired all kinds of fan fiction and adaptations, such as the 1966 prequel Wide Sargasso Sea. But in this new novel by Sydney resident JENNIFER LIVETT, the lives of Jane Eyre characters become entwined with those of real 19th-century Tasmanians, including doomed Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin. Here Jennifer tells us how she came up with the idea for Wild Island. Read on >
  • RICHARD ROXBURGH has been extraordinarily versatile over the
decades of his acting career. The Albury-born actor has played both Sherlock Holmes and his nemesis, Professor Moriarty, appeared as Count Dracula in the 2004 movie Van Helsing and played the lead role in Rake, a TV show he co-created. But he’s just as talented
on the page as he is on screen and stage; Roxburgh has written and illustrated a new kids’ book, Artie and the Grime Wave. We asked him about his influences and what lead him to this new project. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I found this book mesmerising. I was absolutely appalled by the main character’s thoughts and behaviour, yet blown away by John Boyne’s literary skills. To me it is an unforgettable read. Read on >

  • Transcription tells the story of Juliet Atkinson, a resourceful girl who is whisked away from the dull hours at her typewriter transcribing for MI5 to become an active participant in the investigation of Nazi sympathisers in 1940s London. Transcription is definitely worth a look for the prose alone, although it’s not as good as Life After Life. I’m yet to pick up A God in Ruins, but this read makes me more likely to do so. Read on >

  • Paris Echo centres around the lives of Hannah and Tariq, who are living in Paris. Hannah is an American academic on a fellowship to research women’s lives during the German occupation in the 1940s. Tariq is a 19 year old from Morocco who illegally stows away on a quest for adventure and to learn about his dead French mother. Hannah and Tariq’s lives soon become intertwined and Hannah begrudgingly allows Tariq to lodge in her apartment. The novel charts their personal journeys as they navigate the city and learn the nuances of its history. Read on >

  • The Apology is an unsettling read. Watkins deals sensitively and deeply with sexuality, sexual misconduct, and the guilt that follows. Read on >

  • My Purple Scented Novel is bright and light – some of his earlier works earned him the name ‘Ian Macabre’. But it still bears his careful characterisation and restrained yet lively prose. It’s easily devoured on a short bus ride or over morning coffee. Read on >

  • In The Mere Wife, Headley finds a whole ecosystem under the formative tale of Beowulf by re-centring the narrative on just about everything other than Beowulf himself. Headley is a seasoned fantasy writer and we get to hear from the mountains, the lakes, the animals, the children, the women, and the monsters, as perspective shifts each chapter. Read on >

  • The Wounded Sinner is the name of an old, decaying house which has been in the Andrews family for generations. Henderson personifies it as a dying being with hard, dry skin of paint peeling away, and loose window panes rattling in shrunken gums. The first inhabitant, Nathaniel Andrews, was an unrepentant rake, so Reverend Stone called him a ‘wounded sinner’ in need of God’s redemption. Read on >

  • Briseis is an interesting narrator, cool, calm and very matter of fact. She breathes life into the women who are at the edges of the Trojan Wars – women who are barely mentioned in history’s recounting of events, yet it was the women who loved, hated, fed, tended to and buried these famous men. An interesting new take on a very old tale. Read on >

  • French Exit is a satire with touches of light humour and fans of the author will be delighted that he has again put pen to paper. I, however, did not enjoy reading the book. I thought the peripheral characters were far more intriguing than Frances or Malcolm … and the cat should’ve been euthanised by page three. It’s a slim novel with short chapters and just 244 pages. Read on >

  • This is a charming novel that deftly portrays the relationship between the women with skill and care. It is, however, entirely predictable; nothing happened that I could not see coming. Having said that, I found it a pleasant read, and an enjoyable way to while away an afternoon. Read on >

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The Paris Collaborator