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In a memoir that’s been compared to Gregory David Roberts’ Shantaram, JAN GOLEMBIEWSKI sets off on a world trip seeking discover the light between the cracks of reality; a trip that saw him wander the Sahara and endure a Nigerian prison. He tells us more.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. Read on >
  • The rugged beauty of England’s Lake District looms large in the latest psychological thriller by Perth-based author SARA FOSTER. She shares her passion for the natural world and her concerns about the potential impacts of electronic media with MAUREEN EPPEN. 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 >
  • PEPPER HARDING is the pen name of a writer from San Francisco. The Heart of Henry Quantum, Pepper’s new novel, follows a scatterbrained husband’s erratic journey through the streets of San Francisco as he hunts down his wife’s Christmas present – a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Along the way he runs into his former lover, Daisy. We asked the author about his new novel and the eccentric thought journeys that appears throughout its pages. 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 >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • This first foray into crime fiction by Australian author Melina Marchetta, best known for her award-winning fiction for young adults, is a cracking read.   Read on >
 BURKE is an
art historian,
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 >
  • The 1970s and 80s saw DAVE WARNER lead two influential punk-rock bands. His demanding musician’s lifestyle left little time for writing anything but his next single. Nowadays Dave is a full-time screenwriter, novelist and playwright, but he still takes to the stage every so often for a good old-fashioned rock-out. ANGUS DALTON finds out more about Dave’s life and his latest crime novel, Before It Breaks. Read on >
  • Read this and the ordinary world disappears,’ says Stephen King of
‘The Passage’ series. ANGUS DALTON talks with bestselling author JUSTIN CRONIN about his post-apocalyptic trilogy, the vampiric creatures he created to end humanity, and the last instalment of the series, The City of Mirrors. Read on >
  • The changing moral code and shift in gender roes of World War II provide the backdrop for JENNIFER RYAN's debut novel The Chilbury Ladies' Choir. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN about the people and events that inspired the story. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Throughout We See the Stars, Simon must struggle with the tragic things that have happened around him and try to process them. With the help of Superman (an imaginary friend) and Cassie, Simon must decide on the best course of action to try and protect the people he loves. Read on >

  • I loved this deliciously creepy Gothic tale of murder and the supernatural. Laura Purcell conjures up Victorian England, with its jarring worlds of genteel wealth and grinding poverty. The flimsy beauty of frocks for wealthy ladies masks the relentless work and oppressive conditions suffered by the poor seamstresses who make them. Ruth is apprenticed to Mrs Metyard, whose beautiful dress shop hides a hellish, miserable place. Dorothea recoils from Ruth’s crimes but sympathises with her plight, questioning whether criminality is something someone is born to or forced into through life circumstances. Read on >

  • Kate and Nova are two women negotiating changed circumstances that have upended their lives and set them on new paths. They become friends, with the promise of something more, and tender hope unfurls as they support each other. But a sense of menace grows as Kate’s past jeopardises their future. The tense reality of domestic violence explored in this book is balanced by the quirky, engaging love story about two women who are stronger than they think. The insights into a blind person seeing the world for the first time, and the things that sighted people take for granted, were especially interesting. A strong and original debut by Joe Heap. Read on >

  • This is one of the most thought-provoking books I’ve read. There’s plenty of action, entertaining dialogue, and sensual description alongside a philosophy of life. Bishop’s quote from Camus sets the dilemma: ‘Without beauty, love or danger, it would be almost easy to live.’ Read on >

  • I really didn’t think I was going to like this novel but Nagaland surprised me in more ways than one. The lyrical stories, legends, and myths seemed to have more in common with the American Indians rather than the Asian Indians that they are. The conflicted identity of this man who struggled to feel at home either in his native Nagaland or in the cities of India where he oscillated between, caused a tension that mirrored his environment. The politics, the discrimination and the unfairness of the way he and his people were treated, rankled my sense of justice. The two stories of Augustine’s life merged to a climatic end. Read on >

  • This is the book to have wrapped up as a present for any child or fact-devouring adult. It’s a great gift for children who are reluctant readers. You’ll find them reading without them even knowing it. And they’ll be learning and finding enthusiasm for the world around them at the same time too. Then they’ll be driving you crazy sprouting, ‘Did you know ... ?’ Read on >

  • This is a story well worth telling, and not just because A Bridge Too Far is a pretty good war movie. The Arnhem campaign was a significant Allied defeat – at a time when the Germans had no right to be winning anything – and that defeat was the result of stupendously bad planning. Given that the Allies had just pulled off the most difficult of all military feats, the successful amphibious landing of a large army against stiff opposition in Normandy, the reasons for the Arnhem disaster are well worth pondering. Read on >

  • Now if the author’s name seems familiar to you, yes, he is the award-winning writer who wrote The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. He has dedicated this latest book to ‘the thousands of refugees who have perished at sea fleeing war and persecution.’ This may be a small book in size, but the impact it will have on its readers is huge, especially as the words are perfectly complemented by Dan Williams’ stunningly evocative watercolour illustrations. Read on >

  • A lot like Jane Harper, a little bit like Emma Visic, Sally Piper has joined a group of Australian writers offering up the Australian landscape as a character in its own right. Importantly coupled with this is a compelling plot and contemporary commentary. It may not stick with you forever, it’s an entertaining and satisfying read. Read on >

  • What starts as a tale of post-traumatic stress soon becomes a deadly hunt, one where the hunted has no idea that he is the prey. I found the descriptions of everyday life and the challenges of returned soldiers very well portrayed. It is a brutal novel, tense and suspenseful, and yet there is beauty in the prose and in the kindness shown to a stranger. Read on >

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The Good People