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The Flower Girls surprised me. Just when I thought I knew what sort of book it was going to be I was stunned by the turn of events. There were times I found the book chilling, and it made me wriggle with discomfort, but at the same time I couldn’t look away. And the ending? I’m not sure I have the right word for it. Unsettling is probably appropriate. And I am still grappling with it.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Australian novelist NICOLA MORIARTY is the youngest of six siblings, two of whom – Jacyln and Liane – are also accomplished novelists. Her latest novel, The Fifth Letter, examines the relationships of a group of friends after a letter-writing dare uncovers a festering cache of secrets andr esentment. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • The jazz era of the 1920s in America was
 filled with exuberant music, fast cars and young men and women determined to have a good time. But at the same time in working-class Far North Queensland, life wasn’t lived at quite the same level of opulence.
In a new novel, Treading Air, Queensland author ARIELLA VAN LUYN uses fiction to investigate the life of a real young woman from Townsville named Lizzie O’Dea, who shot another woman in 1924. Read on >
  • Real-life historical figures and 18th-century court cases dealing with adultery inspired one of two interwoven storylines in The Wife’s Tale, a new novel by Australian author CHRISTINE WELLS. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN how the true events from the past inform her tale of scandal, intrigue, murder – and love.  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 >
  • Recent research has revealed the astonishing capabilities of dogs. We know that they can help vision- impaired people, but they can also sniff out cancer and even help to locate missing people. CAT WARREN in What the Dog Knows recounts how she adopted an unruly German shepherd puppy, Solo, who is eventually trained to locate human corpses. Read on >
  • UK journalist and editor MARINA BENJAMIN looks at the joys, losses and opportunities of middle age in her new book, The Middlepause. In this extract she writes about the secret misogynistic history of HRT.   Read on >
  • 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 BBC released a survey earlier this year in which they asked readers to name the books they had lied about having read. You can see the list below. I think I have read around half, as some I may have read in my youth that I’ve forgotten about (more about that later). How many of them have you read? The truth, please! 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 >
  • Meet the author who won the ABIA General Fiction Book of the Year 2015, and find out about her latest title, The Art of Keeping Secrets. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is a stunning novel. The Victorian world is alive on every page, from the treasures displayed at the Great Exhibition to the squalor and misery on dark streets. The writing is as beautiful and evocative as the art it describes. Despite The Doll Factory’s historical setting, its themes of love, obsession and the power balance between men and women remain relevant in the modern world. The characters are sympathetically drawn, even when they display the worst of human nature, and Iris is a captivating heroine. Read on >

  • I was really surprised at the direction this story took. The plot was interesting, allowing characters to show a genuine human fragility and compassion for the life circumstances in which they found themselves. While the two women were the primary focus, each reflected on the relationship they had with their former husbands, albeit created through different circumstances. A lovely Australian novel from an accomplished writer. Read on >

  • The mystery is well devised and central to this novel, and the book gives us a lovely, often witty and quite reverential homage to an Australian suburban childhood in the 1990s. You can go back in time with the turn of a charmingly written page. Read on >

  • This is a wonderfully rich thriller. Bartz drags the reader onto the meandering paths memories take as we shape and reshape our sense of loss after the death of a loved one. She leaves us to walk beside Lindsay as she digs out the truth hidden inside the walls of her own grief, hoping that we all make it to the other side in one piece. Read on >

  • The Wall allows us to recognise both the potential and the danger in what our modern world is tipping towards. This story will entice readers who enjoy diving into issue-focused dystopic speculative fiction and challenges us to think about what it means to exclude others, and what may be gained from welcoming outsiders and working together. Read on >

  • There is passion and an abiding affection for all libraries in this new work by the author of the bestselling book about orchid obsession, The Orchid Thief. The LA Central Library opens its doors freely to homeless people and provides services for them. This is challenging sometimes for staff but is part of the commitment by libraries around the world to be open to all people. Read on >

  • This book had me captivated and brought home to me the wonder of symbiosis. It is a must for all libraries so as the children can understand how these incredible relationships have evolved. Read on >

  • There’s plenty of political analysis in Blackout but it comes without a hint of spin. He strives to make the story of electricity and energy policy accessible and engaging in a way that cuts through the jargon and ideological bias that so often mars discussion of these issues. Warren admits that even he isn’t ‘fluent in Electricity’ – because it is indeed a language, and a technical and unromantic one. But the production of electricity has a fascinating story. Read on >

  • This novella is about a lifelong friendship between a girl called Mary and a golden snake called Lanmo − a friendship which teaches them how ‘wonderful and terrible and strange’ love is. Read on >

  • Belinda’s absent father refuses to pay for her schooling so she leaves her village in Ghana to become a housegirl in Aunty and Uncle’s house in Kumasi. She represses painful memories of her village, and is a compliant and meticulous housegirl. Read on >

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