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How can a child disappear from the care of four playgroup mums? One Thursday morning Lexie Parker dashes to the shop for biscuits, leaving Bella in the safe care of the other mums in the playgroup. Six minutes later, Bella is gone. gr asked PETRONELLA MCGOVERN about her debut thriller, Six Minutes, and why we are fascinated by stories of true tragedies.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • Sydney-based novelist LAUREN SAMS, author of She’s Having Her Baby, has worked for magazines such as Marie Claire, Elle and Cosmopolitan. Her new book, Crazy Busy Guilty, reprises the heroine Georgie Henderson, who tries frantically to juggle work and family. We spoke recently with Lauren, who talked about the US election, writer’s block and wacky parenting strategies.  Read on >
  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Born in London, retired doctor TONY ATKINSON spent the first years of his life in a cage dangling out of a window. But he went on to serve the Queen and Winston Churchill during his early career as a footman and waiter, which he recalls in hilarious stories in he memoir, A Prescribed Life. Read on >
  • Australian historical novelist Pamela Hart tells us about her latest novel, A Letter From Italy, and Australia's first female war correspondent.  Read on >
  • Kentucky-based writer KAYLA RAE WHITAKER tells gr about her debut novel, The Animators, which follows the turbulent creative partnership between two indie animators in New York City. 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This beautifully crafted book, continually referring to the bees as a symbol of vulnerability, life and hope, creates more empathy in me for asylum seekers than any media or news bulletin. The constant memory of the bees, images of his homeland and his care for Afra, make Nuri courageous and persistent. Through Lefteri’s sensitive, vivid descriptions, I experience the contrast between broken and unbroken worlds, the coldness of bureaucracy, and the different responses of people to trauma. Read on >

  • Atkinson weaves together several sets of characters who are involved in apparently separate investigations – which all turn out to be closely connected to a criminal ring exploiting the hopes and dreams of young migrant girls who believe they are coming to England for a job in hospitality, but soon find themselves sex slaves. Read on >

  • McEwan’s writing is superb and the storyline intriguing. I did find a couple of the premises he sets up for his characters a bit of a stretch, but we are talking an alternate reality here, so I was happy to let them go and just enjoy the ride. I can see this book starting many a spirited book club debate. Read on >

  • The Carer is divided into three parts. The first is annoyingly repetitive as chapters are given to Phoebe and then to Robert to describe developments. I continued turning the pages, however, and am pleased I did. Parts two and three provide revelations that surprised and rewarded me. Read on >

  • The Braid kept me engaged right through, and delivered an unexpected ending. It is a sweet, uplifting book that communicates a simple message about women’s resilience. I can see The Braid becoming a book club staple. Read on >

  • This is a novel for someone who loves a sweeping Australian drama with romance and hardship thrown in. Read on >

  • This is a novel that breaks the rules. It’s both serious and hilarious. I found it fun, enlightening and thought-provoking even though I didn’t always understand Abdullah’s contemplation of his place in the world. Read on >

  • Are children really a blessing? This novel explores that question through two women, one the mother of an autistic son and the other a career-driven lawyer who has left it almost too late to have a baby. There’s a happy, optimistic ending, despite all the loss, so maybe that’s the ultimate message in this novel. Read on >

  • Disappearing Earth had me by the throat to start but didn’t maintain enough of that momentum to keep me totally engaged. Each of the following chapters focuses on the next 12 months after the girls’ disappearance, with each chapter introducing us to new characters. This pace slows considerably, the initial mystery fading into the periphery as we are introduced to different women in the village. I found it difficult to be connected to new characters, and some confusion began to slip in. I wanted each new character to have more of a connection to the disappearance as well. Read on >

  • Like the bending of light when it passes through glass, The Happiness Glass acknowledges the distortion and elusiveness of memory and, in doing so, captures a harrowing and heartfelt emotional truth so recognisable, it stings. I wish it had been longer. Read on >

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Books for Boys