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In this extract from Salt, Bruce Pascoe cracks a James Boag and takes a cruise along the Gordon River, filling in the gaps of Indigenous history, life and ceremony that are noticeably absent from the Tasmanian tour.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • She might have had an isolated outback upbringing, but LYNETTE NONI believes that it was the vast, sparsely populated spaces made her a storyteller. The author of a YA fantasy series, Lynette talks with us about building worlds, why she would never want to visit the world of ‘The Hunger Games’, and her new book, Draekora: The Medoran Chronicles 3. Read on >
  • In her latest novel, Melbourne author JANE RAWSON adds an air of otherworldliness to the story of her ancestor who survived a 19th-century shipwreck. She talks to MAUREEN EPPEN about history, aliens and the benefits of having been a ‘hack writer’ for 25 years.  Read on >
  • ANGUS DALTON meets British historian, journalist and author L S HILTON as she publicises the most hotly anticipated thriller of 2016, Maestra. Read on >
  • In the early 1900s, the luminescent properties of radium – a highly radioactive metal – had just been discovered, and entrepreneurs were quick to identify its marketing potential. They flooded supermarket shelves with radium-based products, and thousands of young women in North America were hired to paint clock dials with radium. The girls would go home with their hands aglow, oblivious to the bone-destroying radiation they had been exposed to. We spoke with London-based author KATE MOORE about these workers’ stories, which appear in her new book, The Radium Girls. 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 >
  • Former pop-punk rocker LEN VLAHOS tells Good Reading about his new YA novel, Life in a Fishbowl, and how Marcus Zusak inspired him to write from the perspective of a brain tumour. Read on >
  • Perth crime writer David Whish-Wilson reveals how the history of organised crime in WA and his many encounters with criminals, from teaching writing to inmates to meeting biker gangs, has influenced his novels.  Read on >
  • While researching for a non-fiction book about the botanical history of some of the world’s most popular alcoholic drinks, US author AMY STEWART stumbled across a gin smuggler’s altercation with an officious woman named Constance Kopp. This discovery catalysed her historical crime-fiction series, set in New Jersey in 1915, based on Constance and her two sisters. As the second instalment in the series, Lady Cop Makes Trouble, is released, ANGUS DALTON finds out more. 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 >
  • Kit, only 19 years old, works for Shen Corporation
as a phenomenaut – a person who projects their consciousness into the bodies of animals bred for research purposes. This is the strange and intriguing premise of The Many Selves of Katherine North. ANGUS DALTON puts some questions to EMMA GEEN, author of this new novel. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • When one’s choices are so limited, can one be blamed for the choices one makes? Koe’s first novel is primarily focused on three characters: the anti-Nazi German actress, Marlene Dietrich; the German actress-director, Leni Riefenstahl (whose films were supported by Hitler); and the Chinese-American actress, Anna May Wong. Though the book’s historical gaze may have been sharpened if its length was shortened ( perhaps by limiting some of its tangential narratives), this novel is undoubtedly a stunner. Read on >

  • I loved this stunning book so much. Augusta and Parfait learn that home isn’t necessarily the place where we’re born. Sometimes you must leave your home behind to find your real home. Both Augusta and Parfait blame themselves for the tragedies that occur in their lives and wonder if they could have done more to prevent them. But life can’t be rewound and they must continue on, overcoming their grief and finding joy again. Augusta is a captivating narrator and this is a story of hope and love as much as loss, with the characters lingering in your mind long after you finish the book. Read on >

  • The Blue Rose is a guilty pleasure; it offers much and asks for little in return. I imagine it would be the perfect summer read – when these cold days give way to lazy afternoons on the beach, The Blue Rose will be a perfect companion. Read on >

  • There is a wonderfully generous Australian flavour to this novel. The characters are authentic, there’s Henry Lawson poetry quoted during public speeches, and there’s even an optimistic ending. Read on >

  • As psychological thrillers go, this is clever and fastpaced. At the beginning I was unsure I would like it, as seemingly the twist in the tale (Abbie’s artificial intelligence) is sprung at the very beginning. But Abbie’s uncertainty about her former life and what she doesn’t remember gives the novel a fine sense of suspense, and the ethics of replacing someone with a robot is very interesting. Read on >

  • Lippman has forged a sublime, suspenseful tale that flows along so wonderfully that it perhaps obscures its own genius. A stylish, rich novel from one of crime’s very best. Read on >

  • This book is justifiably receiving massive hype. It’s unlike anything I’ve read before and it’s utterly engrossing. You may empathise with these women or you may disagree with their choices but you will be swept up in their stories and not be able to forget them. Read on >

  • It’s strong stuff, as are his unflinching descriptions of his gay sexual encounters during his travels in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Vietnam and the Philippines; his own violence; suicidal tendencies and psych ward notes, right to the end of the book. He’s a fine writer, making this book equally fascinating and depressing, but definitely not for sensitive souls. Read on >

  • Hertmans advises the book is a mixture of detailed research and enthusiastic imagination. Hamoutal’s story is in the documents,. The author has imagined what she was like with some reverence and interspersed his own adventures in retracing her steps. This was a time when society was in a great deal of flux, and it doesn’t always make for easy reading, but it is very well done. Read on >

  • This story is of a road-trip that takes place over 10 days. Daphne, the central character and narrator, is close to an emotional breakdown and, on a whim, abandons her stable life and heads for the Californian desert with her toddler, Honey. Early on, we learn that her husband, a Muslim who had been legally living in America, has been sent back to Turkey by the American immigration authorities and Daphne’s efforts to secure his return have stagnated in opaque bureaucracy. Read on >

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