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Combine early colonial art and dispossession with murder in a grand homestead in Victoria’s Western District and you’ll have the latest Australian mystery novel, JENNIFER SOMERVILLE discovers.

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Archive Discoveries

  • Serious social issues, including the plight of unwed mothers, domestic violence and the place of women in Australia's history are wrapped up in poignant romace in VICTORIA PURMAN's new novel, The Three Miss Allens. She spekas with MAUREEN EPPEN about the inspiration behind the family saga set on the South Australian coast. Read on >
  • The exact percentage of people with dyslexia is unknown, but it’s estimated at between 5 and 17 per cent of the population. And many people may not even be aware that they have the condition. There’s no cure for it, but now there’s a new way to help people overcome dyslexia – and it’s as simple as using a new font. Read on >
  • 'Books, and lovers or friends, mark and change us. And we, in turn, mark and change them.' Melbourne novelist CATH CROWLEY writes about her longtime love of secondhand bookshops, and how the histories she found and imagined there led her to write Words in Deep Blue. 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 >
  • Alison Evans is a genderqueer writer, lover of bad movies, and co-founder of the zine Concrete Queers. Here Alison tells us about her new spec-fic novel, Ida, and non-binary identities in YA fiction. Read on >
  • The town of Sorrento in southern Italy sits high on a clff above the Tyrrhenian Sea, whose waters are sobuoyant and warm that you can doze off while floating on its surface. But as author KATE FURNIVALL found, the nearby city of Naples is steeped in a history of danger and wartime poverty. The UK author tells gr her latest novel, The Liberation, was inspired by the secret tunnels, mafia strongholds and the of child street gangs she encountered on a recent visit to the Bay of Naples. Read on >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • I completely loved the characters in this book – and how Lincoln dealt with everyday teenage issues amongst the more challenging ones. This is the kind of book where you laugh and cry with the characters, and look forward to picking it up in every quiet spare moment. Read on >

  • This thought-provoking, exquisitely realised character study speaks of the timeless and universal need for a place to call home and people to love. Read on >

  • I loved The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, where we first met Thaniel Steepleton, an unassuming young man, and Keita Mori, the talented watchmaker who remembers the future. I started this sequel with anticipation. This is a complex story, but the lyrical nature of the writing kept me absolutely enthralled. You will need to have read the first book to understand the characters, but it is worth the effort. Time, destiny and love collide to literally electrifying effect, and you are left with a deeply satisfying journey. Read on >

  • This book is simultaneously laugh-out-loud funny and soul-crushingly depressing, in a way I can only describe as reminiscent of Waiting for Godot. Grandma Jean is also one of the best protagonists I’ve read in forever – she’s almost an anti-hero at times but her connection to Kimberly and Sue is so human, and at times heartbreaking. Read on >

  • Booker Prize winning English writer Graham Swift is a contemporary of Ian McEwan. I found myself reminded of McEwan’s On Chesil Beach as the story evolved. Both are set in a similar period, as England moved into the 1960s and both focus on the minutiae of domestic drama and the eloquent writing styles create perfect, if at times heart-breaking, vignettes of young love. Read on >

  • The unusual style of the narrative in this novel made me wonder if it was a translation. Tomasz Jedrowski, born to Polish parents in Germany, wrote the novel in English, which is impressive even if he does gild the lily from time to time. In Swimming in the Dark we meet writer and scholar Ludwik Glowacki, exiled in Brooklyn and feeling depressed and alone as he opens the door to the past to reflect on his ‘summer of forbidden love’. Read on >

  • This is a thoughtful and humorous story, narrated by a clever and inquisitive dog. Tassen seems very human when he is meditating on friendship, ageing and death. But there are lighter moments too, such as Mrs Thorkildsen’s ‘hunting’ (shopping in supermarkets) and consumption of ‘Dragon Water’ (wine). Tassen proves more loyal to Mrs Thorkildsen than the humans in her life but the mutual joy and comfort they derive from each other as they battle life after The Major is uplifting. Read on >

  • This is a magnificent novel. Sharon Penman is a rare novelist who ensures that the story is historically accurate, while writing characters with all their flaws and strengths that resonate with modern readers. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Read on >

  • The Tiniest House of Time tells the story of a middle-class Indian family, ranging from 1930s colonial Burma to nationalist Malaysia in the 1990s, as well as Australia and contemporary Kuala Lumpur. Read on >

  • It’s the story of many lives – searching for a place to call home and finding where true value is. Zhang’s repeated sensual, poetic imagery and the action-packed narrative vividly re-imagines the history of that era through the struggle, hope, and courage of Lucy, Sam, and their parents. Inspirational. Read on >

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