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Have an opinion, commentary or criticism about books you’d like to share? Send it to the editor and if you’re published, you’ll win a prize! This month, gr reader and contributor, Bob Moore, takes on the oft daunting word, 'postmodernism'.

Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • 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 >
  • American author and hairdresser DEBORAH RODRIGUEZ lived in the Afghan capital of Kabul for five years, and in that time she founded her own beauty salon and coffee shop. On her return to the US, she wrote a bestselling novel based on the bustling cafe, and now she’s taking us back to Afghanistan in Return to the Little Coffee Shop of Kabul. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • Lynda La Plante changed the face of crime fiction and television with Prime Suspect and its stoic lead character, DCI Jane Tennison. Her new series details how Tennison cut her teeth on London’s crime-ridden, gang-ruled streets in the 80s. We asked the queen of crime 10 questions ahead of her new book release, Hidden Killers. Read on >
  • Marine biologist SHANNON LEONE FOWLER was embracing her fiancé, Sean, in the ocean off the coast of Thailand when a box jellyfish stung and killed him.Thai authorities tried to dismiss his death as a drunk drowning. Traveling with Ghosts follows the months Shannon spent on a strange trajectory through Eastern Europe, fleeing from the ocean and from grief. She tells us how her memoir came to be, 14 years after Sean’s death. Read on >
  • Most of Lonely Planet’s publications can fit snugly at the bottom of a backpack, but The Travel Book is a volume best left at home on the coffee table to inspire adventures.  Read on >
  • ABC journalist and science writer IAN TOWNSEND cut his teeth as a novelist in 2007 with Affection, which told the story of a plague outbreak in 1900. His next novel, The Devil’s Eye, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2009. Now with Line of Fire, he turns his pen to narrative non-fiction to tell the story of Richard Manson, an 11-year-old boy who was accused of espionage and shot by the Japanese during World War II in New Guinea. 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 >
  • gr highlights cookbooks to buy for the discerning foodies in your life. Read on >
  • The symptoms of boredom, loneliness and heartache can often be alleviated by exposure to a good novel. But poetry can also have a similar healing effect. If you suffer from any of the following undesirable conditions, try these three poetic prescriptions that might just do the trick. Read on >
  • For some women, bad men cast an irresistibly magnetic spell. Melbourne-based author LAURA ELIZABETH WOOLLETT examines this often fatal attraction in  The Love of a Bad Man, a collection of 12 stories based on the lives of real women who sought the love of criminals. In this extract from ‘Eva’, the author imagines the post-coital thoughts of Eva Braun, who met Adolf Hitler when she was 17. 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 >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is an essential motif in the narrative. Darug words frequent the story. This is both wonderful and distracting. Every waibala reader should know Indigenous words, but taking the time to understand each word can disrupt the flow of the narrative. Don’t be put off by this, or that the depiction of waibala actions can make for uncomfortable reading. Swallow any misgivings and persist, because the need to know this colonial Australian history can’t be overstated. Read on >

  • Every day across Australia and around the world news broadcasts include reports of accidents and emergencies, often evoking an morbid curiosity among viewers. Fast-paced and fascinating, graphic yet never gratuitously so, The Application of Pressure is a perceptive examination of frontline emergency services, a homage to those individuals whose dedication and skills save lives every day, and a sensitive reflection on the restorative powers of friendship. Read on >

  • What’s Left of Me Is Yours is a commendable debut by Stephanie Scott. Set in Tokyo, the novel provides an in-depth look into the social and judicial workings of Japanese society in the 1990s. Scott carefully curates a world with immense nuance, integrating Japanese culture meticulously. While I thoroughly enjoyed her novel, I did find the running theme slightly unconvincing. Throughout her novel she explores the idea of whether love can justify acts of deceit, however I felt did not align with the tone of the ending. A beautifully written and executed novel. Read on >

  • Throughout our lives, we all have choices to make. Taryn Cornick made a bad choice. All of the characters, from either side of the reality curtain are forced to make choices. Faustian bargains are made. Only by disparate characters working together might satisfactory outcomes eventuate. This is a monster of a book on many levels, and outstanding … Absolutely outstanding. Read on >

  • This is a very entertaining novel, and quite the bodice ripper, but it is well done and, although it takes many liberties as many historical novels do, it feels a realistic narrative of Catherine’s entirely unlikely rise to power. She must have been quite some woman! Read on >

  • This is a simple story, full of the delights of mountain living, as well as its hardships. There is simple affection between the people, pleasure in preparing food from what they have grown and raised, and a pride in keeping yards and houses spotless. The village and its people may be ageing and dying, but there is more than a glimmer of hope for the future. Read on >

  • Love after Love starts with an act of domestic violence against Trinidadian Betty and her son, Solo. Betty’s husband dies shortly afterwards, falling down the stairs while drunk, saving the small family from further indignities. To help with the cost of living, Betty takes in a lodger, a man who states he will only stay a short while but ends up staying forever. Read on >

  • After ‘discovering’ what is now known as Botany Bay in 1770, Captain Cook and the Endeavour made an emergency stop on Guugu Yimidhirr land in far-north Queensland. On a Barbarous Coast tells a different story of what occurred there - a story where the balance of power between owner and invader is switched. With the 250th anniversary of Cook’s landing, this book is a great way to get an alternate perspective on the event. Read on >

  • Richard Ford is justifiably renowned for both his short and long-form fiction. This book has nine short stories of varying length, none of which is titled Sorry For Your Trouble. He might be apologising to his characters for their plight. Don’t think he’s apologising to his potential readers. That would be ridiculous. Reading Ford, in any length, is an unparalleled joy. Read on >

  • The Switch is a classic feel-good story. Although a little far-fetched at times, it had me laughing and smiling along with it. Set against the backdrop of Leena’s sister’s death from cancer, it has enough seriousness to feel raw and real, which had me tearing up but that is balanced by fun and light-heartedness. The Switch is a heart-warming, funny, romantic and a perfect distraction. Read on >

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