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Archive Discoveries

  • For many of the families of servicemen killed in World War I, a terse telegram from the government was never going to be enough to assuage their grief. Families wrote back in their thousands, seeking more information about the fate of their loved ones. It was the task of James M Lean to reply to these families and, as author CAROL ROSENHAIN outlines in The Man Who Carried the Nation’s Grief, he did so with extraordinary empathy and sensitivity. 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 >
  • Best known to TV audiences as Goliath fromthequiz show The Chase, MATT PARKINSON was also one half of the Empty Pockets comedy duo. He cleaned up as a champion on Sale of the Century in the 1990s and since then he has served as the brains trust on ABC TV’s The Einstein Factor. We asked this big man (he’s nearly two metres tall) with a big brain about the books that have made him the brainiac that he is.  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 >
  • Stretching across generations and set on the Atherton Tablelands where she lives, the latest novel from prolific Australian author BARBARA HANNAY is a saga of loss, love, secrets and salvation. She tells MAUREEN EPPEN 
about her writing life, and how The Grazier's Wife evolved.   Read on >
  • I switched on to watch ABC TV’s The Drum one evening and discovered Jodi Picoult sitting on the panel discussion.What a great performer she is – not only an impressive writer but also an impressive speaker.The discussion at the table was raging around whether a white author has the right, or could even have the understanding, to write about black characters. As a white woman, how could she really know what’s it’s like to be a black woman, let alone a black man? How could she write black characters and make them authentic without knowing how they feel? Read on >
  • If you think of the German navy in World War II, then you probably conjure up images of grand-scale conflicts such as the Battle of the Atlantic or the Baltic Sea campaigns. But not so many people are aware that German ships were also on the prowl down in the South Pacific and in the Indian Ocean, where they disguised themselves as ordinary freighters before launching their deadly assaults on unsuspecting Allied craft. False Flags, a new account by Canberra author STEPHEN ROBINSON, tells the story of four German raiders, including the infamous attack by one of them, the Kormoran, on the HMAS Sydney in 1941. GRANT HANSEN reports. Read on >
  • This book might have the word ‘tax’ in its title, but don’t let that dreary term fool you. The Great Multinational Tax Rort tells the intriguing tale of how, for decades, multinational corporations have been slithering out of their obligations to pay their fair share of tax, leaving governments with shrinking funds to pay for essential services for their citizens. In this extract, MARTIN FEIL, also the author of The Failure of Free-Market Economics, outlines some of the techniques these business behemoths use to cunningly avoid paying tax – leaving us all the poorer. 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 >
  • ALL IS GIVEN: A MEMOIR IN SONGS by LINDA NEIL She’s a Brisbane-based songwriter and an awardwinning producer of radio documentaries, and in this memoir LINDA NEIL travels the world, playing music and meeting people along the way. In this extract she recalls as a teenager being given the seemingly tedious duty of reading books to a blind neighbour. But what happened next surprised both the reader and the listener. Read on >
  • LUCY DURNEEN lectures in creative writing in Plymouth, England, and is the assistant editor of the literary journal Short Fiction. We asked her about the apparent resurgence of interest in short stories, her beginnings as a writer, and the blending of realism and fantasy in the stories in her new collection, Wild Gestures. 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 >

See all Book Reviews for this Issue

Books for Boys