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BELINDA ALEXANDRA is a writer and ardent cat lover. In her new book, The Divine Feline, she celebrates all things kitty as she shares her own experiences with her four-legged feline friends and the special bond between women and cats. In this extract Belinda tells us about the history of cats and how they wriggled their way into our lives.
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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • After reading a few thrillers lately I got to thinking about writers in the crime and thriller genres and the research they need to do to make their books seem real. Research can be an exciting part of writing any book. Determining how a killer might think and how their victim could become entrapped is one thing, but I can’t imagine looking at dead people or reading detailed reports of the methods that serial killers use to stalk and murder their prey.That’s the sort of awful stuff police deal with and psychologically struggle with for the rest of their lives. But could even researching this sort of thing affect a writer?  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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  •  Looking for an engrossing historical fiction read? gr has rounded-up eight of the best for you to try.   The books in Diana Gabaldon’s ‘Outlander’ series have undergone a renaissance recently after
being adapted into a BBC
TV series that has gained a cult following. When Claire Randall is thrown back in time from 1945 to 1743 she finds herself in a very different Scotland, where she is branded as an outlander or Sassenach (a derogatory word for an English person) in a country run by clans and invaded by Redcoats. Try this series if you like a well-researched historical sagas that have swashbuckling adventure and a bit of romantic romping. 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 >
  • 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 >
  • Writer MIKE LUCAS and illustrator JENNIFER HARRISON tell gr about Olivia’s Voice, a new picture book about a deaf girl. Read on >
  • When she’s not training her inquisitorial blowtorch on politicians and other people who have questions to answer, ABC reporter and presenter SARAH FERGUSON loves to delve into a book. Her new book, The Killing Season Uncut, recounts the behind-the-scenes tales of the television program about the tumultuous Rudd–Gillard years. We asked the multi-award winning Four Corners reporter to tell us about the books that have influenced her. Read on >
  • Australian author of literary and crime fiction DOROTHY JOHNSTON writes about the real-life kidnapping of a camel, coming home to Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula, and how she came to write Through a Camel’s Eye. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • This is a story of love, of beauty found in wretchedness, and of loss. There is also hope, though, in the form of the orange-bellied parrot appearing among all the disappearances. This novel is brilliant; Flanagan’s writing is exceptional and we should all be paying attention. Read on >

  • Eliza’s quest to uncover the truth about her family and background shows her that families come in many shapes and sizes and the families we create for ourselves are just as legitimate as those with blood ties. Eliza’s grief and unanswered questions have left a hole in her life that she starts to confront and heal. Her two godmothers are full of love for Eliza but carry their own secrets. A warm, funny novel about love, loss and families. Read on >

  • The editors are interested in the future of fiction and what it means to write, and particularly to write against the conventional centre. The ‘collisions’ are between the authors and their perception of the elusive centre. There is a freshness which comes from having an ‘outsider’ look at our society and our lived environment. Thankfully, this is a long way from a pale, stale, male view of the world. Read on >

  • Hidden in Plain Sight is the second book in a new series that Archer hopes will see William Warwick rise through the ranks to become Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police. It’s not just a detective story; it’s a story about a detective. Consequently, his family, friends and colleagues are fully developed characters. Archer, a first-rate storyteller, has a relaxed style that’s very agreeable with short, sharp chapters that are engaging. Read on >

  • There is no doubt that the 19th century was a time of great drama for Britain and its empire around the world. In this romance novel it was also a time of great melodrama. The novel’s plot zigzags between the unhappy young married couple, a good deal of guilt, something mysterious that happened in Delhi, forbidden love, scandal, a court hearing, and an unexpected ending. Read on >

  • Yes, this is another ‘war novel’, but it’s also quite a bit more. The time is 1941 and a New Zealand battalion begins preparations to enter World War II. Lieutenant Breen is a young soldier with a law degree behind him. Like most of the soldiers, he has little experience of the world, still trying to figure out who he might actually be. Read on >

  • This is a novel about music and sex, and the performance of both. The author nails her colours to the mast early. I use ‘mast’ advisedly: it’s a good phallic signifier. The author is not so coy. Her prose is transgressively graphic. Read on >

  • In 1930s Germany, Hetty is having a wonderful childhood. Adolf Hilter is in power and she admires him greatly, she has just moved into a marvellous, beautifully furnished apartment where the previous tenants have mysteriously left most of their things, and which is much nicer than her old family home. Her father is an important senior member of the SS and she joins the local branch of the female version of the Hitler Youth. Her only disappointment is the notion that she cannot be a doctor – women in the Reich are to be wives and mothers, first and foremost. Read on >

  • In Mayflies, O’Hagan documents the culture of my own youth, and reading about the music, films and books that held meaning for these charismatic characters was a bittersweet nostalgic experience. I was besotted from the first page to the last, and will be thrusting copies into the hands of discerning friends from my formative years. Read on >

  • This story revolves around rejecting the strictures of conformity and obedience, ubiquitous in Japanese culture. Society is ‘the Factory’, where it’s essential to be a proper component, both as a work tool and child-manufacturer. Once free of society, there are few boundaries and the ending is redolent of Süskind’s Perfume. The novel’s conceit works so well that it seems impossible to say they’re not aliens. They’re certainly not Earthlings. Read on >

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Great Love stories