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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

  • 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 >
  • 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 >
  • CATHY BURKE is the CEO of The Hunger Project Australia, an organisation that aims to end hunger in every part of the world by 2030. She has raised tens of millions of dollars to help empower people in Africa, India, Bangladesh and South America to feed themselves. We asked Cathy about the books that she has enjoyed reading and which have shaped her life, and we also talk about her own book, Unlikely Leaders. 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 >
  • We chat to aspiring astronaut and sci-fi writer S J Kincaid on haunted graveyards, Star Trek, and her new YA galactic thriller, The Diabolic.  Read on >
  • Best known for his role as a team captain on ABC TV’s Spicks and Specks, ALAN BROUGH has also worked as a radio presenter,
actor and stand- up comedian. In the 1990s he also appeared in a series of TV commercials as a drag queen called Marge. He had always wanted to write, and now he has fulfilled that ambition with his new children’s book, Charlie and the War Against the Grannies. He tells us about the books that have made him the reader and writer that he is today. Read on >
  • AOIFE CLIFFORD is the winner of the Scarlet Stiletto Award for one of her crime stories, but All These Perfect Strangers is her first novel. The Melbourne-based crime novelist talks with us about New Year’s resolutions, her Irish poet grandfather and the similarities between writing a novel and creating a papier-mâché puppet.  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 >
  • GEORGIA BLAIN is a novelist and journalist who lives in Sydney. Her first novel, Closed for Winter, was adapted into movie in 2009. LEONIE DYER asked Georgia about her latest novel, Between a Wolf and a Dog. Read on >
  • JIM OBERGEFELL led a class action in the US Supreme Court that established marriage equality nationwide for Americans. Love Wins, co-written with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist DEBBIE CENZIPER, is the story of the love that inspired the fight for justice. ANGUS DALTON reports. Read on >
  • Think of the typical problem drinker, and we usually imagine alcoholics, drink-drivers, underage drinkers and the perpetrators of one-punch attacks. The brother of Brisbane writer ELSPETH MUIR was none of these things. But three days after a heavy night of drinking, he was found dead in the Brisbane River – his blood alcohol level was 0.25 at his time of death. Elspeth tells us about her memoir, Wasted, an investigation into Australia’s drinking culture, and what might have been done to prevent Alexander’s death.  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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