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Articles in this issue

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Archive Discoveries

  • A Melbourne woman proud of her 7000-year-old Persian heritage shines a light on family violence in a memoir covering three generations. SOHILA ZANJANI, author of Scattered Pearls, speaks with JENNIFER SOMERVILLE. 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 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 >
  • For many of us, the streets of London or New York are more familiar
than the towns and settlements of the remote north and centre of our own country. But non-Indigenous artist and writer KIM MAHOOD, who spent many years of her childhood on a cattle station amid Indigenous lands, knows these parts of Australia well. In her new book, Position Doubtful, she recounts
 her frequent journeys from her home in Wamboin, near Canberra, back to Indigenous communities in NT and WA. We caught up with Kim in Alice Springs just as she was preparing to head out on a 1000 km road trip. Read on >
  • We talk with PATRICK HOLLAND, a longlist nominee for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award for his novel The Mary Smokes Boys, about his new novel, One, which tells the story of the real-life Kenniff brothers. These two late-19th-century Queenslanders were Australia’s last bushrangers, and vPatrick questions the extent of their supposed villainy. 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 >
  • Who would have thought that in the largely homogeneous country of China that there could be a group of people who could trace their lineage back to invading Romans? TONY GREY uncovered this intriguing bit of information while travelling in China, and here he tells how he came to write his historical novel, The Tortoise in Asia, which tells the story of Romans travelling along the Silk Road in ancient times. 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 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 >
  • '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 >
  • Adelaide writer STEPHEN 
ORR, whose book The Hands
 was longlisted for the 2016 
Miles Franklin Award, likes to
travel the world inspecting
 sites of literary interest – when 
he’s not writing about cattle 
stations and small towns. Here 
he recounts a recent journey to
 the British Isles and Germany on 
which he visited the homes and
 haunts of some of the world’s best known authors. Read on >

Book Reviews in this issue

  • Despite its subject matter, the book is not without its humour and, in time-honoured tradition, the denouement has several twists. Agatha Christie-like it may be, but this is pure John Banville mastery. Read on >

  • The contrast between sun and shadow is one of many oppositional elements in the book. The most potent relates to gender. Men are superficially strong and warlike, but inwardly fragile and fearful. The women are perceived as weak, but have an inner ferocious strength. The interaction between Hirut and Ettore – captured prisoner and guard – is pivotal to the narrative. This powerful, sprawling, lyrical epic should be showered with accolades and awards. It deserves every single one. Read on >

  • There will be familiar elements within this narrative which remind you of Shakespearean plays. These are subtle, rather than overt, because O’Farrell’s writing is sublime. This is a magnificently rendered story of love, loss and grief. Read on >

  • This beautiful, bittersweet story offers a fascinating glimpse into contemporary Afghanistan. The world of Kabul and its people are alive on the pages. Sofia is dismayed by the poverty and discrimination but she admires the resilient spirit of the locals, especially the women, and she is always conscious of her Western outsider status. Read on >

  • Our Shadows is a character-driven, gentle story. There isn’t anything surprising or dramatic about it, but it’s a pleasant read carried along by well-crafted characters. I enjoyed it while I was reading it but not long after finishing it, there were aspects of it already fading from my memory. Read on >

  • This novel is beautifully crafted and provides a mature look into suicide and its impacts on those left behind. I felt that Goenawan dealt with themes of anxiety, isolation and trauma with sensitivity and I found her ability to familiarise these emotions and experiences incredibly perceptive. Read on >

  • The times are captured extremely well and the plot’s storylines crisscross each other with equal force. This is wonderful lyrical writing. Read on >

  • Hickey uses different voices in her first-person accounts, ranging from a woman returned from overseas to her old home in a fire-ravaged area, to a mother who uses her own salty language to describe how proud she is of her gay, theatrical son. There’s the healing provided by living in an isolated rural house; and one tension-filled story shows how danger and horror can be found on a desolate beach. Binding these 18 stories together is an over riding sense of family, with one of the most moving the story of the country football coach and his son. Read on >

  • This coming-of-age tale is a captivating read, with echoes of Huckleberry Finn. The courageous and resourceful children encounter cruelty, abuse, racism and despair but also kindness and hope. They learn about the terrible injustices inflicted on Native Americans and the devastating impact of the Great Depression. This is a lyrical, atmospheric saga about the importance of self and the search for home. Read on >

  • Glasgow in the time of Margaret Thatcher: grim, gritty and grey. ‘Rain is the natural state of Glasgow. It keeps the grass green and the people pale and bronchial.’ The mines were closing and Glasgow was a post-industrial wasteland. This is extremely well written but far from cheerful. If you have a loving home, feel free to count your blessings. Read on >

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Great Love stories