Reviewer: AF

By this author

Books July 21, 2018

Beautiful Revolutionary

The greatest deliberate loss of American civilian life in modern times before the fall of the Twin Towers took place in Jonestown, Guyana, on November 18, 1978. On that day, 918 people, including 304 children, were ordered to drink grape-flavoured cordial …

Books June 23, 2018

Saint Antony in His Desert

A critic once wrote of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina that a close reading of the novel would yield, if nothing else, a recipe for raspberry jam. A similarly intimate engagement with Anthony Uhlmann’s ambitious fictional debut offers the potential …

Books May 19, 2018


Axiomatic is the fourth work of nonfiction by Maria Tumarkin, one of Australia’s most urgent and necessary writers, but it is the first to keep her accent – the first to fully register the impolitic intensity of her prose and breadth of her …

Books March 03, 2018

The Lebs

The education of the artist, especially if that artist is a young male, is the perennial grass of the literary field: a yearly recurrence, reassuring if often a little dull. Must we really hear again of the sensitive soul who finds himself in a homosocial …

Books December 23, 2017

Best Books of 2017 #2

Bernard MacLaverty is an author who refuses to reserve the glories of his prose only for dramatic subjects or events. A trip to the toilet, a sip of whisky, airport departure lounges: everything is noticed, respected, attended to. The local result is …

Books December 24, 2016

Books 2016 #1

Reviewers' picks from the year in print.

Books April 23, 2016

Zero K

It is the fate of Don DeLillo to have written long enough and well enough for his style to become a template. Like Hemingway, or Cormac McCarthy, his voice elicits more than mere admiration but has become the stuff of parody. Calibrated neutrality of …

Books March 19, 2016

The Painted Ocean

Shruti is 11 years old when her father walks out on the family, never to return. She is left behind with a mother who speaks no English, in a town where she is the only South Asian girl at school. Her mother works from home, making girls’ dresses …

Books February 06, 2016

The Noise of Time

Originally The Noise of Time was the title of a series of autobiographical sketches by Russian-Jewish poet Osip Mandelstam – and Mandelstam, who came of age in the early days of the revolution, stands high in the martyrology of the Stalin …