Reviewer: AF

By this author

Books June 13, 2015

Forever Young

[TOC:ul In this story] Forever Young is a suitably ironic title for a book about growing inexorably away from our earlier selves. Its cover image of an old tree, gnarled and blasted sideways by prevailing winds, suggests as much: actually we …

Books May 30, 2015

Girl at War

[TOC:ul In this story] In the second part of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, a character famously observes that there is no book so bad that some good may not be found in it. That notion is tested by Girl at War. Sara Nović’s debut arrives …

Books May 02, 2015

All Involved

[TOC:ul In this story] On the night of March 3, 1991, George Holliday, woken by police sirens, looked down from his Lake View Terrace, Los Angeles, apartment to see a group of LAPD officers attempting to subdue the driver of a car following a high-speed …

Books April 25, 2015


[TOC:ul In this story] It is hard not to love a novel that depicts its teenaged anti-hero perched atop a toilet block roof in the small hours of a “stormwater blue” Sydney night, holding a Chiko Roll up to the moon’s glow as though it once belonged …

Books February 28, 2015

The Anchoress

[TOC:ul In this story] Incorrigibly plural in its attentions, inherently secular in its scepticism, the novel is a form unamenable to exploring the closed systems of religious belief. As Milan Kundera once put it, religion “can cope with the novel …

Books January 31, 2015

The Illuminations

[TOC:ul In this story] Just as a careful reading of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina will (among other things, admittedly) yield the recipe for raspberry cognac jam, Andrew O’Hagan’s fifth novel – and, along with the exquisitely melancholic Be …

Books December 20, 2014

Books 2014 #1

Selections from a year in print. Best New Talent, Guilty Pleasure, Most Overrated, Most Unwelcome.

Books November 22, 2014

The Book of Strange New Things

[TOC:ul In this story] Michel Faber’s new novel (his sixth and, according to the author, his last) is a work of science fiction in the same way that Philip Larkin’s “Church Going” is a religious poem. In each instance, generic conventions are …

Books October 18, 2014

Merciless Gods

[TOC:ul In this story] How can it be that in an era when literature’s power to shock has been tested to the point of exhaustion, Christos Tsiolkas retains the ability to do just that? Think back to the most determinedly decadent writers in recent Anglosphere …