Reviewer: Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore

By this author


Culture May 09, 2020

In the Time of Foxes

“In London, where Nina lived, it was the time of foxes.” So begins Australian author Jo Lennan’s book of short stories. But if In the Time of Foxes starts like a fairytale, it reads more like a treatise on the grittiness – the small disappointments, …

Culture February 15, 2020

Cherry Beach

The blurb for Cherry Beach, Melbourne-based author Laura McPhee-Browne’s debut novel, reads like the most tired kind of chick lit. It promises melodrama – in the form of lifelong friendships torn asunder, unrequited love and men gone bad, …

Culture November 02, 2019

Maybe the Horse Will Talk

Elliot Perlman’s new novel, Maybe the Horse Will Talk, centres on a fable that the protagonist, one Stephen Maserov, tells his sons. In the story a tyrannical king decides he no longer finds his jester funny. Realising his life is at risk, …

Culture October 12, 2019

Grand Union

In the short story “Sentimental Education”, Monica, a 19-year-old university student, asks her lover to flip his language around when discussing sex. She tells him: “In a matriarchy, you’d hear women boasting to their mates: ‘I subsumed him …

Culture June 15, 2019

This Excellent Machine

About a third of the way through This Excellent Machine, its teenage protagonist, Clem, finds himself in a cafe on the wrong side of town. This is a place where the footpaths are black, because “they’d waited too long to hose down the vomit”. …

Culture May 11, 2019

On David Malouf

“School, as everyone knows, is where books go to get sterilised,” writes Nam Le in his essay On David Malouf, part of Black Inc’s “Writers on Writers” series. But if a classroom can sound the death knell for a love of literature, Le …

Culture March 23, 2019

Exploded View

Road trips, as epitomised by Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, can be a way to unfetter and unbind. Not in Carrie Tiffany’s Exploded View, though, where a car is described as little more than a “moving coffin”. In 1970s Australia, …

Culture February 09, 2019

Into the Fire

Into the Fire may sound like a thriller or a lurid true-crime story. But while Sonia Orchard’s novel features a death and a mystery, it is, at heart, more of a tale of the ups and downs of female friendship than a whodunit. One year ago Alice …