Reviewer: ZC

By this author


Books May 26, 2018

Calypso

Calypso, a collection of 21 essays and sketches by David Sedaris holds no surprises – not a bad thing, necessarily. As a professional kvetch and cartographer of foibles global and intimate for more than two decades, Sedaris has refined his …

Books April 07, 2018

The Neighbourhood

Mario Vargas Llosa is a great writer. Part of the experimental Latin American vanguard of the ’60s and ’70s, and awarded the Nobel Prize in literature in 2010, his influence has echoed through the decades. However, it’s possible for a great writer …

Books November 11, 2017

Heather, the Totality

Matthew Weiner was a key figure in the rise of “premium cable” television. As a writer and executive producer on The Sopranos, and the creator and showrunner of Mad Men, Weiner helped usher in the age of high-prestige novelistic …

Books September 30, 2017

The Necessary Angel

A publisher once told me, in a particularly fatalistic mood, that fiction is writing about human nature and literary fiction is writing about white people slowly getting divorced. The Necessary Angel is a work of literary fiction. Set circa …

Books September 01, 2017

My Absolute Darling

Fourteen-year-old Julie “Turtle” Alveston lives with her father, Martin, in rural California, where he trains her in shooting and hunting, and to be distrustful of anyone outside the family. He fears for her future in a lawless, cataclysmic world …

Books August 12, 2017

The Town

The Town is Shaun Prescott’s full-length fiction debut and the sophomore novel from The Lifted Brow – the avant-garde Australian literary mag that, since moving into trade publishing last year, has championed writers whose ideas …

Books July 29, 2017

The Student

It’s 1994 and Nate Byrne is a business student in the small university town of Gatton, Queensland. He sells weed on the side, but his friend/dealer Jesse has disappeared, precipitating a drug-drought. When a couple of violent bikies turn up looking …

Books May 20, 2017

The 7th Function of Language

In Paris, 1980, Roland Barthes – the famous literary critic, linguist and semiologist – was fatally injured when knocked down by a delivery van just after he’d had lunch with then presidential candidate François Mitterrand. This incident, historically …

Books May 06, 2017

The Lost Pages

Vogel award winner Marija Peričić’s titular lost pages are a fictionalised memoir by Max Brod – a successful author in his day, but best remembered as Franz Kafka’s friend, mentor and champion. It was Brod who refused Kafka’s dying wish that …

Books December 10, 2016

Absolutely on Music

There’s a quote that has been attributed to every eloquent jerk in music from Frank Zappa to Thelonius Monk: that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. Absolutely on Music is a book comprising six conversations between …

Books September 10, 2016

Bright, Precious Days

Bright, Precious Days is the third novel that follows Corrine and Russell Calloway, Jay McInerney’s Ivy League husband and wife team, emblematic of all the hedonism, ambition and callow lust for life, sex and drugs of New York in the ’80s. Corrine …

Books June 11, 2016

Smoke

There’s a scene in Charles Dickens’ novel Dombey and Son where the narrator watches over a London slum, choked with smog and pestilence, and imagines a world where moral decay was as visible as the dirt that choked the era. A century-and-a-half …

Books November 21, 2015

Home Is Burning

As we join our hero, self-described “spoiled white asshole” Dan Marshall, he is with his girlfriend. They are celebrating her 24th birthday by “eating and fucking” through an idyll at a resort when he learns that his father, Bob, has been diagnosed …

Books September 05, 2015

Fever of Animals

Miles, a young man and failed artist, is in hermitage in a dusty cottage outside Berlin. He is ostensibly working on a book about a mysterious Romanian surrealist painter but really mourning the death of his father and the loss of his girlfriend. That’s …

Books March 14, 2015

The Mirror World of Melody Black

Abby, the narrator of The Mirror World of Melody Black, is a freelance writer with impulse control problems. In the first chapter, she finds her neighbour dead when she knocks on his door. She is unperturbed and steals the dead man’s cigarettes …

Books March 07, 2015

The Buried Giant

In England circa AD600 elderly couple Axl and Beatrice abandon their life in a bleak, primitive village and set out on a journey to see their long-absent and half-remembered son.  This is an England steeped in magic, and obscured by a mist that …

Books November 01, 2014

Silk Road

Silk Road was a “deep web” online marketplace, hidden from standard search engines, where, between early 2011 and late 2013, users could order illicit substances of all types and have them delivered safely and anonymously to their door. It had its …