books

books February 17, 2018

The Melody

Somewhere in Europe, on a dark night, in a decaying seaside villa, a lonely old widower confronts an intruder in his kitchen. Alfred Busi has long been accustomed to the nightly din created by wild dogs, cats, monkeys, deer, pigs and rats that...

books February 17, 2018

The Passengers

Sarah and her granddaughter Hannah are travelling from San Diego to Australia by cruise liner. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as well as the completing of a circle: Sarah was a war bride who left her family back in Sydney in 1946 to sail to the...

books February 16, 2018

Redemption Point

Candice Fox’s latest comes with an endorsement from genre legend James Patterson, identifying Fox as “A bright new star of crime fiction.” It’s perhaps not an impartial view, as the pair have written bestselling novels together, but that doesn’t...

books February 10, 2018

Restless Souls

In Dan Sheehan’s debut novel, four Irish friends, Tom, Baz, Gabriel and Karl, exit high school with varying degrees of ambition. Narrator Karl fancies himself a photographer of bleak spaces, while Tom heads off to war-torn Sarajevo as an unqualified...

books February 10, 2018

The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The story of Lale Sokolov’s three years in Auschwitz-Birkenau was recounted by him to Heather Morris, in Melbourne, as he neared the age of 90. Gita, his wife of almost 60 years, had recently died and Lale was eager, before he joined her, to tell...

books February 10, 2018

Feel Free

Given the plots of her novels and the range of her essays, what is it about Zadie Smith, of all the noughties whiz-kid writers, that makes her readers feel as if they know her personally? She’s not particularly confessional; if anything, she’s...

books February 3, 2018

Sign

Children in peril make for gripping stories – think The Brothers Grimm and Dickens, A Series of Unfortunate Events and All the Light We Cannot See . In Sign , Colin Dray’s debut thriller, the child in question is Sam, a young boy recovering from an...

books February 3, 2018

The Only Story

Julian Barnes is the de facto novelist laureate of the English postwar middle classes. Across his handful of novels and many short-story collections, he has held a mirror to the world of middle managers and provincial bankers, treating their myths...

books February 3, 2018

Peach

“Thick stick sticky sticking wet ragged wool winding round the wounds …” The stuttering, staccato poetry of Emma Glass’s dark and surreal debut novel grabs you by the throat from the very first sentence and throws you straight into the head of the...

books January 27, 2018

Bottled

Bottled is the right word for this graphic novel by Chris Gooch, a young and accomplished member of a talented field of comics-makers coming out of Melbourne and debuting on the international stage. You don’t know what kind of book this is until...

books January 27, 2018

The Water Will Come

Reading – or even writing – a book about climate change isn’t the same as doing something about it. But surely we can take heart from the fact that books on the subject continue to be published. That must mean it’s a lucrative genre, indicative of...