books

books April 20, 2019

Unspeakable

Silence is not always golden, as the prizewinning British journalist and filmmaker Harriet Shawcross attests in Unspeakable . At the age of 13, she tells us, she lost the ability to speak more than was absolutely necessary to function. Nearly one...

books April 20, 2019

Tired of Winning

Tired of Winning: A Chronicle of American Decline collects into one volume selected dispatches from Richard Cooke, The Monthly ’s United States correspondent. Taken together, they evoke life in Trump’s America and showcase the work of an ascendant...

books April 20, 2019

The Island of Sea Women

The bloody Cold War history of South Korea’s picturesque Jeju Island is not well known, even among mainland Koreans. And yet it’s estimated that more than 25,000 civilians were killed as part of a government-led anti-communist campaign between 1947...

books April 13, 2019

Bent Books’ Kat Mulheran

A chat among the books in a Brisbane bookshop institution.

books April 13, 2019

The Place on Dalhousie

Melina Marchetta’s latest novel opens in a downpour lasting “forty days and forty nights”, establishing a sense of providence that runs through The Place on Dalhousie . While a rural town floods with sorrow, blow-ins Rosie Gennaro and Jimmy Hailler...

books April 13, 2019

Fled

Mary Bryant was a Cornishwoman transported with the First Fleet for highway robbery. After three years in Sydney, she masterminded the first escape from the nascent colony. Her story was the subject of an ABC television drama in the 1960s and a...

books April 13, 2019

The Colonial Fantasy

“Language is important,” Sarah Maddison tells us at the start of The Colonial Fantasy , a necessary and purposefully confronting book. She sets out the vocabulary on which she believes any discussion of black–white relations in this country must be...

books April 6, 2019

Invented Lives

The London-based literary agent Ed Victor once said to the writer Susan Johnson that he’d never come across a people more insecure about their relationship with their homeland than Australians – except, of course, the Russians. So perhaps it makes...

books April 6, 2019

Mouthful of Birds

The 20 short stories in this collection by Argentinian writer Samanta Schweblin ooze with menace, seethe with anxiety and bristle with humour. The children of a mining town in “Underground” excavate a mysterious mound of dirt and then themselves...

books April 6, 2019

Hollywood Godfather

This memoir tells of the author’s journey from polio-stricken child in postwar New York’s Little Italy to owner of Las Vegas’s hottest club in the late 1980s, where success was ensured by connections to Hollywood, politics, the mob, and “just plain...

books April 6, 2019

Remaking history with novelist Jordy Rosenberg

In his intricate debut novel, Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg entwines the lives of an 18th-century transgender thief and the academic who becomes obsessed with his story. In doing so, Rosenberg aims to counteract the historical erasure – and the continuing persecution – of trans people. “There are many things missing from archives but sometimes even what is there can obscure more than it reveals.”