books

books July 31, 2021

In Her Own Words

Pop fans may crave new music, but pop “stans” – the armies of obsessive, starry-eyed teenagers and misguided adults who dedicate their lives to worshipping pop idols and cyberbullying anyone who dares to badmouth them – crave access. Where a...

books July 31, 2021

Nightbitch

Rachel Yoder’s Nightbitch is a multifarious howl. It holds the incandescence of female rage, the thrill of unbridled song pitched at the moon, the theatrical gesture, the pain of the wounded. The story’s register is a hybrid of dark fairytale,...

books July 31, 2021

The Brilliant Boy: Doc Evatt and the Great Australian Dissent

This book is about two brilliant boys. The first is the gifted and driven Bert or Doc Evatt. Of lower- middle-class origins, he went to Sydney’s Fort Street Boys’ High and on to law at Sydney University, winning prizes and scholarships all the way...

books July 24, 2021

Men without Country

Hear “mutiny”, think “ Bounty ”. The shipboard rebellion of 1789 has enjoyed a long and fertile afterlife. It has inspired three films and more than a dozen books, fiction and nonfiction alike, including several titles promising the “true story”...

books July 24, 2021

After Story

Larissa Behrendt’s second novel, the award-winning Legacy (2009), explored the influence of the father. Her new book, After Story , turns her gaze to the matriarchy, which she examines through the fractured relationship of Jasmine, a successful city...

books July 24, 2021

Gentle and Fierce

There are complex, fundamental questions around how we relate to non-human animals. How can we find a way to organise our systems so they are not exploitative or degrading and are not poisoning the land and water we all depend on? What might a...

books July 17, 2021

The Tribute

W. H. Auden loved detective fiction for the soothing inevitability of its narrative arc. An ordered world is disturbed by an act of murder. The person responsible for that crime is sought, discovered and punished. The world is returned to rights...

books July 17, 2021

Terminal Boredom

Terminal Boredom is a welcome introduction to the Japanese writer Izumi Suzuki, translated here for the first time into English. It’s a collection of funny, bleak and surprising science fiction stories that gnaw at the wobbliness of identity, the...

books July 17, 2021

The Others

Who – or what – are The Others? This question is asked from the opening pages of Mark Brandi’s exquisite new novel. Are they decivilised humans, as in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road ? Are they members of an off-the-grid cult? Are they something other...

books July 10, 2021

Heaven

I was only a few pages into this book when I realised I was gritting my teeth, despite admiring the author’s sharp observations of teen angst, existentialism and desire. That’s because the prevailing mood of this slim novel is dread. The protagonist...

books July 10, 2021

The Mother Wound

“Are we all narcissists who simply haven’t chosen violence yet?” asks Lebanese–Australian lawyer, artist and author Amani Haydar, who was catapulted to public life in 2015 when her father murdered her mother, Salwa. There were no warning signs. He’d...