books

books September 23, 2017

The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc

It begins with the Maid of Orléans, history’s most charismatic female hero, languishing in an English dungeon. Great ladies glide through and brutish guards hurl abuse, but none suspect her secret: the warrior virgin who led an army and changed the...

books September 23, 2017

Force of Nature

“Later, the four remaining women could fully agree on only two things. One: No one saw the bushland swallow up Alice Russell. And two: Alice had a mean streak so sharp it could cut you.” Jane Harper sure knows how to start a novel, and with a...

books September 23, 2017

Home Fire

Home Fire is a novel of such acute insight into our contemporary condition that it’s a bit of a shock to realise it’s based on a play written 2500 years ago. Author Kamila Shamsie signals her debt to Sophocles’ Antigone with her epigraph: “The ones...

books September 16, 2017

Flights

How does one approach the art of travel writing? Some writers observe themselves as much as other people and places; others report on adventures in exotic locales; others look for the authentic through the anthropological. Flights , a travel book by...

books September 16, 2017

Detours

A self-described “lanky, shaggy D-list” celebrity and dandy who strives to be Noël Coward but fears he is Steptoe, Tim Rogers, lead singer of You Am I, reveals that these days the “swagger” in his walk comes from two knee reconstructions. “This is...

books September 16, 2017

Rain Birds

Harriet McKnight’s debut novel is a rather bleak and dispiriting portrait of two women on the verge of nervous breakdowns, and of a world on the verge of environmental catastrophe. Pina Marinelli is a middle-aged woman whose husband has early onset...

books September 9, 2017

A New England Affair

This is the third novel in Steven Carroll’s T. S. Eliot collection, inspired by the poet’s famous Four Quartets series. Here, he interrogates the perspective of Eliot’s secret platonic mistress, the somewhat doomed Emily Hale, who we meet as a...

books September 9, 2017

The Choke

Miles Franklin-winner Sofie Laguna has developed such a characteristic literary style that it’s easy to forget that The Choke is only her third novel for adults. Here, her child narrator is Justine Lee, who is 10 in the early ’70s when the story...

books September 9, 2017

Autumn

Karl Ove Knausgaard is the writer since Roberto Bolaño and David Foster Wallace, both alas dead mid-career, for whom the highest claims are made internationally. His multi-volume My Struggle saga asks to be taken as seriously as a work of fiction...

books September 2, 2017

The Book of Dirt

Bram Presser once came upon his grandfather in the backyard of his Melbourne home. The old man, a Holocaust survivor, was running his fingers through the dirt and incanting a prayer. Suddenly, he thrust a fistful of earth at the sky. When he turned...

books September 2, 2017

The Museum of Words

“A memoir of dying is exceptionally wrenching,” wrote the novelist Tom Rachman in 2016, “because we know the end at the beginning, and so meet with an effortful, pulsing person who will soon be neither.” In the pages of The Museum of Words , we meet...