books

books May 27, 2017

Anaesthesia

Even to its practitioners, there are things about anaesthesia that remain a mystery – such as, where exactly it fits on the spectrum of consciousness. A state of general anaesthesia is rendered not by a single drug, but by a lights-out cocktail...

books May 27, 2017

Ache

A year after bushfire devastated the small mountainside town where she grew up, Annie leaves her city life and strained marriage and returns with her young daughter, Pip, to the scene of the destruction. Annie clearly isn’t coping with the lingering...

books May 27, 2017

To Become a Whale

Australian coastal Gothic coming-of-age novels are perennially popular with readers and they come with a number of conventions. Ben Hobson’s debut, To Become a Whale , taps all of them neatly. It’s set in 1961, in coastal Queensland. Our sensitive,...

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,...

books May 20, 2017

Men without Women

Murakami’s fiction is instantly recognisable. There is usually a central enigma, cats, a missing person, a strange woman, surreal or playful events, Western pop cultural references, and long dialogues between characters who share their life stories...

books May 20, 2017

New Philosopher, Issue 16

In the way of an amuse-bouche: the average Brit spends five hours a week watching television food programs but only four hours a week cooking; when noise exceeds 89 decibels, the brain has trouble discerning salty from sweet, but umami is unaffected...

books May 13, 2017

Closing Down

Some time in a not-too-distant future, with an increasingly inhospitable climate, a faceless authoritarian Australian government – unable to support a sparse population – is forcing people into overcrowded “inclusion zones”. The outside world is...

books May 13, 2017

The Last Garden

The opening sentence of Eva Hornung’s seventh novel, The Last Garden , encapsulates how strange and how mesmerising in her clarity her writing can be: On a mild Nebelung’s afternoon, Matthias Orion, having lived as an exclamation mark in the...

books May 13, 2017

The Only Girl in the World

The Etruscan god Orcus feasted on human flesh; his name inspired the French word “ogre”. The word makes its appearance very late in Maude Julien’s harrowing, heartbreaking, and against-all-odds uplifting memoir The Only Girl in the World , but the...

books May 6, 2017

Disappearing Off the Face of the Earth

This second novel from David Cohen, a well-regarded short-fiction author, concerns Ken, whose narration seems deliberately bland; he’s a bit of a no-hoper but one competent enough to have opened a depressing self-storage facility in a desolate part...

books May 6, 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 his...