books

books August 17, 2019

The Borgias

You couldn’t make up the Borgias. After Giuliano della Rovere – the man who would become Pope Julius II, the great warrior Pope who commissioned the Sistine Chapel ceiling from Michelangelo – finally took the chair of St Peter in 1503, he said, “I...

books August 17, 2019

Inland

Inland is a novel about many things: about the idea of home, about what drives us and what haunts us, about a world on the cusp of change. But above all, it is a book about secrets – those we keep from the people who know and love us best, but also...

books August 17, 2019

The Enchantment of the Long-haired Rat

That versatile polymath historian Tim Bonyhady’s latest book is nostalgic in the weirdest way. Where, he asks, are the great rat plagues of yesteryear, those rodent hordes that, in times past, regularly swept the back blocks of Queensland, New South...

books August 10, 2019

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl tells the story of a surrogacy from the perspectives of three different women. Meg, a married 39-year-old jeweller from Melbourne, is desperate for a child. Years of IVF treatments have left her bereft, her grief like “a wild animal...

books August 10, 2019

Fake

In 2014 the writer Stephanie Wood returned to what she calls the badlands of online dating. She ended up exchanging emails with “Joe”, who seemed gentle, uncomplicated and only a little bit of a dag. The emails developed into a date and then a...

books August 10, 2019

Bright

At the age of five, Kampol is left sitting on a kerbside by his father, who promises to return. The boy waits, waits, waits, eventually realising his father is not coming back. He floats around his village, raised by the families that surround him,...

books August 3, 2019

Hearing Maud

We live in an age where memoirs arrive thick and fast, and a book deal comes easiest to those in the public eye. When there’s little money in skewering yourself for general consumption unless fame has first taken its toll, it’s unlikely a memoirist...

books August 3, 2019

The Golden State

When San Franciscan academic Daphne returns one morning to collect her daughter, Honey, from day care, it is because she has decided to flee. A student has been killed in a traffic accident in Turkey and she feels responsible. Her husband is stuck...

books July 20, 2019

Novelist and playwright Peter Polites

In his second novel, The Pillars, Peter Polites uses Australia’s fixation on home ownership to explore the intersection of race, class and sexuality – as well as a growing conservatism within the queer community. “If you look at the generic images coming out of the queer community, there is a very specific aesthetic going on that’s obviously tied to race and class … You can be a total slut monster but still operate within a hegemonic discursive framework. There’s nothing radical about reinforcing dominant discourse. To me, that’s the opposite of sexual liberation.”

books July 20, 2019

From Here On, Monsters

Elizabeth Bryer’s From Here On, Monsters is a genuinely exciting debut from an Australian writer. This novel is playful, allegorical and formally ambitious, qualities that lend it a distinctly international flavour, in the way of Peter Carey’s early...

books July 20, 2019

Disappearing Earth

Things go missing in Disappearing Earth . Children. Friends. Lovers. Dogs. Love. Life as it once was and as it seemed it always would be. We learn early on that 11-year-old Alyona, a natural storyteller, “liked, every so often, to bring her [younger...