books

books June 27, 2020

On Robyn Davidson

It begins with lightkeeper Esther Nunn, inspired after she is sent Tracks by a friend. Or it begins with author Anna Krien, for whom Robyn Davidson has been a moral compass since, as a child, Krien saw Davidson on the cover of National Geographic ...

books June 27, 2020

Hazelwood

Melbourne author Tom Doig’s book about the 45-day fire at the Hazelwood open-cut coalmine, located less than 500 metres from the Gippsland town of Morwell, was five years in the making. Its publication was then delayed by another year because of...

books June 27, 2020

Smart Ovens for Lonely People

As a frantic March rolled into an accepting April, sliding into a complacent May, the “apocalypse”, now boring, has disappeared into June. The “new normal” became old in the time it took to say the phrase; in supermarket aisles, I’m the only person...

books June 20, 2020

Rodham

Rodham starts with an epigraph from Hillary Clinton’s 2017 memoir, What Happened . “My marriage to Bill Clinton was the most consequential decision of my life. I said no the first two times he asked me. But the third time, I said yes. And I’d do it...

books June 20, 2020

The Road

Not to be confused with Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece, John Martinkus’s book nonetheless offers its own dystopian nightmare. The opening pages credit “all the West Papuans, dead and alive, who have dedicated their lives to justice since the illegal...

books June 20, 2020

The Trials of Portnoy

It’s instructive to remember what a relatively illiberal society Australia was only a few decades ago and this account of the obscenity court cases about Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint in the early 1970s – written by a young author who wrote a...

books June 13, 2020

Minor Detail

In its broad strokes, Minor Detail is a blistering allegory about state violence and the conscription of women’s bodies. In its minor details, it offers a piercing account of everyday life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. A “dump...

books June 13, 2020

Rise & Shine

Patrick Allington’s second novel, Rise & Shine , drops us headfirst into a future in the wake of an ecological catastrophe that claimed the lives of more than eight billion people. The survivors reside in the city-states of Rise and Shine, which...

books June 13, 2020

The Rain Heron

Set in an unnamed country that has recently undergone a violent coup, Robbie Arnott’s The Rain Heron is a novel of a land suffused with wild animal magic: a heron that can create vast storms; a species of squid whose ink has miraculous properties...

books June 6, 2020

Nerve

For as long as Canadian writer Eva Holland can remember, she has had two major fears – the death of her mother, and heights. When her mother unexpectedly dies of a stroke and, a few months later, Holland finds herself frozen in terror while ice...

books June 6, 2020

Breasts and Eggs

Breasts and Eggs , Mieko Kawakami’s first novel to be translated into English, explores the mundane indignity of inhabiting a woman’s body. It opens with 30-year-old Natsuko meeting her elder sister Makiko and sullen adolescent niece Midoriko at...