books

books November 28, 2020

Collected Stories

Much is always made of the facility with which people quote verse in Shirley Hazzard’s worlds. In a 2004 interview for The Believer , Hazzard said, “It’s quite intentional. You see, books were a theme of life, a lifetime, for whole populations who...

books November 28, 2020

Factory 19

When faced with our difficult present, we sometimes turn to the past and swaddle ourselves in nostalgia for whichever time our personal tastes elect as having been “better”. Factory 19 , Dennis Glover’s second novel, is a story in which this impulse...

books November 28, 2020

Leave the World Behind

“What is happening?” the adults in Rumaan Alam’s third novel keep asking one another. Amanda and Clay, a middle-class white couple, have rented an isolated Airbnb to get away from New York for a few days with their two teenage children, Rose and...

books November 21, 2020

What Is To Be Done

The climate crisis demands urgent action. Our democracy, with its “oligarchic” major parties – “shelf companies” with “small, ageing memberships” that serve as little more than “executive-placement agencies” – and an “infantile” standard of...

books November 21, 2020

The Fifth Season

When I first started reading Philip Salom’s latest novel, The Fifth Season , I thought I was in for a real treat. The set-up is engagingly noirish. Jack, a writer, moves into a holiday rental at the end of summer, with plans to write a book about “...

books November 21, 2020

Collisions

Kyle Sandilands as prime minister, ethnic suburbs on stolen lands being gentrified and our souls being illegally uploaded to computers: these are just some of the speculative imaginings within the 16 stories of Liminal magazine’s debut anthology,...

books November 14, 2020

Witness

In the decade to 2018, 52,396 sexual assaults were reported to the New South Wales Police Force. Charges were laid in 12,894 cases, and 7629 cases proceeded to court. Just 7 per cent of initial reports – 3827 cases – ultimately saw a guilty verdict...

books November 14, 2020

Ghosts

Dolly Alderton exited her 20s with her best-selling memoir, Everything I Know About Love , in which she writes about female friendships keeping her grounded. In Alderton’s debut novel, protagonist Nina notes that her friend only reads “overhyped...

books November 14, 2020

Infinite Splendours

Sofie Laguna has established herself as a writer who renders the world in vivid detail through the eyes of children. She skilfully shows how childhood can be punctured by brutality: the first-person protagonists of her two previous novels are...

books November 7, 2020

The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida

Clarissa Goenawan’s The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is written like a homage to Haruki Murakami. At the heart of the story lies a dead woman, the titular character whose death – as it’s revealed from the get-go – occurred under mysterious...

books November 7, 2020

Red Pill

For his sixth novel, Hari Kunzru posits a line between sanity and madness so tenuous, the slightest nudge from a malevolent actor can send someone hurtling into the mental abyss. A modestly successful but self-doubting author accepts a fellowship at...