books

books May 21, 2022

Homesickness

Two women meet in a cafe. One asks permission to write the other’s life “while she lives it”. The writer is a compassionate and observant interlocutor. Her subject, Jin, is wary and evasive. Their conversation examines words survivors of violence...

books May 21, 2022

Late Journals

Antigone Kefala, 86, is both a poet and prose writer. She was born in Romania and relocated to Australia in 1959 after living in Greece and New Zealand. Late Journals is the final in a trilogy that began with Summer Visit (2003), followed by Sydney...

books May 21, 2022

Small Things Like These

Great literature is properly immune to spoilers, having at its core an ambiguity of truth sourced directly from the complex and often contradictory essences of life itself. It isn’t enough that something dramatic, or even beautiful, happens in a...

books May 14, 2022

Daisy and Woolf

We all know – or think we know – what happens in Virginia Woolf’s celebrated novel Mrs Dalloway , first published almost a century ago. It concerns a day in the life of a London society hostess as she prepares for and then holds a party in the years...

books May 14, 2022

The Shortest History of India

How does a writer condense 5000 years of Indian history into a single short book without losing themselves in what they’re omitting? India is a fluid tessellation of ethnicities and languages that shift through the blooming of religions, the clash...

books April 30, 2022

Where the Light Gets In

Where the Light Gets In is Zoë Coyle’s debut novel and, much like its protagonist, it’s messy. Delphi is 26, living in London, and her life is just starting to slot into place. She’s met a guy and, after struggling to find a job after art school,...

books April 23, 2022

Keeping Them Honest

After absorbing the first pages of this book, most readers will, one suspects, mentally substitute “the bastards” for “them” in its title. Keeping Them Honest: The case for a genuine national integrity commission and other vital democratic reforms...

books April 23, 2022

Mothertongues

Almost the first thing you find in Mothertongues is a QR code to the soundtrack that singer–songwriter Keppie Coutts created to be part of the reading experience. This work, co-written by Ceridwen Dovey and Eliza Bell, is in a category all its own,...

books April 23, 2022

Other Houses

In her visceral, compassionate 2017 biography The Trauma Cleaner , Sarah Krasnostein prodded open doors we prefer to keep shut. She detailed the life and work of Sandra Pankhurst, founder of Specialised Trauma Cleaning Services. Cleaner and...

books April 16, 2022

Young Mungo

As with his Booker Prize-winning debut, Shuggie Bain , Douglas Stuart’s second novel, Young Mungo , describes a grim world. It’s populated by people who are crushed by political and economic decisions made by distant bureaucracies devoid of...

books April 16, 2022

Sadvertising

Ennis Ćehić has done something remarkable – in a book of 50 stories, only one of them reads like filler. Sadvertising feels complete, well rounded and carefully planned and structured. The experience of reading this collection is like being...