books

books April 10, 2021

A Swim in the Pond in the Rain

In the introductory chapter of A Swim in the Pond in the Rain , George Saunders describes what he has written as a “workbook”. It is a term, he says, that “kept coming to mind” as he was writing, and one that feels fitting because what has resulted...

books April 10, 2021

From Where I Fell

Susan Johnson has written eight novels, a memoir and a nonfiction work. Her latest effort is a contemporary version of the epistolary book once popular in the 18th century. From Where I Fell is a narrative conducted entirely through online...

books April 10, 2021

Still Alive

I first became familiar with Safdar Ahmed’s work through his webcomic about his fraught relationship with his father, The Good Son . It showed Ahmed’s knack for illustrating the mind’s landscape, his death-metal-inspired illustrations giving an...

books April 3, 2021

No Document

There are books readers like. There are books we love. There are even books that, occasionally, we might say we adore. But there is a fourth category, home to another book entirely: the book we have written. Not literally, perhaps – self-...

books April 3, 2021

Sunburnt Veils

Sara Haghdoosti’s young adult novel Sunburnt Veils is the story of Tara, an Iranian Australian who is completing the first year of her medical science degree. Her ambition to be a model student is perpetually interrupted by grief, family, friendship...

books August 5, 2017

Pulse Points

It’s quite the ballsy thing for a writer to name-drop Raymond Carver smack-bang in the middle of their own collection of short stories, and almost a direct challenge when they do it more than once. “Carver, that’s advanced,” remarks an impressed...

books August 5, 2017

Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash

This is the third novel in translation from Eka Kurniawan, an Indonesian wunderkind whose Beauty Is a Wound was an unlikely smash in 2015 and was followed the same year by Man Tiger , which made the Man Booker International Prize longlist in 2016...

books July 29, 2017

The Student

It’s 1994 and Nate Byrne is a business student in the small university town of Gatton, Queensland. He sells weed on the side, but his friend/dealer Jesse has disappeared, precipitating a drug-drought. When a couple of violent bikies turn up looking...

books July 29, 2017

On the Java Ridge

The Java Ridge is a boat ferrying Australian surf tourists from Bali to the killer breaks found off remote Indonesian islands to the south. Stand-in captain Isi Natoli is at the helm, while her partner, Joel, is in Perth, trying to save the business...

books July 29, 2017

Blind Spot

A sixth of the way into this book of photographs by Teju Cole, the author includes a picture of a rubbly street in Lagos. The accompanying text, though, discusses the art of American painter Cy Twombly, which interests him, he tells us, for its use...

books July 22, 2017

Taboo

Some of the most exciting, tonally ambitious and uncompromising fiction that has been published in Australia in recent years has come from Aboriginal authors – most notably, the remarkable Waanyi writer Alexis Wright and the extraordinary Noongar...