Reviewer: Peter Craven

By this author

Culture May 16, 2020

The Ratline

This is the story of the kind of Nazi no one wants to know about: one you might find sympathetic. Philippe Sands, barrister and professor of law, has written the weirdest and most compelling possible account of Otto von Wächter, who rose to be a governor …

Culture May 02, 2020

The Adversary

This is a rather extraordinary first novel. It is written in a style that ravishes the reader because it is constantly inventive and nervily inflected with a maximum suggestiveness. Ronnie Scott is superb at capturing the intimations and innuendos that …

Culture March 14, 2020

The Mirror and the Light

Hilary Mantel has been at it for years now with her Wolf Hall/Thomas Cromwell novels and they are a thing of wonder. The nasty Cromwell – not to be confused with the English Civil War chap who ruled a monarchless Britain with a fist of iron …

Culture March 07, 2020

A Couple of Things Before the End

Every so often we’re reminded with a jolt that Australian realism doesn’t – to use Patrick White’s phrase – have to be dun-coloured. In fact it can be kinky, it can be ludic, it can be in the tradition of that shaggiest of shaggy-dog stories, …

Culture November 02, 2019

Yellow Notebook

The myth of Helen Garner’s diaries is immense. When she published Monkey Grip 40-odd years ago, with its riveting depiction of emotional and drug squalors in inner-urban Melbourne, she evoked a world that had never been written about before. …

Culture October 19, 2019

The Second Sleep

Robert Harris is arguably the classiest trashmeister alive, unless we include le Carré, or Thomas Harris on the long-ago basis of the first two Lecter books. But it’s Robert Harris who gave us Fatherland, with its central conceit of the Nazi …

Culture 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, …

Culture June 15, 2019

Faber & Faber: The Untold Story

Faber & Faber always looked like the class act of British publishing. You could tell their paperbacks were just hardbacks slumming it – they even had the same superior paper and on top of that there was the myth of T. S. Eliot as the far-seeing …

Culture June 08, 2019

Everything in Its Place

It’s not hard to see why Oliver Sacks captivated the world. The great neurologist – whose case histories in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat could almost have been science fiction had they not been so crystalline and so compassionate …