Author: Emily Paull

Emily Paull is a former bookseller and a future librarian. Her debut book, Well-Behaved Women, was released by Margaret River Press in 2019.
Life After Truth

Book Review: Ceridwen Dovey’s Life After Truth might just be the book we need to round out 2020

November 26, 2020

Ceridwen Dovey‘s latest novel is a bit of a departure from her previous offerings. Set at Harvard University, during the week of a fifteen year reunion, Life After Truth follows five friends as they navigate the many parties and events of the week, all the while wondering if they’ve taken the right path in life. The […]

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Islands of Mercy

Book Review: Rose Tremain’s Islands of Mercy looks promising but under-delivers

November 17, 2020

Well-known English writer, Rose Tremain‘s latest novel, Islands of Mercy explores the concept of places of safety, and contrasts two very different storylines – tenuously connected – in an attempt to explore what it means to have a meaningful life. Unfortunately, while the settings are richly drawn, both plotlines are ponderous and the book fails to excite. […]

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Our Shadows

Book Review: The great wave of family history hangs over the characters in Gail Jones’s Our Shadows

November 3, 2020

Gail Jones‘s latest book, Our Shadows, looks at the history of a Kalgoorlie family through three generations. The story is told from several points of view; from those of Frances and Nell, two sisters who were raised by their grandparents in the fictional Midas Street, Kalgoorlie (located in the ‘shadow’ of the super pit) after the […]

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Schoolmaster's Daughter

Book Review: A girl and a nation come of age in Jackie French’s The Schoolmaster’s Daughter

October 29, 2020

It’s hard to keep track of just how many books Jackie French has published. This year alone she will have published five books and according to her website, her total publications number around two hundred. French describes herself as an “Australian author, ecologist, historian, dyslexic and honourary wombat.” It’s not hard to see why generations […]

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Miwako Sumida

Book Review: Clarissa Goenawan’s The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida is a novel that examines a tragedy from three sides

October 22, 2020

Clarissa Goenawan‘s second novel The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida may tread familiar ground for her fans. While Goenawan is an Indonesian-born Singaporean writer, both this and her debut novel Rainbirds are set in Tokyo. Perhaps it is only fitting, then, that Sharlene Teo compares Goenawan’s writing to that of Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, calling this novel […]

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Only Happiness Here

Book Review: Gabrielle Carey searches for the secrets of happiness in the pages of a near-forgotten writer

September 30, 2020

Gabrielle Carey may have written more in the field of biography, but is best known as the co-author of Puberty Blues, written alongside Kathy Lette. Her latest offering, Only Happiness Here: In Search of Elizabeth von Arnim combines the straight accounting of the twentieth century writer’s life with a form of literary analysis and memoir that has […]

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Book Review: Laura Elvery’s second collection is anything but ordinary

September 22, 2020

The premise for Brisbane writer, Laura Elvery’s second collection of short fiction, Ordinary Matter, is enticing. Inspired by the twenty times a woman has won a Nobel Prize for scientific research, it is a collection about womanhood, feminism and motherhood. But, also about big issues which are very much prescient today, such as climate change and politics. From […]

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The Wreck

Book Review: Adventure and rebellion on the high seas combine in Meg Keneally’s The Wreck

September 17, 2020

1819, Manchester. Sarah McCaffrey and her mother Emily attend a talk at St Peter’s Field by the renowned orator and reformist Harold Hartford (a fictional character based on Henry Hunt). The establishment, wary of the revolutionary sentiments growing among the poorer working classes in the shadow of the French Revolution some twenty years earlier, have […]

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The Mother Fault

Book Review: Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault is deservedly one of this year’s most hyped Australian novels

September 10, 2020

In an indeterminate future Australia where everything is run by The Department, Mim’s husband, Ben, goes missing. Unable to track him using the technology that all citizens are fitted with, members of The Department begin asking questions. They claim to be concerned for his welfare, but they take Mim’s passport and those of her two […]

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In The Time of Foxes

Book Review: Take a trip around the world in Jo Lennan’s In the Time of Foxes

September 3, 2020

A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; an escapee from a cult in Japan; a Sydney cafe-owner rekindling an old flame; an English tutor who gets too close to an oligarch; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate. These are just some of the characters and situations which readers will […]

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The Spill

Book Review: Imbi Neeme’s The Spill explores the ins and outs of family ties

August 27, 2020

Imbi Neeme‘s debut novel The Spill was released in June, in the midst of a pandemic. Rather than despairing at the changed world of publishing that her first novel was born into, Neeme embraced the challenges and opportunities that this brought. She has since launched a campaign to support those Victorian Writers who, like herself, were […]

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Anne Tyler

Book Review: Redhead by the Side of the Road, the latest novel from Anne Tyler is short and delightful

July 22, 2020

For those of you not familiar with Anne Tyler, Redhead by the Side of the Road is her 23rd novel. She is a former Pulitzer Prize winner, has been shortlisted for both the Booker Prize and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, and  was a participant in the Hogarth Shakespeare project which also saw the likes […]

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Tara June Winch wins the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Award in special online event

July 16, 2020

Tara June Winch has taken out the top prize in Australia’s most prestigious literary award for 2020 for her stunning novel, The Yield.  The Miles Franklin Literary Award was announced during a live Youtube broadcast hosted by ABC Radio Sydney/ The Bookshelf‘s Cassie McCullagh. The virtual event was another of the many examples we have seen in […]

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The Vanishing Half

Book Review: Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half is every bit as good as promised

July 9, 2020

The release of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half early last month was met with great excitement, with the book quickly becoming a bestseller. Bennett’s sophomore novel is the story of the Vignes twins, Stella and Desiree, who grow up in an American town called Mallard during the 1960s. There are two things to know about Mallard […]

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Necessary People

Book Review: Necessary People is an underwhelming portrait of ambition and jealousy in the world of TV news

June 18, 2020

Anna Pitoniak’s new novel Necessary People has a blurb quote from Stephen King on its front cover, and one from Lee Child on its back. In fact, the first couple of pages of the book are devoted to quotes from publications like Refinery29 and Marie Claire, exclaiming how much their reviewers loved this book. Yet Pitoniak’s second […]

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Conjure Women

Book Review: Afia Atakora delivers a cautionary tale about the narratives of history in Conjure Women

June 11, 2020

Set in the years immediately preceding and immediately after the American Civil War, Afia Atakora‘s debut novel Conjure Women is an exploration of both what it meant to be a woman and what it meant to be a slave in the Antebellum South. Conjure Women is the story of Rue, a ‘conjure woman’ in a small community made up […]

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Melting Moments

Book Review: One woman’s life tracks gently alongside the pull of history in Anna Goldsworthy’s Melting Moments

May 26, 2020

It is hard to believe that Melting Moments is a debut novel. Not only is the name Anna Goldsworthy a familiar one in the Australian literary scene, but the writing inside this novel is so accomplished that it feels effortless to read. Melting Moments is the story of Ruby, following her from her days as a young woman, […]

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Fauna

Book Review: Donna Mazza makes a spectacular return with Fauna

May 1, 2020

It’s been thirteen years since WA writer, Donna Mazza, won the prestigious City of Fremantle T.A.G. Hungerford award for her novel, The Albanian. But her second book, Fauna, out earlier this year through Allen and Unwin was certainly worth the wait. Set in 2037, in an Australia which shows only subtle differences from our own, […]

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The Women’s Prize for Fiction announces 2020 longlist

March 3, 2020

The longlist for the 2020 Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced at midnight GMT on March 3rd, with many avid UK booklovers staying up in anticipation of the announcement. Now in its 25th year, the prize was previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction and until recently was the Bailey’s Prize for Fiction. It […]

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Wild Fearless Chests

Book Review: Mandy Beaumont’s Wild Fearless Chests is a visceral tour de force

March 1, 2020

The line between short stories and poetry is thin in Mandy Beaumont’s debut collection, Wild Fearless Chests, which was published earlier in the year by Hachette, off the back of a shortlisting in both the Richell Prize and the Dorothy Hewett Award run by UWA Publishing. The collection readers were promised was a catalogue of […]

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Book Review: The Secrets We Kept is a thrilling account of the Zhivago affair

February 12, 2020

According to the end matter in her debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, author Lara Prescott was named for the heroine of Boris Pasternak‘s Nobel Prize winning novel, Doctor Zhivago. It was not until the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to the real story behind the publication of the Russian classic, however, that her interest […]

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Akin

Book Review: Emma Donoghue’s Akin is a historical story told from the present day

January 28, 2020

Akin is Emma Donoghue’s tenth novel for adults, but only her second set in the modern day. Known by most readers for her 2010 novel, Room, Donoghue has published countless novels which examine little known pockets of history, such as 2014’s Frog Music and 2016’s The Wonder. At first glance, Akin is something entirely different to Donoghue’s back catalogue, including […]

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Perth Festival’s 2020 Literature and Ideas program launches with a new curator and a minor revamp

January 18, 2020

Sisonke Msimang, the new curator for Perth Festival’s Literature and Ideas festival, delivered her full program for the late February event on Thursday night to an enthusiastic crowd at the Octagon Theatre. Her program, designed around the concepts of ‘Land, Money, Power, and Sex’ has been curated with a goal of inviting a new intake […]

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Book Review: Kathy O’Shaughnessy’s new work a novel approach to a biography of George Eliot

December 17, 2019

Kathy O’Shaughnessy‘s In Love with George Eliot is subtitled ‘A Novel’. Thank goodness for that, because if not, booksellers and librarians probably would not know where to shelve it. While readable and intensely interesting, the book reads more like a bibliomemoir, more akin to previous George Eliot studies like The Road to Middlemarch and last year’s […]

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Book Review: Debra Adelaide’s The Innocent Reader is a book lover’s delight

December 4, 2019

In her new collection of essays, through the lens of reflecting on her reading and writing, Debra Adelaide reveals much of her own story. An avid reader from a young age, Adelaide recounts her early encounters with Tolkien at the local library, laments her own inability to reduce the number of books in her home (no matter […]

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Book Review: Mother of Pearl shows there are many sides to the surrogacy debate

November 17, 2019

Angela Savage may be best known for her Jayne Keeney PI novels, or for her role as the Director of Writer’s Victoria, but in Mother of Pearl, she’s serving something different. Celebrating Savage’s love of Thai culture and customs, Mother of Pearl is a sensitive exploration of the issue of overseas surrogacy, told from multiple points of view, […]

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Book Review: Meg Mundell’s The Trespassers shows a dystopian future with links to Australia’s past and present

November 4, 2019

You might be forgiven for thinking that there are echoes of the past in Meg Mundell’s newest novel, The Trespassers, as a boatload of British folk board a boat bound for Australia to escape overcrowing, unemployment and disease at home. Instead, it’s the not-too-distant future. Among the passengers are our three protagonists: Cleary, nine years old and […]

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Book Review: Josephine Rowe’s Here Until August is a collection to savour

October 10, 2019

Josephine Rowe‘s newest collection of short stories, Here Until August is a slim but beautiful looking collection. It’s striking blue and purple cover makes you want to pick it up. And you should, because what is inside is just as fascinating as out. It begins with the story “Glisk” (winner of the 2016 ABR/Elizabeth Jolley Prize) […]

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Book Review: Lenny Bartulin’s Fortune is a cinematic romp through time

September 19, 2019

In 1806, after conquering Prussia with his armies, Napoleon Bonaparte led a procession into Berlin through the Brandenburg Gate. Watching in the crowd is an eighteen year old man named Johannes Meyer who will soon find himself swept up in the tide of history. Fortune is a novel which traces its way around the big […]

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Book Review: Dysfunction is rife in Ruby Porter’s engrossing debut Attraction

August 26, 2019

The unnamed narrator in Ruby Porter‘s Michael Gifkins Prize winning debut novel Attraction can’t seem to get her mind to focus. She and her girlfriend, Ilana, and her best friend, Ashi, are on a road trip to the narrator’s family beach house in New Zealand’s North Island. The trip is one of escape for our protagonist, but […]

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