Books

Shore Leave

Book Review: David Whish-Wilson’s Shore Leave is a well-paced edgy thriller full of local flare

December 1, 2020

Shore Leave centres around an American Naval vessel that docks in Fremantle in 1989. The drama that surrounds that vessel and the sailors onboard will be etched in the minds of many locals for years to come.  Readers are introduced to a range of characters, a criminal with six months left on their prison sentence; […]

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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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Death Leaves The Station

Book Review: Alexander Thorpe brings intrigue and crime to the Goldfields in Death Leaves The Station

November 24, 2020

Alexander Thorpe’s debut novel, Death Leaves The Station introduces a standard Australian farmhouse in Western Australia’s wheatbelt to a world of crime, homophobia and racism.  Set on Halfwell Station, Mullewa, in 1927 Death Leaves The Station is also a coming-of-age novel. Ana, a young woman, starts encountering the world outside the seclusion of the family […]

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Booker Prize

Douglas Stuart wins the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction for his debut novel Shuggie Bain

November 20, 2020

New York-based Scottish author Douglas Stuart has been announced as the winner of the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction, with his debut novel Shuggie Bain. Stuart is only the second Scottish author to win the prize in its history.  Although a work of fiction, Shuggie Bain draws upon Stuart’s lived experience, and takes the reader deep […]

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Biting The Clouds

Book Review: Fiona Foley critically (re-)examines Queensland’s colonial past in Biting The Clouds

November 19, 2020

Biting The Clouds is the latest book from visual artist, writer and academic Fiona Foley. Adapted from her doctoral thesis, Biting The Clouds, is a compelling critical examination and exhumation of Australia’s, specifically Queensland’s, colonial history from an Indigenous perspective.  Foley is from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala nation, and is a renowned visual […]

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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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The Freedom Circus

Book Review: Survival, love, and circus clowns abound in Sue Smethurst’s The Freedom Circus

November 12, 2020

The first time Sue Smethurst sat down with her husband’s grandmother and asked about her experiences during the Holocaust, she was shooed away. Surrounded by fellow survivors in the Montefiroe Jewish nursing home in Melbourne, Mindla (pronounced Marnya) Horowitz felt no need to share her story. Everyone around her had one much the same, after […]

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Clanlands

Book Review: Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish’s Highlands travelogue Clanlands is for the Outlander faithful

November 10, 2020

Last year, Outlander stars Sam Heughan and Graham McTavish set off for the Scottish Highlands in a questionable campervan, keen to explore more of the country they grew up in. From Glencoe to Culloden and countless lochs and castles in between, Clanlands is a record of their adventure filming what would eventually become Starz doco […]

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A Wind from the Rift

Book Review: Bonnie Wynne ups the ante in The Price of Magic sequel, A Wind From the Rift

November 5, 2020

Gwyn just wants to go home. After months of imprisonment, first in the Clockwork City’s Bird Tower prison, then its horrific Charnel Vaults, her control over her magic is weakening, and the sooner she’s safe amongst friends, the better. But the Mancers of the Syndicate have come to a decision. Too dangerous to be freed, […]

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Reprehensible

Book Review: Reprehensible by Mikey Robins is a hilarious look at historical bad behaviours

November 4, 2020

Reprehensible, from comedian and broadcaster Mikey Robins, is an informative and rollicking guide through the shameful behaviour of humanity’s most celebrated figures.  As Robin notes, “We are under bombardment from all of our screens, all of the time, reminding us with just one click what a dreadful time we are living through. But, here is […]

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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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Book Review: Leave yourself rattled with The Hollow Ones the first in a new series from Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

October 27, 2020

Reading The Hollow Ones you will be drawn into a crime spree, and find yourself sharing time with a killer who can’t be seen and a killer who has defied the ages. The perfect read for Halloween; reading this will leave you rattled and looking at your friends and colleagues with an extra hint of […]

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Hungerford

Maria Papas takes home the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award

October 23, 2020

Karrinyup author Maria Papas has tonight been announced the winner of the 2020 City of Fremantle Hungerford Award for her manuscript I Belong to the Lake. The win sees Papas take home a $15,000 cash prize and a coveted publishing contract with Fremantle Press.  The Hungerford, is a biennial award, and in 2020 is celebrating […]

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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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Bad Sydney Crime Writers Festival to go ahead in-person next month

October 15, 2020

The full program for this year’s BAD Sydney Crime Writers Festival has been announced. Despite concerns over COVID restrictions, the Festival will take place in-person at the State Library of NSW over the weekend of November 7-8th.  The  BAD Writers Festival is an opportunity for fans of crime fiction and true crime to come together […]

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Rupert Everett

Book Review: Rupert Everett explores the fleeting nature of fame and filmmaking in To the End of the World

October 15, 2020

To the End of the World: Travels with Oscar Wilde is the latest memoir from actor, author, and now director Rupert Everett. In the book Everett, recounts the story of how he set out to make the film of Oscar Wilde’s last days, 2018’s The Happy Prince. The book, then, is part memoir, part travelogue, […]

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Word Travels’ Story Week returns for a virtual festival this November

October 15, 2020

Next month Australia’s largest performing writer’s program, Word Travels’ Story Week returns. Running from November 6th to 14th, this year’s program will be entirely virtual and feature a range of international and Australian guests and performers.  This year’s line-up explores themes of race, ancestry, identity and more. “The global pandemic has had a large impact […]

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Evening Morning

Book Review: Witness the birth of Kingsbridge, in Ken Follett’s prequel novel The Evening and the Morning

October 8, 2020

The year is 997 and the Vikings have come to Combe. After losing both his father and his lover in a devastating raid, Edgar sets out for Dreng’s Ferry, taking up an offer to rent a nearby farm and start over. Shipbuilders by trade, Edgar and his family attempt to begin a new life as […]

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Dead Man In A Ditch

Book Review: Fetch Phillips returns in Luke Arnold’s Dead Man In A Ditch

October 6, 2020

Fetch Phillips, the noirish rouge for hire from Weatherly, is back. It’s been less than year since his last case. And, it’s aftermath is still rippling through Sunder City. People have got the idea that the magic might be coming back. They’ve also got into their heads that Fetch is working to figure it all […]

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Hollowpox

Book Review: Morrigan Crow returns in Jessica Townsend’s Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow

October 1, 2020

Morrigan Crow has finally found a place to call home. Spending her days with her Wundrous Society classmates, and her evenings with the inhabitants of the magical Hotel Deucalion, Morrigan can now focus on her real task: mastering her growing Wundersmith powers. But something strange is happening in Nevermoor. Well, stranger than usual. Nevermoor’s peaceful […]

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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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Song of the Crocodile

Book Review: Dive into Nardi Simpson’s mesmerising debut Song of the Crocodile

September 29, 2020

The Billymil family have lived in the small town of Darnmoor for three generations, and expectant parents Celie and Tom are preparing to welcome the newest addition. But tensions between Darnmoor’s Indigenous and settler families are rising. And the divide between the white run town and the Campgrounds, where the Billymils call home, is growing. […]

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Steve Wide

Book Reviews: Steve Wide’s Field Guides to Punk and Post-Punk & New Wave are short and sharp

September 28, 2020

Music fans will often find their favourite tracks are bigger than their genre. In fact, some music is so big it permeates into an entire subculture. Australian DJ, Steve Wide celebrates this with two sharp new books, A Field Guide to Punk and A Field Guide to Post-Punk and New Wave. Both of these are […]

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Lionhearts

Book Review: Nathan Makaryk’s Robin Hood tale misses the target in sequel Lionhearts

September 24, 2020

Robin Hood is dead. A grief-stricken Will Scarlett takes on the mantle, struggling to balance the need to survive with the desire to end those who have taken everything from him. But he is not the only one calling himself Robin Hood; others have co-opted his friend’s myth, and their intentions are less than pure. […]

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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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Women lead the way on 2020 Booker Prize Shortlist

September 15, 2020

Today the Booker Prize judges announced the six books that make up their 2020 Shortlist. The shortlist was selected from the 162 books submitted for the award. Those 162 were whittled down to an eclectic longlist of thirteen titles back in July, and now the field has been tightened further.  What was already shaping up to […]

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Caitlin Moran

Book Review: Caitlin Moran offers up another witty and wise memoir with More Than A Woman

September 15, 2020

Caitlin Moran is back with new memoir (and a new silver streak). Opening with modern day Moran travelling back in time to visit her thirty something self, who is fresh off saving the final draft of 2011’s How To Be A Woman. But the Moran of More Than A Woman has distressing news for her […]

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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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