Book Review: Writers on Writers presents a series of short love letters to Australian Literature

Black Inc’s Writers on Writers series was launched in October 2017 with the publication of its first two books, Alice Pung on John Marsden and Erik Jensen on Kate Jennings. The tag line for the series reads ‘Twelve Acclaimed Writers. Six Memorable Encounters.’ This sums up the idea behind the series incredibly well, which will include such forthcoming volumes as Christos Tsiolkas on Patrick White, as well as three other as yet unannounced volumes. Each book contains a personal essay by a well-known Australian writer in which they talk about a stalwart figure of Australian literature who has influenced their life and career. ... Read More | Share it now!

Book Review: Claire Aman’s Bird Country is a debut collection with considerable weight

It is rare these days that a complete collection of short stories can sustain a sense of breathless wonder throughout each and every piece included in its pages. In a modern age of mobile phones and social media, short stories present us with an interesting challenge. While they are short enough to cater to our decreasing attention spans, they require us to surrender ourselves completely, and trust in the author’s ability to take us to a place of deep connection with a human moment. They ask us to work at deciphering meaning, to play with language and form, to oftentimes forgo the traditional patterns of narrative. Short stories- good short stories- ask that the reader engage with them on multiple levels. And because of the extra work that is required to appreciate them, all too frequently, the anthology is a genre that gets overlooked. But in the Australian short story scene, exciting things are happening, and I believe that Claire Aman’s debut collection Bird Country is one of them.... Read More | Share it now!

Book Review: Vengeance is Mine, All Others Pay Cash is a standout title, but falls flat

There’s something very appealing about translated fiction these days.  Whether it’s because more amazing novels from other languages are being translated than ever before, or whether the quality of those translations is better than it is ever has been is something an expert would need to weigh in on.  I can only comment on my reading experience as an avid reader.... Read More | Share it now!

Book Review: Pulse Points by Jennifer Down is an exploration of heartbreak in all its forms

Jennifer Down‘s book of short stories, Pulse Points, opens with a story about two men who are driving home from visiting one of their fathers at a retirement home, when they discover an injured person lying in the middle of the road. It is a shocking moment, which leaves both men reeling, and yet, the story is not about whether or not the person in the middle of the road is going to be all right or not. It’s about people, and the way that we respond to crisis, whether that crisis be the aging of our parents, or the breakdown of a relationship, or the choices people make daily about whether or not to do the right thing. These are the pulse points, the small moments that add up, and shine a light on who we are as people, and these are the threads that hold this collection together.... Read More | Share it now!

Book Review: Whipbird by Robert Drewe is a familiar tale told in a novel way

A new novel from Australian author Robert Drewe is something to celebrate.  After all, this is the man who brought us The Shark Net, The Drowner, and The Bodysurfers.  This July saw the release of Whipbird, Drewe’s first novel since 2005’s Grace, though he certainly hasn’t been silent since then. A regular columnist in the Weekend West, and a prolific author of fiction, short stories and essays, it’s hard to believe that this Australian literary legend has never won a Miles Franklin award.... Read More | Share it now!