Book Review: Lily Tuck’s Sisters is a searing novella about an insecure second wife

When The Four Tops sang about “Standing in the shadows of love” Lily Tuck’s Sisters wasn’t quite what they had in mind. And yet, this novella by a National Book Award recipient feels like it could use that track as an anthem. This story is a tense piece about a second wife who is obsessed by the imagined presence of her husband’s first wife and the impact it is having on her mind and marriage. The result is a short yet sharp book that packs lots of emotion and intensity into its 156 pages.... Read More | Share it now!

Book Review: Bruce Beresford’s The Best Film I Never Made is a collection of warm, droll and personal essays from one of Australia’s leading directors

“I wanted to make films from time I saw my first films in the mid-1940’s. Unlike my school friends I had no interest in animated films (I still don’t) but was fascinated by narratives with actors. Somehow I realised while still very young, that the key person in all the films was not the leading man or heroine, but the director”.... 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: Niccolò Ammaniti’s young survivor Anna tackles starvation, gangs & devastating disease in post-apocalyptic Sicily

Several years ago, a virus came to Sicily. It stalked the adults, picking them off one by one, until all that remained was handful of children. Struggling to protect her younger brother, Astor, Anna knows her days are numbered. When she reaches adolescence, the disease will come for her too. Falling in with a boy named Pietro, who believes a specific pair of sneakers will save his life, and a former fighting dog dubbed Fluffy, Anna and Astor aim for the mainland. There must be adults somewhere, after all. Maybe even adults with a cure for the Red Fever.... 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!