Reviews

‘Work hard and be patient’ McCann urges fledgling writers of any age

I’m a sucker for ‘How to write’ books so, when I heard that Colum McCann (Let the Great World Spin, Transatlantic and Thirteen Ways of Looking) had penned one, I was itching to read it. Letters to a Young Writer didn’t disappoint. It’s concise, candid and kind of beautiful. It’s also encouraging—and isn’t this exactly what

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Kefala’s ‘Fragments’: Sparse, beautiful and spacious

I read Fragments cover-to-cover soon after it was published last September. Not a week has gone by since that I haven’t dipped into it and enjoyed its elegance. Kefala’s first collection in 20 years contains alabaster-smooth poetry—sparsely beautiful. The work also feels spacious—leaving the reader room to breathe and stretch a bit. Such accessibility and

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Come on a date with Cahill’s award-winning ‘Letter to Pessoa’

I couldn’t be happier that Michelle Cahill’s mesmerising short story collection Letter to Pessoa has just won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. I’d been feeling it deserved more attention, so I’m glad it’s been recognised. It’s a seriously good book, so let’s go on a date with it now to find out why … What

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Will money have the last word in Woolloomooloo?

Louis Nowra’s new book Woolloomooloo: A Biography explores the history, people and streets of one of Sydney’s most notorious and eclectic suburbs. Nowra, who lives on the boundary between Woolloomooloo and Kings Cross, wanted to capture the spirit and ‘Chaucerian richness’ of his suburb before it evanesced. Woolloomooloo has always been a dumping ground for

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Rabin’s ‘Wood Green’ shimmers—its rhythm compelling

Literary discursiveness in novels can be tedious. So can surprising plot turns in narratives that have been ticking along quite nicely without them. Such antics and glissandos in Sean Rabin’s debut novel, however, are welcome and enjoyable: A smart and compelling game that leads to a surreal ending that (by the skin of its teeth)

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Winton’s ‘Boy Behind the Curtain’ is bracing and revelatory

On the opening page of The Boy Behind the Curtain Tim Winton makes a confession. At 13 he would stand behind a Terylene curtain in a fibro house in Campbell Road, Albany, and aim his father’s .22 Lithgow at passers-by. A lad in his book The Turning does the same thing. Neither of them shoots.

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EOFY (Part 2) – the rest of this year’s fiction that got away

Finally, I give you EOFY (Part 2). This is fiction I’ve read in 2016 but not blogged about (until now). There’s an array of titles here for you to seek out in the New Year. Enjoy! You can also read EOFY (Part 1) here. The Salamanders by William Lane Peregrine is a self-absorbed artist who

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