December 2021

Memoir/Biography

William Cooper by Bain Attwood

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Bain Attwood is an experienced historian who currently occupies a Chair of History at Monash University. The professor knows what he is writing about. In 2010, his book Possession: Batman’s Treaty and the Matter of History won the Ernest Scott Prize for the most distinguished contribution to the history of Australia

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Memoir/Biography

Broken Spear by Robert Cox

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This novel by Robert Cox introduces its readers to a man called Tom Birch, one of those almost forgotten identities who lived in a fertile part of middle and eastern Tasmania. As always in attempts to resurrect a person, long dead, there must be considerable research combined with a lot of

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Crime/Mystery

Autopsy by Patricia Cornwell

Reviewed by Rod McLary At the outset, I should declare that I have read almost all the Dr Kay Scarpetta novels by Patricia Cornwell.  Consequently, I come to this review with a slight bias in the author’s favour.  However, to balance that bias, I consider that not all the Scarpetta novels are equal – some

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Young Adult

You’d Be Home Now by Kathleen Glasgow

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The reader of this latest book by Kathleen Glasgow is told that more than twenty million people in the United States struggle with substance abuse each year…that statistic begins with users at age twelve…and that’s only what has been documented (379). The author who, in her first book Girl in Pieces,

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Crime/Mystery

The Russian Wife by Barry Maitland

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Thrillers, that supremely popular of fiction genres, produce such an array of title that a book must be outstanding in order to captivate the discerning reader.  Barry Maitland has written more than a dozen books which mostly feature David Brock and his respected colleague, Kathy Kolla. From The Marx Sisters, his

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Crime/Mystery

Canticle Creek by Adrian Hyland

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Jesse Redpath is a policewoman in a small Northern Territory town that services a vast, geographical district. She knows her people, their strengths and weaknesses. When she hears that a former member of her town Adam Lawson has murdered Daisy Baker and then killed himself in a car crash on a

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Health/Medicine

Plagues Upon the Earth by Kyle Harper

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Kyle Harper has written a history, a most unusual history. He does not tell of events that occurred at some specific date but chooses to write in a grand sweep that places events in non-specific contexts such as ‘Mammals in a Microbe’s World’, or he stirs readers’ imaginations in defining the

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Children

Fantastically Great Women by Kate Pankhurst

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke For most of her life, children’s author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst had no idea she was distantly related to Emmeline Pankhurst, and a cousin of the suffragette’s direct descendants. It seems that she, like her forebear, has the drive and determination to record the contribution women have made in game-changing discoveries and

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Latest Award Winners

The Prime Minister’s Literary Awards  Fiction: The Labyrinth (Amanda Lohrey, Text) Poetry: The Strangest Place: New and selected poems (Stephen Edgar, Black Pepper) Nonfiction: The Stranger Artist: Life at the edge of Kimberley painting (Quentin Sprague, Hardie Grant) Australian history: People of the River: Lost worlds of early Australia (Grace Karskens, A&U) YA literature: Metal Fish, Falling Snow (Cath Moore,

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General Fiction/Poetry

GriffithReview 74: Escape Routes by Ashley Hay [ed]

Review by Richard Tutin How often have we thought about escaping from our current life situation? It may be getting a new job, moving to a new town or just having a different style of life from the one we are currently locked into. This edition of the Griffith Review has contributions from writers who

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General Fiction

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Reviewed by Rod McLary Most readers would be familiar with the abduction of Helen of Sparta [perhaps better known later as Helen of Troy] which led to the Trojan War – and with Achilles the hero of the war and the greatest of all the Greek warriors.  Achilles was the son of Peleus, King of

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Children

Christmas Always Comes by Jackie French

Reviewed by Gerard Healy A delightful children’s story by Jackie French, with illustrations by Bruce Whatley. Here we have a family droving cattle along the dusty back-blocks of Australia on Christmas Eve, 1932. Young Joey, the son, wonders if Santa will find them, while his older sister Ellie knows that it could be difficult this

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2022 Indie Book Awards – longlists

Established in 2008, the Indie Book Awards celebrate the best Australian writing; and who better to nominate and judge the best-of-the-best than indie booksellers! What makes indie booksellers uniquely placed to judge and recommend the best Aussie books of the past year, is their incredible passion and knowledge, their contribution to the cultural diversity of

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Memoir/Biography

These Precious Days by Ann Patchett

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve It is no wonder that this latest book by Ann Patchett has inspired unanimous praise and enthusiastic responses from those who have read this as a ‘hugely enjoyable conversation with a particularly brilliant friend.’  She is one of the current 250 members of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and

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General Fiction

Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham

Reviewed by Rod McLary The title of this fine example of American noir is evocative to say the least.  Its meaning is brought to life by the protagonist Stanton Carlisle when he says: ‘this [the alley] was all there was any time, anywhere, just an alley and a light and the footsteps spanging on the

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