September 2023

General Fiction

Miss Kim Knows by Cho Nam-Joo

Reviewed by Clare Brook Miss Kim Knows, a collection of eight short stories by Cho Nam-Joo, could be likened to a literary jig-saw.  Each story offers a different perspective of female lived experience in South Korea, so in its entirety readers are given an impression of South Korean cultural life, at least for one gender. 

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Memoir/Biography

I’d Rather Not by Robert Skinner

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend The cover of Robert Skinner’s memoir depicts a Siamang Gibbon with a face more human than ape and giving the impression he had recently evolved from a Praying Mantis.  This might account for the somewhat bemused expression – there was probably an identity crisis in progress. Together with the title, I’d

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Non-Fiction

Nuts and Bolts by Roma Agrawal

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Have you ever wondered, as you do your current DIY project, about how nails were made? The same question could be asked about screws and string that we often use but don’t think about how they came to be part of our arsenal to make things or do running repairs. Award

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Non-Fiction

Jack Gibson’s Fur Coat by Glen Humphries

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Rugby League legend, the late Jack Gibson, possessed a large overcoat made of kangaroo fur. He wore it to many a football match and then it mysteriously disappeared, its whereabouts unknown. For the purposes of this book Glen Humphries has used the legend of the missing coat as a starter to

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Booker Prize 2023 Shortlist

The shortlist for the 2023 Booker Prize has been announced. The six books shortlisted for the £50,000 (A$95,756) prize are: Study for Obedience (Sarah Bernstein, Granta) If I Survive You (Jonathan Escoffery, Fourth Estate) This Other Eden (Paul Harding, Hutchinson Heinemann) Prophet Song (Paul Lynch, Oneworld) Western Lane (Chetna Maroo, Picador) The Bee Sting (Paul Murray, Hamish Hamilton). The shortlist features

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Memoir/Biography

Her Sunburnt Country by Deborah FitzGerald

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Deborah FitzGerald, senior journalist, editor and writer who had worked across major media organisations was asked by the Mackellar family to undertake the project of providing the first definitive biography of Australian poet and writer Dorothea Mackellar.  This undertaking led to the author’s Doctor of Arts thesis and then this book.

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Award Winners 2023

Award Winners for 2023. Sisters in Crime Australia has announced the winners of the 2023 Davitt Awards for best crime books by Australian women. The winning title in the debut book category is Dirt Town (Hayley Scrivenor, Macmillan) *   The Australian Crime Writers Association (ACWA) has announced the winners of the 2023 Ned Kelly Awards.

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Historical Fiction

Sunbirds by Mirandi Riwoe

Reviewed by Rod McLary Set in West Java in 1941, Sunbirds is a tale of love and duty elegantly told by an author who was the winner of the 2020 Queensland Literary Prize and the ARA Historical Novel Prize for her first book Stone Sky Gold Mountain. The van Hoorn family – Dutch colonials –

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General Fiction

Sleepless in Stringybark Bay by Susan Duncan

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke When I first read the title of this book I wondered if it would be like an Australian version of the 1993 movie, Sleepless in Seattle, with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. This book by Australian writer, Susan Duncan, is nothing like that story. Susan Duncan has had tragedy to face

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Historical Fiction

The Hidden Book by Kirsty Manning

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke As with all her books, Kirsty Manning has used historical records and re-imagined a story around them, shifting some events and combining others to suit her narrative. In the Acknowledgement section, she tells the reader that it took her four years to decide the best way to tell this story so

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Crime/Mystery

Vendetta by Tony Park

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In his twenty-first novel, Vendetta, Tony Park has once again taken his reader to South Africa and specifically in this story, to the South African apartheid-era Border War. The book includes two storylines, 1987 in Angola and the present in South Africa and Namibia. In the current storyline, middle-aged veteran of

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General Fiction

The Invisible Hour by Alice Hoffman

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Alice Hoffman is an American novelist and young-adult and children’s writer, best known for her 1995 novel Practical Magic, which was adapted for a 1998 film of the same name. Many of her works fall into the genre of magic realism and contain elements of magic, irony, and non-standard romances and

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General Fiction

No Life for a Lady by Hannah Dolby

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This is a delightful work by Hannah Dolby, peopled with strong central characters, interesting minor ones and a great sense of humour. Violet Harrison is the very appealing main character in this engaging yarn set in sea-side Hastings, England in 1896. When Violet instigates a search for her missing mother Lily,

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