Reviews

Memoir/Biography

Malachy by Dominic Frawley

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Malachy is very difficult to read at times, as a reader’s tears blur the text which beautifully relates the birth and subsequent traumas baby Malachy and his family endured. Impossible not to be moved by the shock of realising that the little newborn is not facing a joyous childhood, carefree and

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General Fiction

The Kindness of Birds by Merlinda Bobis

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The art work on its cover accompanied by a line of music with lyrics reading “It moves both ways And all ways – like breath” is a perfect intimation of the book’s content. The writer devoted much of the fourteen chapters to both the impact and importance of kindness, as essential

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Environment

Wounded Country by Quentin Beresford

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Inverell farmer and political lobbyist, Mal Peters, ‘talks the talk’ that politicians and bureaucrats have to hear if the Murray-Darling River basin is ever to be returned to its days of continued health. It is a very sick place. Peters explodes when talk of another reform process is mooted: …the Australian

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General Fiction

Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Reviewed by E.B. Heath Even some of the best crime authors are so plot oriented that, in the telling, prose styles become formulaic, train tracks for speedy storylines. And the crime stands alone, left unconnected to broader community issues, like a cryptic crossword writ large and woven into a simulated time and place.  None of

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History

Tongerlongeter by Henry Reynolds and Nicholas Clements

Reviewed by Ian Lipke How easy it is to remain in ignorance or completely forget important events, incidents that happened in history that should never have been allowed to recede from our memories? Who can admit to knowing the details of the Black War of the late 1820s that scourged the southeast of Tasmania? I

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History

French Connection by Alexis Bergantz

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke When I first saw the cover of this book, I had no idea as to the narrative that would be revealed. The cover depicts the painting Down on his Luck by Australian artist Fredrick McCubbin which has superimposed on it, Jean-Honore Fragonard’s The Swing, one of the best-known pieces of what

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General Fiction/Poetry

GriffithReview73: Hey, Utopia! by Ashley Hay [editor]

Review by Richard Tutin This edition of Griffith Review explores the concept of utopia. Since Sir Thomas More published his work on the ideal nature of a utopian society in 1516, many writers have added their thoughts on this topic raising questions about its nature and asking if a perfect society can exist. For More,

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Crime/Mystery

Damned Murder? by Burt Surmon

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The vineyards and townships of South Australia’s Clare Valley are the delightful backdrop to this light-hearted romp with a dash of a possible murder mystery. It offers vicarious pleasures of gourmet meals, tantalising wine tastings, even pottery making and glass blowing. The characters are all ageing, nudging their sixties, but are

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Memoir/Biography

The Brumby Wars by Anthony Sharwood

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Down around the Snowy ‘where the pine-clad ridges raise/ their torn and rugged battlements on high’ there’s a barney going on, and it’s a beauty. No confinement to angry words but rather ‘a fisticuffs at dawn’ sort of brawling. And the reason for all this ill-will remains blithely ignorant of all

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Children

Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby

Reviewed by Rod McLary If you ever have a young friend or relative who is feeling cranky with the world or – perhaps closer to home – a sibling, this may well be an excellent book to bring out and, in a comfortable place, read it aloud to them. The subtitle to this charming and

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Health/Wellbeing

Secrets of Women’s Healthy Ageing by Cassandra Szoeke

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke In Secrets of Women’s Healthy Ageing, Professor Cassandra Szoeke shares the wisdom revealed by a comprehensive study into women’s health as they age. Originally it was planned as a ‘longitudinal prospective’ investigation into health over the menopausal transition encompassing a period of five years. The study has extended over three decades and

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Crime/Mystery

Sweet Jimmy by Bryan Brown

Reviewed by Ian Lipke One of the best-known film stars that Australia has produced is Bryan Brown. Star of Breaker Morant and A Town Like Alice in the 1980s and involvement in a string of hits since then, Brown is a very experienced performer, having appeared in over eighty films and worked in something like

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Crime/Mystery

The Final Cut by Robert Jeffreys

Reviewed by Rod McLary There are persistent tropes in the crime genre – a grizzled and sometimes cynical older detective with a tense relationship with his superiors, a young enthusiastic new detective, fractured family relationships due to the hours and the nature of police work, and a crime which defies regular detective work – and

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History

I Alone Can Fix It by Carol Leonnig and Philip Rucker

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I Alone Can Fix It is a monumental work that heralds the final year in the presidency of Donald J. Trump. It is a descriptive, but also clinical, probe into a president that nobody can really understand even today after millions of words have been spoken or written. This is a

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General Fiction

Barcelona Dreaming by Rupert Thomson

Reviewed by Rod McLary Rupert Thomson’s love for the titular city illuminates Barcelona Dreaming. It was the city in which the author lived for six years, where “the ordinary things were magical, a source of pleasure,” but where, at the same time, “sophisticated urbanization faded into run-down concrete apartment blocks and burnt-out cars, areas of weed-choked

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