Reviews

Memoir/Biography

A Secretive Century by Tessa Morris-Suzuki

Reviewed by Clare Brook Nothing exists, and therefore can be understood, in isolation from its context, for it is context that gives meaning to what we think and do.   Alvin Gouldner Tessa Morris-Suzuki’s biography of Monte Punshon reveals not only the unique life of a women born in the late nineteenth century but also deepens

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General Fiction

Oblivion by Patrick Holland

Reviewed by Rod McLary There are some novels which defy easy categorisation – and Oblivion is one such novel.  It is a lyrical and strangely moving story of an unnamed narrator as he travels through the East on an unspecified and rather mysterious task. The narrator spends his time in those detached places such as

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General Fiction

First Year by Kristina Ross

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The winner of The Australian/Vogel prize for young hitherto unpublished authors of fiction is eagerly awaited, for it has launched some of our finest writers, amongst them, Tim Winton. First Year tells in convincing detail of the life of a very young drama student who has left her Gold Coast home

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Children

All You Need to Know about Dogs by A. Cat [and Fred Blunt]

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke  The cover of All You Need to Know About Dogs says that the book is by A. Cat. Among the publishing details inside the book, in tiny font, is the sentence ‘Fred Blunt has asserted his right to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work’. Turning the first

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General Fiction

The Borrowed Life of Frederick Fife by Anna Johnston

Reviewed by Rod McLary The alliterative title of this debut novel gives some indication of its nature – a tender, heartwarming and whimsical look at the borrowed life of Frederick Fife.  But what does ‘borrowed life’ mean?  Well, that is the theme of the novel. The setting up of the situation takes a little time. 

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Crime/Mystery

You Like It Darker by Stephen King

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I was quite disappointed in this latest publication by Stephen King. This author has created a reputation for fine, extended writing, of best quality, and of mind-blowing uniqueness that is not represented in the present volume. One can speculate over reasons why these stories fail to meet the level of satisfaction

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General Fiction

Anyone’s Ghost by August Thompson

Reviewed by Rod McLary From time-to-time, there are novels which grab the reader from the first line and never let go.  When these novels come along – and there are so many of them – they are a joy to read; even more so when it is a debut novel.  Anyone’s Ghost is such a

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Young Adult

Greenwild: The City Beyond the Sea by Pari Thomson

Reviewed by E.B. Heath Although an elaborate fantasy for children, Greenwild: The City Beyond the Sea, carries significance – a warning.  One that in times of yore was communicated via an Aesop’s Fable – The Goose and The Golden Egg.  A story of stupidity and greed.  Apparently, that message has been long forgotten because, well,

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General Fiction

The Last Trace by Petronella McGovern

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Previously I have not had the pleasure of reading any of the work by Australian author, Petronella McGovern, and found her latest book, The Last Trace, to be a thoroughly enjoyable experience. I have since discovered that Petronella’s first novel, Six Minutes, was published in July 2019 and debuted on the

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General Fiction

The Fists of the Father by Daniel Tamone

Reviewed by Rod McLary The evocative title and cover image – a teenage boy with bloodied knuckles – offers a preview of what will be found within the book’s covers.  This debut novel by Daniel Tamone explores the far-reaching effects of family violence and the challenges inherent in any attempt to leave them behind. The

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Non-Fiction

Nuked by Andrew Fowler

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders According to  a recent poll, 48% of Australians believe that AUKUS will keep us more secure from China. AUKUS being the trilateral security arrangement with the US and UK. The arrangement was forged in secret and no detail has been made public, so for that 48%, it is an act of

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General Fiction

Big Time by Jordan Prosser

Reviewed by Rod McLary This debut novel by Jordan Prosser falls within a genre named ‘cyberpunk’ – that is, a novel set in a dystopian future with a combination of ‘lowlife and high tech’ and one where society is collapsing into a state of decay. The setting for the novel is a barely recognisable Australia

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General Fiction

The Honeyeater by Jessie Tu

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Jessie Tu’s debut novel, A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing, presented an author who is remarkable in her wide ranging talent.  Her second book, The Honeyeater, does not disappoint. There is the same narrative brilliance and quiet intensity, relating the story of Fay, a translator bringing a modern English novel

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Non-Fiction

The Afghans by Asne Seierstad

Reviewed by E.B. Heath Asne Seierstad, the bestselling author of The Bookseller of Kabul, returned to Afghanistan in 2022 with the goal of understanding more about the Taliban’s regime.  As an investigative journalist, she wanted to report what had changed now they were in power, what had stayed the same and what did they wish

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Historical Fiction

Mrs Hopkins by Shirley Barrett

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke ‘It was extraordinary how almost attractive she could appear sometimes…yet at other times she looked like she had risen freshly from the grave’ (187). This is a description given to the woman who takes centre stage in Shirley Barrett’s novel Mrs Hopkins. It is the third novel by this writer who

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