General Fiction

General Fiction

The Octopus and I by Erin Hortle

Reviewed by Rod McLary This is a stunning debut novel by an Australian author.  From the first sentence of the book: ‘My body is brimming is pulsing is purring is ready’ [3], the narrative engages the reader and never lets go.  The quoted sentence is voiced – although that may not be exactly the right

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General Fiction

The Long Road Home by Fiona McCallum

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke As scientists across the globe race against the clock to find a coronavirus vaccine, here’s hoping they also discover a cure for narcissism while they’re at it. This was the first paragraph in an article by Lucy Carne in the Sunday Mail, March 29th, 2020. Narcissism is also an issue highlighted

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General Fiction

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Emily St John Mandel’s latest novel, “The Glass Hotel”, is staggering in its scope with myriad characters and a cleverly devised plot. The backgrounds are seductive. It begins in a 5-star hotel set in a tiny remote settlement on the west coast of Canada. Then the New York scene, both shadowy

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General Fiction

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga

Reviewed by Rod McLary Danny is a Tamil from Sri Lanka and now living in Sydney Australia as an ‘illegal’.  Initially, he came to Sydney on a student visa but, after failing to be granted refugee status, he abandoned his studies and became an ‘illegal’. Danny is the protagonist of this latest novel by the

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General Fiction

Red Dirt Country by Fleur McDonald

Reviewed by Ian Lipke When Fleur McDonald publishes a book, readers can be confident that it will be worth reading. With her third rural crime story on the shelves now, I have no doubt that she has become established as the standard in this form of fiction against which other writers are measured. Red Dirt

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General Fiction

The Numbers Game by Danielle Steel

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The Numbers Game is the latest offering of the prolific writer, Danielle Steel who was born in 1947. She now has 179 books to her credit over a five-decade career and has been referred to as the bestselling author alive and the fourth bestselling fiction author of all time. For her

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General Fiction

The Deceptions by Suzanne Leal

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Suzanne Leal’s earlier book The Teacher’s Secret dealt with the search for dignity amid rumour, scandal and other forces generated by a specific individual. In The Deceptions Leal is back with a similar book on the theme of deceit, this time at both individual and collective levels. She has used her

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General Fiction

Call of the Raven by Wilbur Smith with Corban Addison

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The Call of the Raven tells the story of a wicked neighbour cheating a man, named Mungo St John, out of his property, and in so doing, taking away his birthright, thereby rendering him moneyless. Now without the money he was expecting, and finding in addition that his childhood sweetheart has

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General Fiction

A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry

Reviewed by Rod McLary A sequel to the critically-acclaimed Days Without End, this novel continues the story of Winona – a Lakota survivor of the Indian wars in Tennessee in the 1860s and 1870s.  Winona was adopted by two soldiers – Thomas McNulty and John Cole – as their mode of reparation for the killings

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General Fiction

The Salt Madonna by Catherine Noske

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke The Salt Madonna is the debut novel by Catherine Noske, a writer and academic at the University of Western Australia. It is also a novel where the title is closely linked to the story between its covers both literally and figuratively. The story is set on an island and therefore it

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General Fiction

Where Fortune Lies by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It is important to realise that this story was written for an audience that requires an exciting story not too troubled by authenticity. It is not for the serious reader. Given the book’s limitations and accepting that the genre is romance literature, readers can be comfortable that what they’re about to

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General Fiction

The Nightwatchman by Louise Erdrich

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Towards the end of this book, rather symbolically, a fragile and joyous hope emerges. This takes the form of two of the characters drinking the sap of the birch tree. The first people of the U.S. believed that, in Spring, the rising sap from these trees in the woods, gave them

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General Fiction

Return Ticket by Jon Doust

Reviewed by Rod McLary Return Ticket is the third book in a ‘loose trilogy’ entitled One Boy’s Journey to Man and tells the final part of the story of Jack Muir.  The earlier books Boy on a Wire and To the Highlands respectively relate Jack’s experiences at an exclusive private boys’ school in Perth, and

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General Fiction

Great Australian Outback Trucking Stories by Bill ‘Swampy’ Marsh

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The author of this collection of tales has the pedigree of a raconteur and performer who has lived the life of the outback Australian. He has built a solid reputation as an authentic writer of tales of that part of the country, and has earned high regard as ‘a portrait painter

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General Fiction

The Helpline by Katherine Collette

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend A glum week, followed by a rainy weekend, is surely the best time for a lighthearted read.  Serendipitously, Germaine Johnson, a senior mathematician recently fired from Wallace Insurance, turned up.  She was on her way to an interview for a new job, carrying an enormous umbrella and wearing a disposable hooded

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