Alison Huber

Alison Huber is Readings’ Head Book Buyer and works at the Carlton store. She has been selling books in Melbourne for twenty years. She is also a recovering academic.

Reviews

Miss Jane by Brad Watson

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Miss Jane Chisolm is born on a farm in Mississippi in the early part of the last century. Before too long it becomes apparent that she has a genital birth defect that she will need to live with, one …

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The Girls by Emma Cline

Reviewed by Alison Huber

There’s no other way for me to say it: I love this book. It’s a debut from a young writer called Emma Cline who I feel is a literary star of the future – actually, scrap that – of the present. This b…

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The Mirror Thief by Martin Seay

Reviewed by Alison Huber

When I was at the American Booksellers Association Winter Institute in January this year, it seemed like pretty much everyone was talking about The Mirror Thief. First, I heard the impassioned pitch …

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Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Virginia Reeves has written an extremely affecting debut novel set during the age of electrification in 1920s Alabama. It’s the kind of story that will stay with you long after you start reading the …

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The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

Reviewed by Alison Huber

You may not immediately recognise the name of the economist, sociologist and critic of modernity, Thorstein Veblen, but you will recognise some of the concepts that he introduced into the twentieth c…

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Gold Fame Citrus by Claire Vaye Watkins

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Speculative imaginings of our world in the wake of climate change are providing many authors with rich material for exploration. It’s fertile ground for some big questions that we should probably all…

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Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Fellow lovers of Big American Novels, clear your diaries: the new Jonathan Franzen is here. It has been five long years since Franzen’s last work of fiction, Freedom, and it has been worth the wait. …

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A Whole Life by Robert Seethaler

Reviewed by Alison Huber

This small book makes a huge impact. It has been a bestseller in its original German language publication (selling some 150,000 copies) and readers can now join in this thoroughly deserved enthusiasm…

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Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Sometimes it feels like books find their own way to you. I was drawn to Fourth of July Creek in a pile of proofs at the Carlton office for no particular reason, and it turned out to be an exact fit f…

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Alice Spring by Eleanor Hogan

Reviewed by Alison Huber

This handsome book is the latest addition to New South’s justly successful series about Australian cities, focusing this time on the capital of ‘Centralia’, Alice Springs. Countless readers have reli…

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Tigers in Red Weather by Lisa Klaussmann

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Read our Q&A with Liza Klaussmann here.

Let me first deal with two items of publicity that will inevitably precede this book – one, it is the debut novel by Herman Melville’s great-great-great-gran…

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News

Dear Reader, September 2016

by Alison Huber

Here we are in September, which, as the years go on, is really starting to feel like the official start of the festive season in bookselling and publishing. That means that lots of Big Books for 2016 are about to come your way! For example, you can expect to hear a lot about Ann Patchett’s new novel, Commonwealth (already a firm favourite amongst early readers, including myself ). The new Ian McE…

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Dear Reader, August 2016

by Alison Huber

I feel very lucky that my time on Earth coincides with that of Maxine Beneba Clarke’s and her powerful talent. August brings us her much-anticipated memoir, The Hate Race, our Book of the Month. This book is a confronting story about the lived experience of racism in Australia. It’s honest, shocking, and will provide readers with an alarmingly familiar depiction of the casual and overt racism com…

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Dear Reader, July 2016

by Alison Huber

July’s Book of the Month is the superb Music and Freedom, a debut novel from multi-talented Melbourne-based writer Zoë Morrison. It is my long-held opinion that it’s incredibly difficult to write well about music, but this book’s accounts of piano and Rachmaninov make it look easy, and are truly sublime. I recently learned that my childhood piano teacher is a reader of this column: dear Mrs M, I …

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Dear Reader, June 2016

by Alison Huber

June is another huge month for early career Australian authors. We have debuts from Jane Harper (with her much anticipated work, The Dry), Sean Rabin (with an intriguing tale of a famous author in small-town Tasmania, Wood Green), Julie Koh (with satirical short story collection, Portable Curiosities), Hebe de Souza (with a narrative of family and identity in India, Black British), Jane Abbott (w…

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Dear Reader, May 2016

by Alison Huber

Are you, like our reviewer, a lover of the art novel? If yes, then our book of the month, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith, is most definitely for you: it’s an involving story that spans time and place (with a heist thrown in for good measure). Dodge Rose is an audacious debut novel from Sydneysider Jack Cox, and is everything good writing should be: challenging, creative and tru…

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Dear Reader, April 2016

by Alison Huber

In March, the winners of the Windham-Campbell Prizes for literature were announced. First awarded in 2013 and administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, prizes are given in the categories of fiction, drama and non-fiction for writers from anywhere in the world whose work is written in English. These prizes are awarded through an anonymous judging process, pu…

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