Round-Up of March New Releases

Let’s start my wrap-up of March with some highlights from the thriving independent Australian publishing scene. Our new writing feature this month focuses on Michelle Dicinoski’s Ghost Wife from Black Inc., a moving account of her long journey to marry her partner by way of Canada, one of the few countries to legally recognise same-sex marriage. From MUP, Monica Dux gives us an insiders’ guide to pregnancy and birth in Things I Didn’t Expect (When I Was Expecting), which also takes to task some of the impediments the medical profession – and society at large – put in the way of how new and expectant mothers ‘do’ pregnancy.

In fiction, the redoubtable Sleepers Publishing bring us this year’s Almanac, their eighth assembly of some of the most interesting new writing in Australia today. Text also have J.M .Coetzee’s astonishing new novel, The Childhood of Jesus.


I found my reading experience of this unusual. I tend to make copious (and sadly very hard to decipher) notes for fiction that I seriously engage with, but I jotted down not a word in this case. I was simply transfixed by a work of great beauty and sadness. And, as to my mind it so clearly tips its hat to Kafka’s The Castle, I couldn’t help but think that it might possibly be, like that novel, a final fictional work as well; a Coetzee summa.

Some other great new releases this month include Kate Atkinson, who has taken the ambitious decision to have her protagonist suffer multiple deaths, and then to consider the various trajectories her life could have taken in each instance. Our reviewer is already ranking it as their likely book-of-the-year.

High praise too for new novels by Jim Crace, Javier Marias and Tash Aw, as well as a new short-story collection by Appalachian writer Ron Rash. In biography, Daphne du Maurier and her Sisters looks a treat – it seems her two siblings had creative and romantic lives even more bold and unconventional than Daphne’s own.

Finally, in young adult writing, there’s Simmone Howell’s Girl Defective, which I’ve heard described as ‘the best St Kilda novel ever’ and – you guessed it – is already our reviewer’s pick of the year.


Martin Shaw is Readings’ Books Division Manager.

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