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

The Arsonist by Chloe Hooper

Reviewed by Alison Huber

In February 2009, the state of Victoria experienced extreme weather events that provided the perfect conditions for the bushfire catastrophe that has come to be known as Black Saturday. One hundred a…

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Preservation by Jock Serong

Reviewed by Alison Huber

A little-known (though maybe soon-to-be-well-known) historical event forms the basis for Jock Serong’s latest novel, Preservation.

Using the 1797 shipwreck of the Sydney Cove off the coast of Preser…

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Man Out of Time by Stephanie Bishop

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Stephanie Bishop took themes of nostalgia, memory and migration and made them her own in her stunning 2015 Readings Prize-winning novel, The Other Side of the World. Bishop’s third novel, Man Out of

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Days of Awe by A.M. Homes

Reviewed by Alison Huber

A.M. Homes is one of my favourite authors, and I am hungry for any new writing from her. Homes is a brilliant analyst of life in the anxious times of late capitalism, where personal relationships and…

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Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Since the age of 18, narrator Keiko has worked part time in a 24-hour Tokyo convenience store. Often baffled by societal norms, Keiko appreciates the order that the shop brings to her life; the stric…

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Eggshell Skull by Bri Lee

Reviewed by Alison Huber

During her year as a judge’s associate in the District Court in Queensland, Bri Lee finds herself enduring case after case after case involving rape, sexual assault and child abuse. A fact that Lee k…

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Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Given the fact of the seemingly relentless media revelations of exploitation in all sorts of industries, I can’t think of a better time to read a smart book about uneven power dynamics. Lisa Halliday…

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In the Garden of the Fugitives by Ceridwen Dovey

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Ceridwen Dovey won the inaugural Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction in 2014 with her book of short stories, Only the Animals, an audacious and original work of imagination. Dovey’s new novel c…

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My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent

Reviewed by Alison Huber

Sometimes, it’s a single character that makes a novel unforgettable; sometimes an intense plot puts you in a book’s grip; other times still, it’s the writer’s craft that draws you in and keeps you th…

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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, November 2018

by Alison Huber

There are always far, far, far too many new books to talk about adequately in this column, but seriously, this month is out of control. But I want to use some words to say something about Jennifer Down, whose Pulse Points is the winner of this year’s Readings Prize. I think Down is actually a genius, and couldn’t agree more with judges about the quality of her writing: her ability to convey the e…

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Dear Reader, October 2018

by Alison Huber

Haruki Murakami made headlines this September, choosing to withdraw himself from contention for the New Academy Prize for Literature, the Swedish award set up as the alternative to the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature while the old academy regroups following scandals revealed earlier in the year. Murakami is making good on that old acceptance speech adage that ‘it’s an honour just to be nominated’;…

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Dear Reader, September 2018

by Alison Huber

In the month that we reveal the brilliantly eclectic shortlist for this year’s Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, it is entirely appropriate that the 2015 recipient of that same prize should be publishing a new novel. Indeed, there could be no better Fiction Book of the Month than Man Out of Time, the new work from Stephanie Bishop. Bishop is a superb writer – one of our best. Bishop has …

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Dear Reader, August 2018

by Alison Huber

Some time last year, it seemed like everyone I know was talking about a true crime podcast called ‘Trace’. The crime – a terrible unsolved murder with scandalous connections to a major institution – happened in 1980, not far from where I live. The victim, Maria James, was killed in her home, a residence behind the bookshop she owned. While I wanted to know more, I find no space in my leisure time…

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Dear Reader, July 2018

by Alison Huber

Winter is here at last. As I write, it’s pelting rain, an Antarctic gale is blowing, and I couldn’t be happier. I love the drama of Melbourne’s weather, which confounds and annoys my friends from interstate no end. But really, there could be no better incentive to stay indoors and read until your eyes will read no more.

This July you must begin with our Fiction Book of the Month, Boy Swallows Un

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Dear Reader, June 2018

by Alison Huber

I can’t remember a month with so many strong Australian nonfiction releases. Our Book of the Month, Kate Wild’s Waiting for Elijah, is a superb piece of investigative journalism that explores the fatal shooting of a mentally ill young man by police in 2009. Wild’s account is classic detective work, but also a strong critique of the legal system and the ongoing social taboos that surround mental h…

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