Belle Place

Belle Place was the editor of Readings Monthly.

Reviews

Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen by Erik Jensen

Reviewed by Belle Place

In 2008, the Archibald Prize-winning artist Adam Cullen invited Erik Jensen, now founding editor of The Saturday Paper, to write his biography. Cullen cited a book contract, from Thames & Hudson, tho…

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This House of Grief: The Story of a Murder Trial by Helen Garner

Reviewed by Belle Place

It’s difficult to loudly sing the praises of a book that covers such a harrowing subject. I had anticipated the release of Helen Garner’s new non-fiction since early in the year, though the title of …

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The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman

Reviewed by Belle Place

Cast as ‘this generation’s Jane Austen’, Adelle Waldman’s debut novel – a work of intelligent, amusing social commentary – centres on Nathaniel Piven, a thirty-something book critic living in Brookly…

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Family Life by Akhil Sharma

Reviewed by Belle Place

In Akhil Sharma’s astounding second novel, a young boy visiting his older brother, who has suffered catastrophic brain damage, calls the older boy ‘Brother-life’, because ‘it was melodramatic and bec…

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The Promise by Tony Birch

Reviewed by Belle Place

The Promise sees Tony Birch return to the short form, following the achievements of his Miles Franklin-shortlisted novel, Blood. As in that novel, here Birch writes misguided, brooding characters, th…

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N by John A. Scott

Reviewed by Belle Place

John A. Scott’s long-awaited novel, his first in over a decade, is set in an imagined, though frighteningly familiar, Australia. It is the early 1940s and Melbourne is a fractious city. A corrupt rig…

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The Lost Child by Suzanne McCourt

Reviewed by Belle Place

The protagonist of Suzanne McCourt’s debut novel, The Lost Child, is Sylvie, a sharp-witted but vulnerable young girl. Living in the small fishing town of Burley Point, her father is violent and angr…

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The Poet’s Wife by Mandy Sayer

Reviewed by Belle Place

Mandy Sayer’s vivid new memoir, set predominantly in New Orleans, Indiana, and later in Sydney’s Kings Cross, details her volatile ten-year marriage to the Pulitzer-Prize winning poet, Yusef Komunyak…

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Moving Among Strangers by Gabrielle Carey

Reviewed by Belle Place

In Moving Among Strangers, Gabrielle Carey intertwines the histories of the reclusive Australian writer Randolph Stow, and that of her acutely reserved mother, Joan, who both grew up in Geraldton, We…

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The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Reviewed by Belle Place

Richard Flanagan’s savagely beautiful and haunting sixth novel, set in a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, follows the life of Dorrigo Evans, a surgeon who has left behind two women …

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The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane

Reviewed by Belle Place

The title of Fiona McFarlane’s debut novel is an intriguing one and, when paired with the cover illustration of a tiger’s paw pushing through a slightly ajar door, suggests at both a menacing presenc…

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The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

Reviewed by Belle Place

Alexis Wright’s new novel, the first since 2007’s Miles Franklin-winning Carpentaria, is a return to familiar stomping ground, and revolves around the mute Oblivia Ethylene as she traverses a landsca…

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News

Belle Place presents the best book covers of September

by Belle Place

How to Be Both by Ali Smith

I’m immediately engaged by the cover of Ali Smith’s How to Be Both, probably because of its clean use of type paired with a nice image, a design decision I’m particularly partial to. On the front cover is a photograph of Sylvie Vartan and Françoise Hardy – two French pop singers involved in the yé-yé movement that emerged in France, Italy and Spain in the early 196…

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Belle Place presents the best book covers of August

by Belle Place

Vogliamo Tutto (We Want Everything) by Nanni Balestrini

This book from Italian writer Nanni Balestrini was first published in 1971. Vogliamo Tutto (We Want Everything) focuses on the ‘hot autumn of 1969’ that started with a big strike at Fiat, Turin, and sparked nearly 10 years of radical action in Italy. This is the first English translation of the work, and is published by a new Melbourne-ba…

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Q&A with Sophie Cunningham

by Belle Place

Belle Place interviews Sophie Cunningham about her new work of non-fiction.

This year marks 40 years since Cyclone Tracy hit Darwin on Christmas Eve – what is your motivation for wanting to write this book now?

I have always been fascinated by Cyclone Tracy – it had a big impact on me as a child. But, as I write in the book, my biggest motivation was the fact that the human race is transformi…

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Books you might have missed in July

by Belle Place

Given the sizeable number of new releases that arrive in store each month, here are notes from the Readings editorial office on books you might have missed in July.

Skylight by José Saramago

Jose Saramago first submitted Skylight to a publisher in 1953, but the manuscript was lost in the publishers’ offices in Lisbon for decades, and is only recently being published in English. A Nobel Priz…

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Belle Place presents the best book covers of July

by Belle Place

We can get very excited about book covers in the Readings office – the book as object is our trade, after all. Here are our favourite covers for July fiction titles. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman

This is the paperback edition of Adelle Waldman’s widely read and praised debut novel. It’s quite different to the hardback, which was released last year, but equally appealing…

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Books you might have missed in June

by Belle Place

Given the sizeable number of new releases that arrive in store each month, here are notes from the Readings editorial office on books you might have missed in June.

Family Life by Akhil Sharma

This is Akhil Sharma’s brilliant second novel. It tells the story of an Indian family – with two sons, aged eight and twelve – who have migrated to America in the early eighties. Early in the novel, t…

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