Marie Matteson

Marie Matteson is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

Reviews

In Love with George Eliot by Kathy O’Shaughnessy

I have been stuck at page thirty-nine of Middlemarch for going on four years now. So when the chance to read about being in love with George Eliot arose, I grabbed it in the hope of finding the spark…

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Wolfe Island by Lucy Treloar

There is a lyrical sense that is not to be hurried in Lucy Treloar’s writing. She writes you slowly into the world of her novels and you need to spend some time and pay attention. In her first novel,…

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Salt: Selected Stories and Essays by Bruce Pascoe

From the author of the game-changing Dark Emu comes Salt, a selection of essays and stories spanning more than thirty years. A paradigm shift does not happen overnight, and Salt provides a wonderful …

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Trapped: The Complete Series 2

On the second day of my trip to Iceland, in the capital city of Reykjavík, a dog was lost on the street where I was staying. The Facebook messages went out: ‘Does anyone know whose dog this is?’ With…

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Growing Up African in Australia edited by Maxine Beneba Clarke, Ahmed Yussuf & Magan Magan

In her introduction to Growing Up African in Australia, Maxine Beneba Clarke sets the scene for an anthology of great specificity. As she explains, this is an anthology that ‘would be an African dias…

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Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli

In Valeria Luiselli’s Lost Children Archive, the archive is a noun, a repository for information collected by the first narrator on her road trip, trying to find the children lost as they tried to cr…

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Heart of the Grass Tree by Molly Murn

Before Nell died, she knew she needed to record a story, a story she had found very hard to share, a story that stretches back before her time. After Nell dies, her daughter to whom she said little, …

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Crimson by Niviaq Korneliussen

Niviaq Korneliussen begins her novel Crimson with a letter to the reader: ‘I began creating characters and stories on paper and suddenly the whole world was available to me.’

Crimson, originally tit…

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Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby

Cedar Valley, Holly Throsby’s second novel, exists in the same world as her first novel, Goodwood. It’s an area a couple of hours south of Sydney, near the coast, near a large regional town, and very…

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Crudo by Olivia Laing

Crudo, an Italian word for raw, used most often when describing fish, is the title of the debut novel from nonfiction writer Olivia Laing. The narrator might be Kathy Acker iconoclast punk author – s…

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Balancing Acts edited by Justin Wolfers & Erin Riley

A collection of 21 essays on women and sport, Balancing Acts runs the gamut from historically focused essay on the reception of women playing AFL, to a text-message story of a an amateur soccer team,…

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Disoriental by Négar Djavadi

You can and will be tempted to read Disoriental in one very long sitting, well, at least Side A. Yes, Disoriental keeps you off balance from the first page of contents, a novel organised as an album.…

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Deep Time Dreaming by Billy Griffiths

In the introduction to Deep Time Dreaming, Billy Griffiths relates an anecdote that Arrernte filmmaker Rachel Perkins shared with him about a conversation she had with John Mulvaney, an Australian ar…

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The Odyssey by Homer (translated by Emily Wilson)

Having listened to Mary Beard talk about Women & Power, starting with an incident in Homer’s The Odyssey, (‘I want to start very near the beginning of the tradition of Western literature, and its fir…

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Saga Land by Richard Fidler & Kari Gíslason

Personally, I could bore anyone on the subject of Iceland, but this book won’t bore you at all! As it seems anyone who has been to Iceland does, Richard Fidler and Kári Gíslason want to tell the stor…

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Winter by Ali Smith

For around 20 years, Ali Smith has had a quartet of novels, named simply after the seasons, in the back of her head. Winter is the second of these novels. The first, Autumn, was shortlisted for this …

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Danger Music by Eddie Ayres

Eddie Ayres was 12 when he saw Afghanistan for the first time. It was on television. The Soviets had just invaded. He was 49 when he last left Afghanistan after teaching at the Afghanistan National I…

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Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss

Nicole Krauss’s new novel opens with the disappearance of Jules Epstein. A wealthy, retired New York lawyer, he has vanished in Tel Aviv. What’s more concerning is that he seems to have been vanishin…

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Understory by Inga Simpson

‘I see the world through trees. Every window and doorway frames trunks, limbs and leaves.’ Inga Simpson’s memoir Understory, in the tradition of the best nature writing, leads us into an internal lan…

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Rubik by Elizabeth Tan

Rubik is a novel in stories that embraces science fiction, speculative fiction, satire and fantasy. In an ever-expanding array of viewpoints, Rubik slots into place like a Rubik’s cube as you unfold …

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Today Will be Different by Maria Semple

Eleanor Flood is a well off animator living in Seattle with her sports surgeon husband Joe and their 8-year-old son, Timby. Eleanor is generally depressed by her life, which is outwardly full of mate…

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Trillion Dollar Baby by Paul Cleary

Norway’s discovery and development of huge oil reserves in the North Sea has led to the creation of the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world. In contrast, Australia’s resource boom has been met…

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Position Doubtful by Kim Mahood

Position Doubtful is an astonishing, sprawling memoir of place. Returning annually to the Tanami desert country in which she had lived as a child on a remote cattle station, Tanami Downs (though for …

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The Odd Woman and the City by Vivian Gornick

The Odd Woman and the City is Vivian Gornick’s memoir of her most enduring friendship: her friendship with New York. She starts with her friend Leonard. Every week they meet and walk and talk through…

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War And Peace: Season 1

Tolstoy’s War and Peace is the classic of classics. Andrew Davies is perhaps the man most synonymous with adapting classics for the BBC. Davies brought us the yardstick by which every other Sunday ni…

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House of Cards: Season 3

House of Cards Season 3 begins not at Episode 1 but at Chapter 27. It has become apparent that House of Cards is not a show structured season by season, but rather as a grand morality play, and we ar…

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Long Bay by Eleanor Limprecht

Long Bay immediately summons the spectre of imprisonment. Long Bay Gaol is to Sydney as Pentridge is to Melbourne and the shadow of the gaol hangs over the recreation of Rebecca Sinclair’s life. Begi…

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Orange is the New Black: Season 2

Set in a fictional American women’s minimum security prison (Litchfield), the arrival of Orange is the New Black garnered a lot of well-deserved praise for its portrayal of women so rarely seen in TV…

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The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall

In Sarah Halls’ fifth novel The Wolf Border, the central subject, the wolves that will begin the rewilding of Britain, are rarely seen. ‘They are fleet or lazy, moving through their own tawny colours…

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My Place by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins

My Place’s importance in introducing Australian history to children has already been firmly established in the 27 years since its publication during the bicentenary, including its adaptation for tele…

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News

Why Ali Smith should win the 2014 Man Booker Prize

by Marie Matteson

Tim Parks wrote recently in the New York Review of Books that the social value of a novel is the conversation it can start. He went on to point out how hard it is today to start a conversation when we all read so disparately. But people do read prize-winners. It’s a moment when you can get them on the same page.

Consisting of two sections, How To Be Both has been printed in two different ways an…

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What I Loved: Girl meets Boy: The Myth of Iphis by Ali Smith

by Marie Matteson

As I was texting my sister, asking her to lend me her copy of Girl Meets Boy so I could write this column, she was, in that moment, handing it to a friend to read. I lost my copy a while ago to the same practice. She retrieved it for me, and I sat down to re-read a story I have read and loved on several occasions and yet can never entirely recall. The details might be hazy as I always read it in …

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Why you should watch Friday Night Lights

by Marie Matteson

Bookseller Marie Matteson tells us about the secret Readings Friday Night Lights fan club, and why she thinks you should join it.

A few years ago Lorrie Moore wrote a wonderful piece for The New York Review of Books about the television show Friday Night Lights. She spoke of finding herself at a party, heads together with two other authors, united in what had been a previously isolated love of…

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