Australian Fiction reviews

Reading the Landscape: A Celebration of Australian Writing

Reviewed by Mark Rubbo

The University of Queensland Press was established in 1948 (coincidentally, the year I was born). In the mid-sixties, under the stewardship of American expat Frank Thompson, it started to publish Aus…

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Ironbark by Jay Carmichael

Reviewed by Chris Somerville

While it feels like a cliché to call a novel – especially one by a first-time author – ‘assured’, it is the phrase I kept returning to while reading this debut offering from young Victorian writer Ja…

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Bluebottle by Belinda Castles

Reviewed by Susan Stevenson

Set on Sydney’s Barrenjoey peninsula, the sea is a constant presence throughout Belinda Castles’ Bluebottle. From the cliff-top shack where architect Charlie Bright and his photogenic family spend Ch…

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The Madonna of the Mountains by Elise Valmorbida

Reviewed by Mark Rubbo

Set in the Veneto region of northern Italy, this novel about life in rural Italy between the 1920s and 50s is compulsively beautiful. It opens with a young woman, Maria, waiting for her father to bri…

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A Sand Archive by Gregory Day

Reviewed by Tristen Kiri Brudy

Award-winning author Gregory Day’s latest novel opens in Geelong with our narrator, a nameless writer, coming across a ‘slim grey-brown volume, cheaply printed but essential to [his] research: The Gr

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Flames by Robbie Arnott

Reviewed by Tom Davies

A cremated woman returns after her ashes are scattered in the bush. A water rat searches for the Cloud God. A wombat farmer who dreams of cormorants every night wakes to find his bed full of feathers…

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Book of Colours by Robyn Cadwallader

Reviewed by Amanda Rayner

In fourteenth-century England, a book is a rare and treasured item, often a symbol of wealth and status. Book of Colours by The Anchoress author Robyn Cadwallader revolves around one such book: an il…

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The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland

Reviewed by Amanda Rayner

The challenge with reviewing The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland is to convey in only a few hundred words the stunning achievement of this debut author. Ringland has written a heartbreak…

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The Fortress by S.A. Jones

Reviewed by Hilary Simmons

The Fortress has a fascinating premise. Alongside a world that appears the same as our own, there exists an all-female civilisation. Its native women are called the Vaik. They are proud, Amazonian an…

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Little Gods by Jenny Ackland

Reviewed by Elke Power

Olive Lovelock is curious, independent, and beguiling. She is growing up between her parents’ home in a small town in the Mallee and her cousins’ farm, a (long) bike ride away. For Olive, Grade 6 is …

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