International Fiction reviews

Orchid & the Wasp by Caoilinn Hughes

Reviewed by Elke Power

Orchid & the Wasp opens outrageously and does not miss a beat from there: ‘It is our right to be virgins as often as we like, Gael told the girls … Gael was eleven. It was her last term in primary sc…

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Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

‘From the ground, we stand. From our ships, we live. By the stars, we hope.’ These are the final words chanted by all present at the end of a Naming Day ceremony – the celebration of new life perform…

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Early Riser by Jasper Fforde

Reviewed by Lian Hingee

Jasper Fforde – master of absurdity, champion of satire, ridiculer of bureaucracy, and proud Welshman – is back. If that sentence doesn’t fill you with a thrill of excitement then you’ve obviously ne…

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Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott

Reviewed by Annie Condon

Megan Abbott was a guest of the Melbourne Writers Festival in 2017, and I heard her speak in a session titled, ‘The Dark Side of Womanhood’. Abbott, a literary thriller writer, spoke about her enjoym…

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Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

Reviewed by Amanda Rayner

Eleven Novak’s name is her brand; a teacher of enlightenment and spirituality with a powerful online presence. Eleven is beautiful, inspirational and successful and each year takes a group of followe…

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Reviewed by Tristen Kiri Brudy

The Great Believers opens in Chicago, 1985, with Yale Tishman attending the wake of Nico – the first of many in his group of friends to be felled by the AIDS epidemic. Yale is the development directo…

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The New Jerusalem by Patti Smith

Reviewed by Deborah Crabtree

When Nexus Institute founder Rob Riemen wrote Patti Smith a letter of admiration, he also sent her a book he had written and an invitation to take part in a Nexus Symposium on ‘New York countercultur…

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There There by Tommy Orange

Reviewed by Kelsey Oldham

The terrible consequences of colonialism are still being felt acutely by people of colour all over the world. Tommy Orange – enrolled member of the Arapaho and Cheyenne tribes and resident of Oakland…

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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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