Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A Review of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections

 The style is edged in irony as one might expect with such a subject but there are few quotable passages. Franzen is more concerned with the production of a seamless narrative. Although there are no solecisms, a few sentences are…

A Review of Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift

A Review of Saul Bellow’s Humboldt’s Gift  Humboldt’s Gift has its picaresque side and the selection of types and traumas may be looked at as modern translations of Huck’s own troubles and concerns. The honesty of the writer is a…

A Review of This is the Place by Carolyn Howard-Johnson

 The book is about how the persecuted become the persecutors; how those who have suffered from bigotry and prejudice become bigoted and prejudiced. It is about “us” and “them”, about inclusion and exclusion, about the comforts and benefits of belonging…

A Review of Isabel Allende’s Portrait in Sepia

Portrait in Sepia is a very easy to read, well researched, straightforward narrative, which is interesting for its historical context, and perhaps relaxing, albeit devoid of serious philosophical depths, real characterisation, or linguistic innovation. Reviewed by Magdalena Ball Portrait in Sepia…

A review of Hilary McPhee’s Other People’s Words

 McPhee Gribble was a powerful voice in Australian publishing in the 70s and 80s, and their unique style of working, the partnerships with their authors, the intimacy, as well as the pitfalls they encountered, make for fascinating reader for anyone…

A Review of Hooking Up by Tom Wolfe

 Despite the occasional whine, the self-aggrandisement which is rampant throughout the essays, some of which read like a prelude to an autobiography which must surely be in the works, Hooking Up is a worthwhile read, if only for the genius which comes…

A review of Sue Gough’s The Nether Regions

 The Nether Regions is a marvellous novel, coupling linguistic beauty with humour, psychological fascination and intensity. Reviewed by Magdalena Ball The Nether Regions is Sue Gough’s first adult novel, but she isn’t new to writing. She has written 17 books,…

A review of Max Sollitt’s The Correspondence Course

How do we define good writing? Are there clear boundaries between writing genres, fact and fiction, history and theory, writing and criticism? These are some of the questions raised by Max Sollitt’s first novel The Correspondence Course, which defies its own definition…

A review of Gail Bell’s The Poison Principle

Gail Bell takes the facts of this story about her grandfather, handed down through family folklore, hunted down obsessively in testimonials, newspaper clippings, bits of journals, and scattered artefacts, and turns it into a literary examination of the narrative of…

A Review of Helen Garner’s The Feel of Steel

Mastering a new sport, a musical instrument, having a grandchild, going through a divorce, or even taking a big trip, are all common scenarios in most people’s lives. These are ordinary moments, and that is why they are so wonderful.…