Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

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.…

A review of Karen Sedaitis’ Soul Dark Soil

Humus-rich Food for the Soul: Karen Sedaitis’ Soul Dark Soil  Sedaitis’ work gets under the reader’s skin; goes deeper than the details of her stories, and even when she is describing something ugly, like dismemberment, rot, abduction, physical, or emotional…

A Review of Richard Flanagan’s Gould’s Book of Fish

 In its gorgeous use of language, its extraordinary structure, its ambitiously realised depths, and above all, the magic it works on its reader, Gould’s Book of Fish is a masterpiece. Read it for the interesting story, and find yourself, like Hammett, lost…

A Review of Poems by Lily Brett

Poems by Lily Brett includes two recently published collections, In Her Strapless Dresses, published in 1994, and Mud in My Tears, published in 1997. As with Brett’s fiction, both of the poetry books concentrate on the Holocaust, both Brett’s own experiences of fascination and obsession – the daughter of Holocaust survivors, and her parent’s firsthand experiences. There are also poems about love, death, parenting, growing up, vanity, and pain.

The Harry Potter Novels

There have been books that appealed to all ages. There have been books meant for adults that have become, often in an edited form, classics for children. Within the genre of fantasy there have been a few books that have…

A review of Tom Keneally’s Bettany’s Book

 Bettany’s Book has just been released in paperback. The generosity of Bettany’s Book leads us to not only follow the strivings of the Bettany family and those whose paths they cross, such as Sharif and Felix, the “Europeanised, educated natives”,…

A Review of The Romantics by Pankaj Mishra

 Mishra oversimplifies his characters till they remain nothing but poorly illustrated cardboard cutouts. Samar’s character emerges slowly and painfully from the murky undergrowth of the meagre plot. And most of his personality remains obscured by the slime he insists on…