Now that I've figured out how the "Bulletin" magazine organises its book reviews and literary news, I can give you a bit of a run-down on what they are looking at.
Sonya Hartnett's new novel Surrender, which is getting rave reviews all over gets praise again from Peter Pierce, from a week ago. If you review a book with a line like: "Surrender ... is a virtuoso piece of prose. One carefully weighted and crafted sentence follows another", and "Hartnett is one of the best, and certainly most uncompromising, of Australian novelists", then you are left in no doubt that the reviewer believes we have a novel of the finest quality before us. I still keep seeing the book shelved amongst the Young Adult sections in most bookstores which might be to the book's detriment. The cover is "non-genre" specific so it should be able to transcend the shelving problem. I think the publishers might need to point out the glowing reviews the book is receiving to the bookshops, and remind them of the success of Mark Haddon's book of a year or so back.
Sally Neighbour is a correspondent for the ABC's "Four Corners" program on television and, as such, has had the opportuity to report on a number of countries across the Middle East and Asia over the past decade. Out of that experience she has produced In the Shadow of Swords: On the Trail of Terror from Afghanistan to Australia, which is reviewed by Paul Daley. Books of this sort are very useful as they provide an adjunct to the dominance of the US print and television media. It's useful to have some Australian perspective on a topic that will come to affect us more and more in the years ahead.
Diana Bagnall looks at Dirt Cheap by Elizabeth Wyndhausen, which was also reviewed in "The Age" on the weekend. She finds that "Wynhausen's voice is strong and frank, by turns compassionate, belligerent, bewildered, caustic, self-deprecating - but always intelligent."