Reviews of Australian Books #42

Will Elliott's novel, The Pilo Family Circus is reviewed by Rebecca Pearson in "The Independent" this week, and she much more upbeat than the "Guardian Review" notice last week. Even though the book has a fundamental flaw in the narrative, "I couldn't put Elliott's debut novel down. It's fantastic," she says.

Also in "The Independent", Lesley McDowell looks at Rachel Seiffert's second novel, Afterwards. She thinks that the author may have moved away from her main abilities as a writer: Seiffert is keen to play everything down: her prose is bare, emotions are held in check, the plot eschews suspense, flashbacks are kept to a minimum. This is understandable given the message at the heart of the novel about the problem of communication, even in the most intimate and revealing of relationships. But it is a mistake to do this. Seiffert is not a sensual writer, yet she has placed a sensual relationship at the heart of her story. It plays not to her strengths, but, rather, exposes her weaknesses."

The reaction to David Malouf's short story collection, Every Move You Make, continues to be positive, with the latest review coming from Tom Deveson in "The Sunday Times": "Time and place are defined throughout with attentive care...Malouf is now in his seventies. It's natural that memory and death should be interwoven on many pages...Malouf presents many kinds of people in many kinds of mood, but he doesn't judge them...Malouf is also a poet, and his writing here has a fine descriptive delicacy and sensory exactness that act as guarantees of the stories' truth and the authenticity of the experiences they embody."

For the first time that I can remember, Markus Zusak's novel The Book Thief is on the receiving end of a non-complimentary review, this one from Stuart Kelly in "The Scotsman": "The Book Thief is not a bad book, just a problematic one. Despite its eerie narrator and the horrors it unfolds, there is an iron-hard streak of sentimentality running through it. Perhaps the witty conceits might have been better deployed against a different historical backdrop...Zusak is an interesting and inventive author, and hopefully the hype around The Book Thief will spur him on to greater things. The only thing robbed by The Book Thief, however, is the reader."

Slate writer Mia Fineman reviews Robert Hughes's memoir, Things I Didn't Know, and quite taken with it she is too: "Hughes is a bravura performer, both on the screen and on the page. He writes with astounding verve, in a voice that slips easily between boisterous vulgarity and polished eloquence...Hughes' writing is muscular and dazzlingly lucid; he refuses to indulge in sublime metaphysical musings or languid adjectival swooning, opting instead for precise, verbally nimble descriptions of art's effects."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 24, 2007 12:07 PM.

The 2007 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature was the previous entry in this blog.

2007 Australian Literary Anniversaries is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.23-en