Reviews of Australian Books #62

The "Australian, New Zealand Crime Fiction " weblog is pretty impressed with Frantic by Katherine Howell: "Combine the unusual and well handled perspective of the paramedic, with a fast paced, tightly told thriller, and a brave and well executed finale to the story and FRANTIC was a great book - you know you're onto something good when you start a book on Saturday afternoon, finish it on Sunday night and feel somewhat disappointed that the next book - PANIC - won't be available until 2008."

It's taken kimbofo two months to finish her review of Peter Temple's The Broken Shore, not, it seems, from lack of interest, more from a lack of energy and an attempt to work out what was so enthralling about it: " a whole The Broken Shore is a refreshing take on crime fiction, both in setting and style. Temple nails the melancholy nature of small town Australian life -- it's petty grievances, its politics, its sense of community -- sprinkles a healthy dose of humour throughout and offers some brilliant dialogue that is so spot-on you can almost hear those flat, Australian accents reverberating off the page. In fact, this novel is such a realistic portrayal of my homeland I'm not ashamed to admit that it made me feel just a wee bit homesick in places..."

In "The New York Times" Walter Kirn finds that J.M. Coetzee's "Inner Workings is [the author's] master class, and he honors us, too, by letting us sit in on it, despite our spotty preparation and the hasty ways we may use it. Knowing something about W. G. Sebald feels a lot better than knowing nothing --particularly when the little knowledge one does have comes from a source as reliable as Coetzee and inspires one to make time to learn much more."

Graeme Flory seems to be finding Australian sf and fantasy novels everywhere he looks these days, "Let me say right now that this is not a bad thing!" He is particularly taken with Karen Miller's debut novel The Innocent Mage and thinks the author may be the best of the current Aussie bunch: "The story itself is told in a deceptively simple style that makes it easy for you to get into the book and then to just keep reading until you're done. I polished this one off in a weekend and I'm keen to see what happens next. Like I said, The Innocent Mage isn't the most original work of fantasy that you'll ever read but after you're done you will have enjoyed it too much to care. An assured debut which promises good things to come."

Flory is only talking about novels in his review, which is why Margo Lanagan doesn't get a mention. Compensation appears with a conversational review of Lanagan's short story collection, Red Spikes, by Eisha and Jules on their "Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast" weblog. "Speaking of things that stay with you... oh yes, Lanagan's writing has that going on. I've read all three of her short story collections published in the US, and I have been consistently blown away. She's brilliant at creating original worlds and compelling stories. But the haunting quality of her best stories has to do, I think, with the believability of the characters and the intense emotional connection they forge with the reader."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 17, 2007 1:29 PM.

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