"The Age" continues to mess about with its book reviews on its website. I have no idea when they will turn up these days.
The major Australian fiction review is by Kerryn Goldsworthy of Charlotte Wood's novel The Children: "Charlotte Wood's first novel, Pieces of a Girl (1999), was widely read and warmly reviewed and her second, The Submerged Cathedral (2004), was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Children, her third, is written with skill and confidence of someone who knows that if she has already done it twice then she can most certainly do it a third time...Wood appears to be responding to calls in recent years for Australian fiction writers to turn their attention
away from historical subjects and towards the way the country is here and now, and to examine in their writing the lives of contemporary Australians and the way they have been affected by government policies, philosophies and decisions."
Actually, it's the only fiction review. Harpoon: Into the Heart of Whaling by Andrew Darby is reviewed by Christopher Bantick, who finds it "an impressive and exhaustive appraisal of current whaling practices and historical antecedents. Darby's non-fiction description is exceptionally good -- his prologue, in which he discusses what happens to a harpooned finback, is a powerful piece of detached observance that intentionaly leaves the reader restive."
Jeff Sparrow is intrigued by Maria Tumarkin's Courage: "Structuring a meditation on ourage as a memoir, so that your university life, motherhood and marriage nestle alongside stories from Nazi death camps might seem in and of itself a brave decision, in the Humphrey Appleby sense of the phrase." She seems to bring it off.
Anne Susskind is impressed by Malcolm Knox's latest novel, Jamaica: "...there are not many men who can write like this, so poetically and with such immense complexity, about friendship, jealousy, insecurity, middle age and death wishes."
The Sydney Morning Herald
Desmond O'Grady finds much to like in Richard Woolcott's tales of diplomacy in high places, Undiplomatic Activities. "He must have kept a record of the quirkiest episodes he witnessed from the time when, according to his account, he was a cheeky diplomatic cadet but his account is not restricted to Australian diplomats nor to contemporaries...Diplomacy is not all beer and skittles or major policy decisions but this enjoyable book can give that impression."