Reviews of Australian Books #66

Ursula K Le Guin reviews Heaven's Net is Wide by Lian Hearn in "The Guardian", and finds it a satisfying historical fantasy. "My interest in her Japanese saga became personal as I discovered its nature, since I too have written imaginary history (set in central Europe), have been caught in the strangling noose of genre authorship, and have refused to accept condescending notions of genre quality. My sympathy is strongly with her on all counts...A lucid and pleasant style, a beautifully realised setting, action and romance played out across a couple of generations, a high-class voyage to the long ago and far away -- Lian Hearn has written a saga that will continue to give pleasure to many."

Jessica Mann tackles the same book in "The Telegraph", and is equally as impressed: "the setting is beautiful and beautifully described, and the story clicks into place perfectly, not an afterthought but an indispensable introduction to a remarkable saga. I was spurred into re-reading the whole thing. It was pure pleasure."

On the "SubversiveVoices" weblog, Doug wonders if Carpentaria by Alexis Wright might a Great Australian Novel: "It is a big novel - big in all the senses that Tim Winton's novel Cloudstreet is big - length wise, in its tackling of large subjects and in its portrayal of the physical landscape and sea as vivid characters in their own right...I am still trying to put my finger on why I kept thinking of Winton's writing, particularly in Cloudstreet as I got totally aborbed in Wright's book. Probably the connection is that in their different ways Wright and Winton refuse to allow the material world to be disconnected from the world of spirit."

Angela Meyer reviews Australian books for "Bookseller + Publisher" magazine, and reprints her review of Matthew Condon's novel, The Trout Opera, on her weblog: "[the] characters and others come together in a vividly descriptive and masterfully constructed narrative with questions about personal and collective history, the potency of place, and the disturbance and rapidity of change. The novel honours simplicity, substance, and peace, and laments the loss of closeness in a moment of quiet. An insightful, brilliant Australian novel, destined to become a classic. For fans of literary Australian fiction."

Ford St Publishing is a new publishing house formed by writer and editor Paul Collins. One of the first books to emerge from the company is Sean McMullen's Before the Storm, a young adult time travel fantasy that uses the opening of Australian first parliament in 1901 as its pivotal history point.

Sue Bursztynski has a look at the book on her weblog, "The Great Raven": "Sean McMullen is best-known for his adult science fiction; most of his books have become international bestsellers. In his first book for young people, the Quentaris novel Ancient Hero, he showed that he has considerable ability in writing for younger readers. With Before The Storm, he's confirmed he can do it and it's to be hoped that he will continue along this route and write some more YA fiction. The universes of his adult books are highly complex and they require a lot of concentration to read, but when writing for children or teens, a writer needs to refine his or her universe and tell a story that the young reader can enjoy without having to worry about complexities. In this one, and the previous story, Mr McMullen has shown he can keep his story simple and keep it going."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 2, 2007 10:23 AM.

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