Reviews of Australian Books #74

The epistolary novel was once quite a common novel-writing form with authors such as Austen, Dostoevsky and Wilkie Collins using the technique. The most recent well-known version of this form is probably We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2003)which won the Orange prize. A modern version of the form is To the Boys in Berlin by Elizabeth Honey and Heike Brandt which uses emails and postcards instead of the more typical letters. Sue Bursztynski reviews the novel for "January" magazine: "'s kind of nice to read a story that celebrates historical research and that is so easy for reluctant readers to get through. This should be enjoyed by children from about 12 to 14 years of age."

As part of an "Unread Authors Challenge", Framed, from the USA, has a look at Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, but doesn't exactly enjoy the experience: "There is very little innocence or naivete in any of Winton's characters. In fact, they are wise and cynical."

Eric Fritter Riley is impressed with Shaun Tan's The Arrival: "The artwork depicts a world that seems to me like a gentler vision of the H.P. Lovecraft mythos (lots of tentacles, but not very scary) and something akin to the Codex Seraphinianus. It's truly a fantasy world, but one that is loaded with details of actual life. It's that interplay between these two facets that makes this such a memorable work. "

On "The Guardian" arts blog, Alyssa McDonald is sympathetic to books from Australia, noting that "when it comes to getting noticed in the UK, Australian literature suffers from the same problem as writing from, say, Canada or India: it isn't British or American. Prizes mean press coverage, so authors such as Carey are high-profile in the UK, but Australia's awardless authors are routinely neglected in the same way as other non-American foreigners." She then proceeds to review Best Australian Stories from Black Inc and is impressed with what she finds.

Rachael, on "The Book Muncher" weblog, gets a sneak preview of the upcoming book Monster Blood Tattoo: Lamplighter by D.M. Cornish: "I found Lamplighter harder to read than Foundling for several reasons, but mostly because of sheer size. The second story was about twice the size of the first. The wording was strange at times, the descriptions repetitive or drawn out and boring." But the book picks up as it goes and "The last hundred pages or so redeem the story's other faults...Despite the length of this book, I am looking forward to the next installment in the series, and I hope the sheer size of this book will not daunt others from reading it."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on February 19, 2008 9:12 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #102 - Hearts of Gold by Will H. Ogilvie was the previous entry in this blog.

Richard Flanagan on Tasmanian History is the next entry in this blog.

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