Reviews of Australian Books #81

John Kinsella's poetry collection, Shades of the Sublime and Beautiful, is reviewed in "The Guardian" by William Wootten who is rather charmed by the whole thing: "Violently bullied at school and angry at small-mindedness, aggression and bigotry, Kinsella doesn't go in for the defences of 'redneck' Australia that you find in the work of his compatriot Les Murray. Indeed, he is prepared to make attacks on it that can risk looking pretty intolerant themselves. Kinsella's decision not to pretend to be a man of few words, his unembarrassed display of a knowledge of science, mathematics or literary theory, seems to be part and parcel of this: an implicit riposte to a certain version of rural Australian identity or to the school mates who called him 'Dictionary'...Kinsella's new collection has well-turned lyrics and pieces of linguistic daring. In the main though, its poems, whether in conventional metre or variants of free verse, amount to a poetic journal chronicling Kinsella's passions, politics and preoccupations as well as the life and landscapes of the western Australian wheatbelt that has been the heartland of his verse."

"Lowly's Book Blog" starts with a small anecdote about meeting Sonya Hartnett in a bookshop - back when she worked behind the counter - and then moves to a small review of The Ghost's Child: "This book reminded me so much of The Boy in Striped Pyjamas another fable written for adults. And even at times Hartnett's The Silver Donkey. It was a tale told simply enough for any child. However, the richness of the story lies in the symbolism. This book wants to be studied not read."

Courtney, on the "Once Upon a Bookshelf" weblog enjoyed Monster Blood Tattoo: Foundling by D.M. Cornish: "The story was exciting, but it was the characters that did it for me (as per normal). They were all so vibrant and real -- there were only a couple bit characters that seemed like they could have been developed more; with everyone else it was a joy to read about them and get to know about them, even if they weren't the nicest of people. The transformation of Rossam√ľnd through the book was fabulous to watch too -- he went from a passive kid to someone who had a backbone and wasn't going to let people push him around any longer." She's looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

The "Swarm of Beasts" weblog gets it about right in its review of Red Spikes by Margo Lanagan: "These are stories that take a lot of thought to get the most out of, thanks to the complex themes, Lanagan's brilliant use of language, and the blank spots in the stories; Lanagan never overexplains, and there were times when I wished for something a little bit more straightforward, a little bit more linear and spelled-out. But then they wouldn't be Margo Lanagan stories, would they?"

"Aguylibrarianreads" finds a lot to like about Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks: "Evil Genius is a great book full of intrigue, computer hacking, villainy, and some minor mutant action thrown in as well. It is very dense, full of mathematical and computer references that can be difficult to wrap your mind around. If you've ever questioned how the James Bond villains learned their trade, this is your book."

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on April 9, 2008 9:34 AM.

Review: Conversations with the Mob by Megan Lewis was the previous entry in this blog.

2008 ABC Fiction Award Winner is the next entry in this blog.

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