Reviews of Australian Books #89

Dean, of the "HA" weblog, reviews Barcelona by Robert Hughes and opines that this book "may be the culprit when it comes to allocating blame for the almost endless series of cultural histories that ushered in the new millenium". He means "endless histories of clocks, salt, cod, and everything else made or consumed by humans".

Jan Hallam finds the humour in Debra Adelaide's novel The Household Guide to Dying in her review of the novel in Perth's "Sunday Times": "There are no two ways about it: death is a difficult subject. We deny it, we don't talk about it, we rage against it or flinch from it when it comes near, bury our heads or lose our words...For Australian author Debra Adelaide, death is a subject to be confronted head-on and laughed at. In her hands it's a curious thing, a funny thing and, ultimately, a poetic thing...Never does Adelaide's tone become sentimental for sentimentality's sake, but after all the lightheartedness and bravado throughout most of the book, the heartbreak surely comes."

In "The Australian", Alan Gold looks at a fictionalised account of Errol Flynn's later life, The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson, and finds it "an awe-inspiring work of fiction."

In the same paper, Barry Oakley thinks that Tom Gilling might be struggling a bit with his third novel, Dreamland: "The second novel is supposed to be the hardest for someone who has made his mark with his first, but with Gilling it's his third. Dreamland keeps much closer to the ground. We've gone from magical realism to the ordinary garden variety, though we still have the Gilling touch. Topically, in these days of identity theft, the novel's protagonist decides to give his up and become someone else."

In "The Sydney Morning Herald", Tony Wilson is a bit disappointed with Boned by Anonymous, and even takes a wild guess at the identity of the author.

Short Notices

Amanda Kendle reviews Tuvalu by Andrew O'Connor, on the "" website, which she says "is a fast-paced novel, more than a coming of age and sandwiched between modern life in Japan and Australia, all seen through the eyes of Australian narrator Noah Tuttle. Andrew O'Connor won the 2005 The Australian/Vogel Literary Award for this novel."

Robert Black on Australian Nightmares, edited by James Doig, on the Oz HorrorScope website: "I was [...] excited when I first read Australian Gothic: An Anthology of Australian Supernatural Fiction by James Doig. He had uncovered an amazing array of 'missing' stories and forgotten authors. We not only received some uniquely top class fiction, but stories set within the Australian environment. It was also a joy to be introduced to authors long since forgotten, authors whose work was of exceptional quality yet somehow had slipped through the pages of history."

The website reviews Genius Squad by Catherine Jinks: "I really enjoyed Catherine Jinks's novel Evil Genius, but its little-kid-friendly cover art and gimmicky opening failed to prepare me for the story that followed -- it was tough to recover from the shock of finding such hardcore creepiness in a book with a cover that looked like a Saturday morning cartoon. Genius Squad, the sequel to Evil Genius, is almost as dark as its predecessor, and its cover art is just as cutesy, but at least this time I knew what I was in for...Jinks has written an excellent series installment, building upon her previous story's foundation while setting up material for a sequel. (Unlike many middle books, I never felt like I was just clocking time.)"

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 27, 2008 1:38 PM.

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