What Am I Reading?

The Dressmaker’s Secret – Rosalie Ham

The Dressmaker’s Secret – Rosalie Ham

The Dressmaker’s Secret (Picador 2020) is a sequel to the best-selling novel The Dressmaker, by Rosalie Ham, which was also made into a successful film. Both books are written with a quirky small-town quality, peopled by eccentric characters and fuelled by a twisting...

Emotional Female – Yumiko Kadota

Emotional Female – Yumiko Kadota

While there is much conversation about work/life balance and burn out, few books express it as comprehensively as Yumiko Kadota’s memoir Emotional Female (Penguin Random House 2021). In clear-eyed, self-critical, analytical, vulnerable and emotionally compelling...

She is Haunted – Paige Clark

She is Haunted – Paige Clark

She is Haunted (Allen and Unwin 2021) is a collection of stories by debut Chinese/American/Australian author Paige Clark. These vignettes focus on the minutiae of daily life as well as exploring grand themes such as transnational Asian identity, intergenerational...

Still Life – Sarah Winman

Still Life – Sarah Winman

The latest novel by Sarah Winman, Still Life (4th Estate Harper Collins 2021) is a literary achievement that will have wide appeal. The characterisation is rich and layered, the storyline is complex, the descriptions are evocative and the themes of the book are...

Small Acts of Defiance – Michelle Wright

Small Acts of Defiance – Michelle Wright

I so enjoyed Michelle Wright’s short story collection Fine, and the arrival of her debut novel Small Acts of Defiance (Allen and Unwin 2021) was much anticipated and worth the wait. An historical novel set during the early 40’s in WWII France, Small Acts of Defiance...

A Voice in the Night – Sarah Hawthorn

A Voice in the Night – Sarah Hawthorn

The debut novel by Sarah Hawthorn, A Voice in the Night (Transit Lounge 2021) is a fast-paced, page-turning psychological mystery. With the story revolving around the tragic events of 9/11 but set today – and with mentions of the recent bushfires and the current...

Beyond the Hero’s Journey – Anthony Mullins

Beyond the Hero’s Journey – Anthony Mullins

A couple of years ago, I attended a workshop by screenwriter Anthony Mullins all about how a novelist could incorporate screenwriting tools and structure into the writing of a book. It was a great learning experience. The participants told him that he should write a...

The Rabbits – Sophie Overett

The Rabbits – Sophie Overett

The winner of the 2020 Penguin Literary Prize, The Rabbits (Penguin Random House 2021) by Sophie Overett, is an in-depth exploration of family dynamics, grief and identity, with a touch of magic realism interwoven so seamlessly that it feels more real than magic as...

Still – Matt Nable

Still – Matt Nable

Matt Nable is perhaps best known for his acting career but his fourth novel, Still (Hachette 2021) will add to his reputation as a writer of gritty Australian rural crime noir. With comparisons to The Dry and Scrublands, Still is a page-turning crime thriller with a...

The Imitator – Rebecca Starford

The Imitator – Rebecca Starford

Although The Imitator (Allen and Unwin 2021) is Rebecca Starford’s debut novel, she is not without a writing track record, having published a memoir and also being the publishing director of Kill Your Darlings literary journal. This depth of experience, and no doubt...

Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke

Girl, 11 – Amy Suiter Clarke

Girl, 11 (Text Publishing 2021) by Amy Suiter Clarke is the kind of psychological thriller murder mystery that you can immediately picture as a TV mini-series. This fast-moving crime novel has a huge cast of characters and a very complicated plot featuring a sinister...

Nancy Business – R.W.R. McDonald

Nancy Business – R.W.R. McDonald

What an absolute delight to plunge back into the life of Tippy Chan, amateur sleuth, in R.W.R. McDonald’s second novel Nancy Business (Allen and Unwin 2021). This is a follow-up to the very popular The Nancys, where we were first introduced to Tippy and her kooky but...