What Am I Reading?

All the Murmuring Bones – A.G. Slatter

All the Murmuring Bones – A.G. Slatter

No matter if gothic fantasy is your genre of choice, or if you are keen to dip you toes into this fantastical world for the first time, you will be delighted and amazed by A.G. Slatter’s All the Murmuring Bones (Titan Books 2021). This is a wonderfully creepy,...

Kokomo – Victoria Hannan

Kokomo – Victoria Hannan

The debut novel by Victoria Hannan, which won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, is the remarkable Kokomo (Hachette 2020), a story written in residencies around the world from Brazil to Tasmania to Iceland to Victoria, and yet while...

The Performance – Claire Thomas

The Performance – Claire Thomas

The Performance (Hachette 2021) by Claire Thomas is set entirely over the course of a theatre performance of Beckett. The auditorium is artificially cold and draughty, a bold contrast with the bushfires that are raging outside the city and threatening the nearby...

Friends and Dark Shapes – Kavita Bedford

Friends and Dark Shapes – Kavita Bedford

Kavita Bedford has written a timely and thoughtful novel in Friends and Dark Shapes (Text Publishing 2021). There is a certain kind of novel written about 20 or 30 somethings, in that liminal age between the relative freedom of adolescence and the often tethered...

The Beach Caves – Trevor Shearston

The Beach Caves – Trevor Shearston

I discovered author Trevor Shearston through his previous novel Hare’s Fur, a beautiful and meditative literary story. His most recent book, The Beach Caves (Scribe 2021) is also well-crafted but is more of a literary crime, so in addition to the lilting language,...

Song of the Crocodile – Nardi Simpson

Song of the Crocodile – Nardi Simpson

Yuwaalaraay woman Nardi Simpson, writer and musician, has gifted us an impressive debut novel in Song of the Crocodile (Hachette 2020), in which she combines indigenous culture and dreamtime stories with the tragedy of the white man’s dispossession and disrespect of...

Infinite Splendours – Sofie Laguna

Infinite Splendours – Sofie Laguna

Sofie Laguna’s latest novel Infinite Splendours (Allen and Unwin 2020) is a dark and unsettling exploration of the complex dynamics of child abuse or neglect that morphs into a compassionate and infinitely generous examination of such situations from all sides. It is...

Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy

It’s not often that a book actually gives me goosebumps, but Migrations (Penguin Random House 2021) by Charlotte McConaghy had me shivering with pleasure all the way through. This slim tale is a genre-bending mix of literary fiction and environmental activism with the...

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams – Richard Flanagan

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams – Richard Flanagan

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams (Knopf Penguin Random House 2020) by Richard Flanagan is a meditation on death and grief set against a backdrop of ever-increasing climate change. As the world becomes sicker – furious fires, tragic floods, sea levels rising and more...

The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen – Krissy Kneen

The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen – Krissy Kneen

I have spent the last few days completely immersed in the life of my friend, author Krissy Kneen; eating her food, sitting with her family, traveling with her to foreign lands to try to understand her history. I have emerged from her memoir, blinking, like a mole too...

Smokehouse – Melissa Manning

Smokehouse – Melissa Manning

Smokehouse (UQP 2021) by Melissa Manning is a wonderful, evocative collection of interconnected short stories that each stand alone, but that together add up to more than the sum of their parts – a novel-like narrative that focuses on individuals but in the end...

Consolation – Garry Disher

Consolation – Garry Disher

Garry Disher is known as one of the patriarchs of Australian rural crime fiction and his latest novel Consolation (Text 2020) cements this position. His flawed but popular and likeable character, Constable Paul Hirschhausen (or ‘Hirsch’) is a relatable protagonist...