What Am I Reading?

The Octopus and I – Erin Hortle

The Octopus and I – Erin Hortle

The Octopus and I (Allen and Unwin 2020), the debut novel by Erin Hortle, is an experimental meditation on illness, grief, loss and our interconnectedness with the natural world. In rich, lush description and lyrical writing, the story explores how we feel about our...

The Day the Lies Began – Kylie Kaden

The Day the Lies Began – Kylie Kaden

Author Kylie Kaden’s third novel The Day the Lies Began (Pantera Press 2019) marks her launch into the domestic noir-thriller market. A combination of crime novel, psychological thriller and an exploration of family dynamics, the book revolves around the friendship...

Like Mother – Cassandra Austin

Like Mother – Cassandra Austin

Like Mother (Penguin Random House 2020) by author Cassandra Austin is an unsettling, sinister story about mothers and daughters, about motherhood and babies. Set in 1969, when man has set foot on the moon but women are still expected to stay at home and play house...

The Yield – Tara June Winch

The Yield – Tara June Winch

The much-anticipated new novel from author Tara June Winch, The Yield (Penguin Random House 2019) is a love song to language, culture and Indigenous heritage. In a proud memorialising of Aboriginal words and their meanings, Winch pays homage to her past and to the...

Riptides – Kirsten Alexander

Riptides – Kirsten Alexander

Kirsten Alexander’s novel Riptides (Bantam Penguin Random House 2020) begins with a terrible accident: Abby Campbell (married with children) and her brother Charlie are driving to their father’s farm on a dark and rainy night when they swerve into the path of another...

The Inland Sea – Madeleine Watts

The Inland Sea – Madeleine Watts

The Inland Sea (One / Pushkin Press 2020), the debut novel by Madeleine Watts, is not at all what I expected. From the blurb, I was prepared for an historical story about explorer John Oxley travailing the wilderness of central Australia in the 19th century, searching...

The Dictionary of Lost Words – Pip Williams

The Dictionary of Lost Words – Pip Williams

Pip Williams’ first novel The Dictionary of Lost Words (Affirm Press 2020) is very different from her previous travel memoir One Italian Summer, about the year her family spent farming in Italy. This novel is an historical, literary exploration of the meaning we...

Ivanhoe Swift Left Home at Six – Jane Godwin

Ivanhoe Swift Left Home at Six – Jane Godwin

Ivanhoe Swift Left Home at Six (Allen and Unwin 2019) is a fantastic adventure story by Jane Godwin, illustrated by A. Yi. Full of character, six-year-old Ivanhoe leaves home to explore the world, accompanied by a backpack full of supplies, a kite he can use to signal...

The Silk House – Kayte Nunn

The Silk House – Kayte Nunn

The new novel by author Kayte Nunn is The Silk House (Hachette 2020), a gothic, haunting and thrilling tale of an English residence and some who have lived there over its 150-year history. Reminiscent of the novels by Kate Morton, The Silk House follows the lives of...

The Giant and the Sea – Trent Jamieson

The Giant and the Sea – Trent Jamieson

The Giant and the Sea (Lothian 2020) is a mesmerising and timely picture book with an intriguing story written by Trent Jamieson and stunning illustrations by Rovina Cai. This story is about climate change and environmental activism but it is told through the prism of...

All the Ways to be Smart – Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys

All the Ways to be Smart – Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys

All the Ways to be Smart (Scribble / Scribe 2018) is a gorgeous, life-affirming children’s book that deservedly won the Children’s Picture Book of the Year in the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. Written and illustrated by Davina Bell and Allison Colpoys, this...

My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, The Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite

My Sister, The Serial Killer (Atlantic Books 2018) is an astonishing debut by Nigerian writer Oyinkan Braithwaite. This darkly funny story is short, sharp and tautly crafted, with not a word wasted. The opening lines are: ‘Ayoola summons me with these words – Korede,...