Topic archives: American authors

Between worlds: Dominic Smith on <i>Bright and Distant Shores</i>

Between worlds: Dominic Smith on Bright and Distant Shores

September 27, 2011

Allen & Unwin, 9781742374161, 2011 (Aus paperback, ebook + US/Kindle) Bright and Distant Shores is hugely imaginative historical fiction. It’s set just before the dawn of the 20th century in Chicago and the South Pacific. Owen Graves is sent by Hale Gray, the president of Chicago First Equitable, to collect some ‘special items’ to display […]

The epic qualities of outwardly ordinary lives: <i>By Nightfall</i> and Michael Cunningham in Australia

The epic qualities of outwardly ordinary lives: By Nightfall and Michael Cunningham in Australia

May 25, 2011 7

By Nightfall, Michael Cunningham, HarperCollins (Aus pb, Aus ebook, US and Kindle, UK) Over the past few days I’ve been in the audience of four sessions featuring my favourite American author Michael Cunningham. Cunningham’s latest novel is By Nightfall. I’ve drafted a few posts on it since I read it, but was never able to adequately […]

Guest review: Alice Grundy on <i>Mr Peanut</i> by Adam Ross

Guest review: Alice Grundy on Mr Peanut by Adam Ross

April 26, 2011

Vintage, 9780099535379 (Aus, UK, US) Reviewed by Alice Grundy The cover of Adam Ross’ first novel, Mr Peanut, is swathed in praise from no lesser lights than Stephen King and Michiko Kakutani. The title page features a reproduction of Escher’s ‘Mobius’ flagging the role of the double in the plot. All the signs point towards […]

Guest review: Matthia Dempsey on <i>What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us</i> by Laura van den Berg

Guest review: Matthia Dempsey on What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us by Laura van den Berg

February 22, 2011 1

Scribe Publications, February 2011 (Aus, US, UK) 9781921640896 Reviewed by Matthia Dempsey Laura van den Berg has particular skill in capturing the strangeness that can come at times—the sense of being a stranger to your own life and the world. For many of the women in her stories this feeling is the result of a […]

20 classics in 2011 #2: <i>The Portrait of a Lady</i> by Henry James

20 classics in 2011 #2: The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

February 8, 2011 8

I’m reading 20 classic, modern-classic or cult books in 2011. Read more about this project here. ‘A great many people give me the impression of never having for a moment felt anything’ – Isabel Archer, The Portrait of a Lady. Why did I want to read it? Well, first of all, Henry James is one of the ‘great’ novelists […]

Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn’s <i>Geek Love</i>

Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love

December 27, 2010 3

Vintage, 1989 9780375713347 (2002 edn) (Also Aus, US, UK) Miss Olympia is an emotional, hunchbacked albino dwarf, and the complex narrator of this wonderful novel. In the present, Oly secretly watches over the remaining members of her carnival-of-freaks family: her daughter, Miranda, and her mother, Crystal Lil. Why her observance and care is secretive is revealed through […]

‘If only a nippleless bra could make it all work’: Gary Shteyngart’s <i>Super Sad True Love Story</i>

‘If only a nippleless bra could make it all work’: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

October 29, 2010 1

Granta, September 2010, through Allen & Unwin in Australia (Aus, US, UK) 9781847081032 Super. Here’s a too-easily-imaginable near-future world where everyone is attached to a device, books are obsolete, people walk around half-naked and rate each other’s bits, the American empire is failing, and it’s hard to make a true and lasting connection. Sad. The […]

Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 2)

Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 2)

August 20, 2010 2

It’s very telling, you know? Find part 1, right here, folks. Kathy: My two very favourite novels of all time are Lunar Park, and Pet Sematary by Stephen King, which kind of makes perfect sense… Bret: Yes, it does. Kathy: I’m really interested in the idea that Lunar Park may be becoming a film. I’m […]

Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 1)

Like, embrace the pain: the Bret Easton Ellis interview (part 1)

August 18, 2010 4

Pictured: Carrie, Samantha, Carrie Let’s begin at the end. After Kathy Charles and I finished our interview with the very engaging Bret Easton Ellis, we sat with his publicist over a couple of glasses of Chandon, waiting for Ellis to wrap-up with our friend Robbie Coleman. Robbie emerged, white-faced and swearing, revealing that the interviewee had turned interviewer […]

Both ways is the only way she wants it: an interview with Maile Meloy

Both ways is the only way she wants it: an interview with Maile Meloy

June 16, 2010 2

As the title indicates, Both Ways is the Only Way I Want it (Text, May 2010 in Aus, Riverhead US), Maile Meloy’s engaging collection of stories, is about the fear, desire, pleasure, confusion and complications of wanting it both ways and sometimes having it so. It’s like Guido’s dilemma in Fellini’s 8 1/2 – he wants […]

Don DeLillo’s <i>Point Omega</i>

Don DeLillo’s Point Omega

April 28, 2010 7

Point Omega Don DeLillo Picador, 2010, 9780330512381 (Aus, US/Kindle) I’ve been ‘doing’ a few American writers of late. Loved my first encounter with Michael Chabon, in A Model World – he’s a master of beginnings and endings in those short gems – and will follow-up someday with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay and […]

Guest post: Andrew Wrathall interviews Charlaine Harris, the author behind <i>True Blood</i>

Guest post: Andrew Wrathall interviews Charlaine Harris, the author behind True Blood

March 19, 2010 1

Charlaine Harris’ successful Sookie Stackhouse series is the basis of the addictive TV series True Blood. Harris is touring Australia in September (Sydney and Melbourne) as a guest at Hub Production’s True Blood events, on the 25th and 26th of September and will then be doing a book tour for Hachette. Number 10 in the Sookie series […]

Guest review: Lyndon Riggall on Stephen King’s <i>Under the Dome</i>

Guest review: Lyndon Riggall on Stephen King’s Under the Dome

February 11, 2010 2

9780340992579 Hodder 2009 (Aus, US) I sometimes wonder when Stephen King will stop. Having published more than 150 books, it’s hard not to wonder when the ideas will dry up. What’s next Stephen, a killer broom monster? A giant ribbon that wraps itself around its victims and strangles them of life? A giant dome that […]

<i>Collected Stories</i> – Richard Yates

Collected Stories – Richard Yates

January 18, 2010 7

Vintage 9780099518549 (Aus, US) When a man is fired from his job in the story ‘A Glutton for Punishment’, he realises he has enjoyed the failures in his life. The character in this – like many of the other characters in Richard Yates’ Collected Stories – runs over a conversation in his head, with his […]

Kilts and wine breath: a conversation with my sister about meeting Diana Gabaldon

Kilts and wine breath: a conversation with my sister about meeting Diana Gabaldon

November 19, 2009 3

Some years ago when I was a bookstore girl, I became intrigued by this massive brick of a book called Cross Stitch (Outlander in the US), which many middle-aged women would get flustered over: ‘You haven’t read it?’ they’d ask. I read it, and it was great fun – particularly the raunchy historical Scottish sex, and the […]

Review of George Dawes Green’s <i>Ravens</i> for ABC Radio National’s <i>The Book Show</i>

Review of George Dawes Green’s Ravens for ABC Radio National’s The Book Show

November 12, 2009 1

  I recently reviewed the thriller Ravens, by George Dawes Green, for The Book Show on ABC Radio National. Have a listen, here.

Dan Brown’s <i>The Lost Symbol</i> goes well with cheap wine, corn chips and reading into the morning

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol goes well with cheap wine, corn chips and reading into the morning

September 23, 2009 16

The most blockbustery blockbuster of the year found its way into my lap and with curiosity piqued (and a break needed from festival preparations) I indulged in one solid reading session – cover to cover – and was mainly intrigued, despite a few small snags. In The Lost Symbol, Harvard Professor Robert Langdon is called […]

Eat the Document by Dana Spiotta

June 9, 2008 6

Picador, 2008, 9780330448291 (Aus, US) Mary sits in a dingy motel room in 1972 trying to figure out who she’s going to be. It is difficult to choose a name. She needs to be faceless, to blend. She needs to appear bland, harmless. No that she had meant to do any harm. In 1998 Jason […]

Paint It Black by Janet Fitch

November 13, 2007

Virago, 2007 (Aus, US) If your lover ended their life, would you feel you had ever really known them? Josie Tyrell is an artist’s model and student-film actress in punk ’80s LA. She escaped her white trash upbringing for a life of parties, drugs, music and intriguing people. She met Michael, who gave up a […]