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Topic: literary fiction
Writing on writing: guest post by Harry Bingham

Writing on writing: guest post by Harry Bingham

  I’ve been a professional writer for more than ten years,  but it was only recently, when asked to produce a How to Write book by A&C Black/Bloomsbury, that I came to think systematically about this craft of ours. I mean ‘systematically’ in two different dimensions. First, there’s the whole area of technique. How, precisely, […]

Some of my short stories available as ebooks

Some of my short stories available as ebooks

I decided to extend the life of some of my short stories that have been published in journals/magazines over the last few years, by publishing them digitally. It’s a bit of a (fairly safe) experiment in self-publishing and the world of ebooks. I’m loving reading on my Kobo eReader, and I’ve made these stories available […]

<i>This Too Shall Pass</i> by SJ Finn

This Too Shall Pass by SJ Finn

This review first appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald: Spectrum on the weekend of February 26-27. Sleepers Publishing 9781742700380 March 2011 (Aus) Jen Montgomery, known as ‘Monty’, had always considered herself a ‘forever’ person, until years into her marriage when something shifted. Monty began a relationship with another woman. This Too Shall Pass not only reflects on […]

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

Cult carny lit: Katherine Dunn’s Geek Love

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 […]

<i>The Mary Smokes Boys</i> by Patrick Holland

The Mary Smokes Boys by Patrick Holland

Transit Lounge August 2010 9780980571790 A version of this review originally appeared in the Byron Shire Echo. Grey North lives in the small town of Mary Smokes, outside of Brisbane. Grey’s mother dies giving birth to his little sister, Irene, and from this traumatic event the novel, and Grey’s character, emerges. On the night his […]

Eleanor Catton’s <i>The Rehearsal</i>

Eleanor Catton’s The Rehearsal

Granta 2009 (Aus/NZ, US) 9781847081162 All the world’s a stage… A novel as a performance, more – a novel as flirtation (the performance of flirting): self-conscious, inviting yet exclusive. The reader is all the roles, all the characters and all the actors – for in The Rehearsal there are layers of fictional existence – blended, […]

Peter Goldsworthy’s <i>Everything I Knew</i>

Peter Goldsworthy’s Everything I Knew

Penguin Aus ISBN 9780143009634 (paperback, August 2009) It’s 1964 in small-town South Australia and Robert Burns (like the poet) is on the cusp of adolescence. ‘Happiness is a default state’, he narrates, looking back. Reading it, no matter when or where you grew up, one can relate to that simplicity, the time before ‘adult’ aspects of […]

J.M. Coetzee’s <i>Disgrace</i>

J.M. Coetzee’s Disgrace

Disgrace JM Coetzee 9780099289524 Vintage (Aus, US) Disgrace is centred around David Lurie, a Romantic Poetry Professor at a Cape Town University, and an unapologetic lover of the firm, youthful, accommodating female form. He’s been married twice, and in the story satisfies his hunger with a prostitute, and then a student, becoming enamored with both […]

Philipp Meyer’s <i>American Rust</i>

Philipp Meyer’s American Rust

A&U 2009, 9781741756838 (Aus, US/Kindle) The fundamental thread, through Philipp Meyer’s brilliant American Rust, is mistakes and failures, and how they come about through choice, instinct or luck. In the novel, each of the characters comes up against choices large and small, and the reader is not only witness to the outcomes of their decisions, […]

<i>Turner’s Paintbox</i> by Paul Morgan

Turner’s Paintbox by Paul Morgan

Viking, 9780670071364, 2007 (Australia) Gerard Moyne is an extremely successful Sydney-based art consultant, art lover, and all round philosophical aesthete. He falls for the independent, earthy, and oft-scattered Julia. They’re not exactly opposites, but nor do they complement each other entirely. Their relationship, and its undoing (it begins with this) are chronicled, alongside the narrative […]