Fiction, mainly contemporary

This blog focuses on fiction, mainly contemporary, discussing issues such as elements of autobiography in novels, the relevance of genre, and the influence of critics, fads and fashions.  – J.W. Garton

Recent posts

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In “The Glad Shout” Alice Robinson skilfully navigates the competing demands of bringing a dystopian ecological disaster into focus while exploring the emotional lives of her characters with fierce intensity… When Melbourne is deluged by rising water levels, Isobel fetches up in a refugee camp with her partner Shaun and young daughter Matilda…

It is as though the ecological disaster strips away her emotional blinkers, forcing Isobel into extreme circumstances that throw her inner life into stark relief.

Michelle de Kretser’s “The Life to Come” is an engaging and profound account of the lives tltc-cover copyof a loosely connected group of people, some of them with links to Sri Lanka, all of them with links to Australia. She ranges effortlessly from acute psychological insights into the minutiae of our inner lives, to acerbic commentary on social issues.

 

imageBernadette Brennan’s account of Helen Garner’s writing career, “A Writing Life: Helen Garner and her Work” (Text Publishing, 2017), provides what Brennan terms a “literary portrait” focused on the writing, rather than a biography. She achieves what the title suggests, proceeding chapter by chapter through the written works, and linking the writing of these works to a broad chronology of Garner’s life.

chaconneausDiana Blackwood’s excellent debut novel “Chaconne” explores the inner life of a young Australian woman, Eleanor Weston, on an odyssey to Europe. Eleanor’s ambition is to achieve her hopes and dreams in a life shared with a French boyfriend she met in Sydney. Eleanor is intelligent, intellectual, passionate, and of course, idealistic and naive.

 

thtProphecy and Dystopia – “The Handmaid’s Tale”

Since the global success of the TV series based on “The Handmaid’s Tale” (THT) Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel has sold millions more copies and become the source of much controversy. Needless to say, the TV series is very different from the novel, with more graphic brutality…

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Asymmetry or Borrowed Gravitas? – Lisa Halliday’s Transgressive Novel

“Asymmetry” by Lisa Halliday must surely be the most warmly reviewed novel published in 2018. A main feature of all the publicity is that the novel features a semi-disguised account of the author’s affair with Philip Roth, a literary legend in the USA…

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