Considering issues such as ideology in novels, the relevance of genre, and the influence of critics, fads and fashions.  

Authors and Critics

First Impressions


Jane Rawson’s bold and imaginative novel “From the Wreck” is a work of historical fiction that jumps off a cliff. Grounded in an authentic historical setting, the narrative escalates swiftly from George Hills’ experience of a nineteenth century shipwreck off the coast of Australia, to the struggle for survival of an alien in human form seeking refuge on planet Earth…

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Michelle de Kretser’s “The Life to Come” is an engaging and profound account of the lives of 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.


Bernadette 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.


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…


“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…


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…


Diana 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.