Daisy & Woolf is a rich, complex book that blurs binaries and boundaries, provoking big questions around art, parenting, love, privilege, colonisation, and creativity.The narrative flows quickly, driven by its dual protagonists, with the book unfolding its denser meaning later, in the shared collaborative space between reader and writer.
It is always both true and fictive, and like dreams, pieced together from a grab-bag of images and turned into stories that reflect the themes being explored. The Age of Fibs picks up on this uncertainty beautifully and works with it, allowing for openness, complexity, and fragmentation, while still keeping the coherency of the story intact.
In Shaky Town, Mathews expertly shows us how things work and why they break down, taking apart and putting back together a range of small, yet fully felt lives. His overlapping worlds are mapped in prose that shimmers like hammered copper. He knows this territory well: you don’t doubt that when a certain bug shrinks the leaves of a eugenia hedge, more of a morose neighbor’s sad guitar music will bleed through.
There are two things I appreciate most about this brave novel by Dalgarno. The first is that it explores so candidly the inner world of the narrator—Chris – who is painted with such pathos, to provoke tenderness and vulnerability in the reader and cast toxic masculinity under scrutiny. Secondly, I appreciate how it aroused in me important conversations on love and ethics, coloured by story.
In Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, an appreciator of different kinds of language and literature, a modernist who remembered tradition, describes Janie Crawford’s stifling life and surprising growth with language that is, as needed, confiding, folksy, general, poetic, philosophical, or startlingly specific.
Oli’s rebirth is rooted in connection, where she feels herself a part of the ocean; a part of the Earth, and connected to the other women with her. It’s an antidote to violence and the kind of toxic masculinity that is destroying our species. Below Deck is a rich, powerful, and wonderful novel full of exquisite writing, important themes, and powerfully realised textures.
The streets of Melbourne are vividly alive in this work, and nowhere more so than in its description of the natural world around the city, from Royal Park where Trevor walks Gordon to the steel carriages tram, the graffitied buildings or the flora and fauna that is everywhere in flashes of beauty.
So much of what makes the present tense of the novel possible comes down to luck, small acts of kindness, and the often random connections that take place. The book is beautifully written, poetic throughout and very moving. There is a lyrical richness and cadence which creates immediacy.
Brandi’s prose is consistently beautiful, and the story itself remains compelling and fast paced. The rip metaphor is repeated like a refrain throughout the book, and creates a strong connection between the reader and the protagonist. The Rip is an intense, important read, shining a light on an area that has not been the subject of much art, and encouraging deep empathy, understanding and engagement.
There is also an inherent indeterminacy or multiplicity in the way the story unfolds, so that it is both a domestic story, with sumptuously described meals, personal care/tenderness, tea taking, and small acts of kindness that include buying teddies and dolls and supportive talk between friends, as well as being a story of international espionage involving great acts of big evil: arms dealing, drug dealing, government complicity, murder, and looming war.