Tag: literary fiction

A review of The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood

The Natural Way of Things is an easy book to read but a hard one to digest. It holds up a mirror that shows an ugly reflection of the relationship between capitalism and misogyny that once glimpsed cannot be unseen. Though it’s disturbing, The Natural Way of Things is also powerful, beautiful, and utterly important.

A review of The Last Wife of Attila the Hun by Joan Schweighardt

The Last Wife of Atilla the Hun manages the perfect balance between the epic setting from which it takes its cue, and the intimate and domestic world that Gudrun finds herself in. Gudrun is cut off from the battlefield from which she only hears news, and unlike Sigrid, doesn’t go on a quest for dragon’s gold.

A review of The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Buried Giant is not an easy book. Its simple prose belies the complexity of the narrative, and the multiple layers of meaning as Ishiguro presents us with extremes that are equally unpalatable, and both of which could well be seen as the modern condition. At times, the fog is enough to engulf the reader, and the work seems to be as obscure in its meaning as the location of Beatrice and Axl’s son’s village.

A review of The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things is like no other book I’ve read. It’s exquisite, sad, uplifting and doomed all at the same time. I wish that the ending was different, and know, somehow, that nothing else that would do. This is a book that will remain with me, working its way under my skin like the Oasan atmosphere.

A review of No One is here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel

No One is here Except All of Us is an exquisite, circular tale that takes us back to where we started – where we all start – at birth, where we create the world afresh. It’s full of wonder even in the midst of the most dire tragedies. Beautifully written, full of pain and poetry, this is a book that opens histories most intense and painful moments and shows what survives: love and DNA.

A review of Personal Effects by Carmel Macdonald Grahame

Personal Effects is the story of a couple on the move –repeatedly changing country in search of work, exiled and migratory, homeless yet rooted through their sense of family; of consistency in their relationship. Beyond that the story explores what we lose and what we gain, throughout any ordinary life. It explores the shifting and cyclical perceptions of time passing, and it examines, in a deep, poetic way, the way we make meaning out of our lives.

A review of Eyrie by Tim Winton

All of the characters in this book are needy in one way or another, even those, like Keely’s mum Doris, who appear to be self-contained. These needs, some of which are complex and subtle, form a subtext that operates as a perfect contrast to the thriller-like action that escalates as the story progresses. The result is a beautiful, deep and engaging story that illuminates human frailty, teases out the nature of risk and compassion, and goes very deep into the heart of love, loss, and personal responsibility.

A review of Street to Street by Brian Castro

Though Street to Street often presents a bleak view, with university bureaucrats stifling creativity, talent thwarted and wasted, and beauty and love destroyed through lack of focus, it does seem to me to end on a very positive, and deeply tender note. The real richness of this novel begins and ends with language and the power that attentiveness to it has to overcome the foibles and day-to-day emptiness that seems to take hold of the two protagonists in this book.

A review of Elemental By Amanda Curtin

Elemental is an exquisite novel. Every word of it is tightly crafted and pregnant with possibility. It is self-referential and post-modern in the way it undermines time, creating a genetic and emotional link between characters in multiple times and places.

A review of Peace, Love and Khaki Socks by Kim Lock

The novel’s strength is the very personal journey the reader takes alongside Amy as she weighs up conventional First World medical procedures with the almost Cavewoman-style natural homebirthing. It is a suspenseful ride with her as she battles conventions, the expectations of others as well as a category three tropical cyclone to boot.