Australian fiction

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The Performance by Claire Thomas: A night at the theatre

It was its setting and structure that attracted me to Claire Thomas’ The Performance, although that brightly coloured jacket played some part. A clever design which fits the novel well. As its title suggests, the backdrop for Thomas’ novel is a Melbourne theatre where three women are watching a performance of Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days …

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There Was Still Love by Favel Parrett: A poignant tribute

Australian writer Favel Parrett’s beautifully expressed When the Night Come  made quite an impression on me when it was published in the UK back in 2014. It was its Antarctica setting that first attracted me but it was Parrett’s gorgeous writing that left me wanting more. It’s clear from its dedication that There Was Still …

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An Isolated Incident by Emily Maguire: A crime novel for those who don’t read crime

I spotted An Isolated Incident on Twitter and liked the look of it but thought it might be too much of a crime novel for me. My appetite for crime fiction is more than sated by TV. Then it turned up in the post, sent by Eye Books the tiny publisher who’ve released it here …

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The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser: The way we live now

Last year’s reading got off to a very satisfying start with a book by an Australian author – Jennifer Down’s compassionate, clear-sighted and lovely debut, Our Magic Hour. Coincidentally, this year’s has also begun with a beautifully crafted, thoroughly engaging Australian novel. I’d read and enjoyed Michelle de Kretser’s Questions of Travel a few years …

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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos by Dominic Smith: Art and fakery

I’m not sure how I managed to miss Dominic Smith’s novel last year, although the hardback edition’s jacket is somewhat off-putting. In his author’s note Smith tells his readers that the eponymous Sara is loosely based on one of the first women to be admitted to St Luke’s Guild in the 17th-century Netherlands, explaining that …

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Our Magic Hour by Jennifer Down: Learning to look after yourself

This book was actually published here in the UK at the very tail end of 2016 – I hope that won’t mean that it falls through the Christmas/New Year coverage cracks because it deserves attention. Our Magic Hour is Jennifer Down’s debut and comes from Australian publishers Text Publishing whose books I’ve learnt to look …

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