Emperor of the Eight Islands: The Tale of Shikando

Lian Hearn Emperor of the Eight Islands: The Tale of Shikando, Hachette $29.99 (June 2016)  

Bookpic1 If, like me, you have been a huge fan of Tales of the Otori series (Across the Nightingale Floor et al), you will be so happy to know that this wonderful writer, now resident in Australia, has launched another series based in medieval Japan. This time, the central character is Shikanoko, a young man who has been made a sorcerer against his will. Despite numerous hair-raising encounters with evil spirits (and evil humans), assassins and ghosts, his innate goodness and the … Read more »

Gentlemen Formerly Dressed

Sulari Gentill, Gentlemen Formerly Dressed, Pantera Press $22.99 (May 2016) 

BOOK2In the lead-up to the Sisters in Crime weekend extravaganza in Cobargo and Bermagui (second weekend in October, 2016), I have been seeking out Australian women writers of crime. Sulari Gentill was born in Sri Lanka, but emigrated here at the age of seven, so I’m sure it’s OK to claim her as ours. She trained as a lawyer, (having abandoned her first love, astrophysics), then turned to fiction writing, creating a series of historical crime fiction books. Her hero is Rowland … Read more »

The High Mountains of Portugal

Yann Martel,  The High Mountains of Portugal, Text Publishing $29.99 (April 2016)

Yann Martel

I confess that the reason why I chose this book was because of a recent trip I took to Portugal, not to mention that The Life of P, by the same author, is just about everyone’s favourite. If I thought it was a bit out there, it is as nothing compared to this ‘magic realism’ (I think that’s how you would describe it).

The book is in … Read more »

The Secret Chord

Geraldine Brooks,  The Secret Chord,  Hachette Australia, $34.99 (March 2016)

Australian award-winning author, BookGeraldine Brooks, brings to each of her books a completely different voice, and her latest novel, The Secret Chord, doesn’t disappoint those of us who hang out for each of her offerings. Her first novel, Years of Wonder, was set in 17th century Britain, March moved to America in the 19th century, People of the Book, spanned the centuries, based in Sarajevo, then back to 17th century America with Caleb’s Crossing. … Read more »

Politics, Death and Addiction

Carolyn Hirsh,  Politics, Death and Addiction, Brolga Publishing. (February 2016)

Carolyn Hirsh is a Melbourne-based writer whose memoir, Politics, Death and Addiction, was short-listed for the Finch Memorial Prize, 2013. This is a story of love, tragedy, family, professional life, addiction and recovery.

At the heart of Carolyn’s life has been her commitment to social justice while at the same time, she constantly juggled responsibilities associated with being a sole parent, after she was widowed as a young wife and mother. A product of her time (and her gender), she worked and studied to improve her qualifications and her ability … Read more »

The Heart Goes Last

Margaret Atwood, The Heart Goes Last, Bloomsbury $32.99 (December 2015) 

Lucky for us, Margaret Atwood is still turning them out. Fifty-five publications to date: fiction, poetry, essays and children’s books. I have always enjoyed the work of this Canadian author, especially her futuristic stories such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake.

The Heart Goes Last tells a similar story of an horrific future age of economic collapse and high tech solutions. For some it is a life of poverty and crime while others nestle … Read more »