Jack

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor
Jack
Marilynne Robinson
Virago Press $29.99

Recommended by Barack Obama as one of his top books for 2020. The rest of her fans have been eagerly awaiting this fourth in her Gilead series: Gilead, Home and Lila, each of which can be read as a stand-alone novel, but each is also an important part of the, not strictly sequential, series. Set in the late 1940s, the books centre on the Boughton and Ames … Read more »

Leave the World Behind

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Leave the World Behind
Rumaan Alam
Ecco Press, $25.99

This is the third novel by this author, of whom I had never heard. It has received terrific reviews, so I have chosen it to kick off 2021. 

My first comment is that if you are one of many of us who are still feeling fragile after the challenges of 2020, you might want to give this a miss for a few more months. The … Read more »

Mammoth

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Mammoth
Chris Flynn
UQP, $29.99

This very interesting book is narrated by a 13,000-year-old extinct mammoth, told to his fellow extinct creatures as they await their sale to customers in New York in 2007. As Thomas Kenneally wrote, ‘Mammoth (encapsulates) the macro-history of all life in the tale of one species.’ It’s a strong critique of the role humans have played in destroying the natural world, but it … Read more »

Not Just Black and White


Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Not Just Black and White

Lesley Williams and Tammy Williams

UQP, $32.95

One of the easiest and best ways to learn about Indigenous culture and history is to work your way through the winners of the David Unaipon Award. It was established to celebrate both Indigenous writers of both fiction and non-fiction, in collaboration with Queensland University Press. This award acknowledges … Read more »

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three women at the heart of twentieth-century China

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Jung Chang
Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three women at the heart of twentieth-century China
Penguin, $35.00

This fascinating book tells the story of the Soong sisters, each of whom helped to shape 20th century China, and each of whom deserves a biography of her own. Their story has always reminded me of the Mitford sisters in England in terms of how … Read more »

Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark
Julia Baird
Harper Collins, $32.99

I haven’t even finished reading this book, but I already know it’s worthy of a review. Parts of it have resonated so well with my life that it’s almost as if it’s been written for me. The book is largely a collection of essays which reflect Julia’s search for light and meaning – a search that many people can identify with. Julia writes beautifully and … Read more »