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 »

Blacklands

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Blacklands
Belinda Bauer
Orion, $19.99

Blacklands, the first novel by Belinda Bauer, is a chilling psychological read. It’s both a tale of a broken, dysfunctional family and a journey into the mind of a child-murdering serial killer.

The story revolves around Steven Lamb, a 12-year-old boy from a poor background, whose uncle, Billy, was believed to have been a victim of the child … Read more »

The Art of Racing in the Rain


Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Garth Stein
$26.99

I imagine this book has a different impact on readers depending on whether they have a dog or not. Enzo the dog is the narrator, the friend, the confidant and ally, with a human soul. Other readers might find it predictable and unbelievable. I believed it because I’ve seen how my dog looks knowingly at me at times.

The story begins when Enzo … Read more »

Ducks, Newburyport

Ducks, Newburyport
Lucy Ellmann

Text Publishing

Reviewed by Jen Severn

Present circumstances have allowed me the time and space to finish Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann. I was intrigued when I heard that it comprises just one sentence of stream-of-consciousness (one review said ‘Ulysses has nothing on this’), and when my brother called to ask for ideas for my birthday present in November, it was my first thought. But somehow I’d missed the detail that it’s over a … Read more »