House of Names

Colm Toibin, House of Names, $29.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor
August 2017

I must have been one of the first people in Australia to buy this recent release, such is my obsession with this terrific writer. I was a bit daunted by the reviews I had read, and it was much harder to get into than other books of his, mainly because my knowledge of Greek mythology … Read more »

Exit West

Mohsin Hamid, Exit West, $32.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Many of you will have read The Reluctant Fundamentalist (or seen the film), an earlier work of the author. In Exit West, he brings a really interesting take on the refugee experience, writing with a mix of stark reality and a touch of magical realism which you don’t expect in books dealing with displacement and incredible hardship.

You don’t know the identity of the city about which … Read more »

Between a Wolf and a Dog

Georgia Blain, Between a Wolf and a Dog, $29.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

This is a novel that will move you to tears. While completing the work, the writer found out she was suffering from brain cancer, the same fate facing Hilary, one of the characters in the book, and the mother of the main character, Ester. Hilary is widowed and determined to take control of her life and the manner of her death, which she does, independently of her family—food for thought as we all debate the ethics … Read more »

Music and Freedom

Zoe Morrison, Music and Freedom, $32.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Zoe Morrison has a broad and interesting background in music and in issues surrounding violence against women, two themes at the heart of this award-winning first novel.

Music and Freedom is the story of a young girl from country Victoria whose life is transformed when she wins a scholarship to Oxford to study music. Her early days there are marked by loneliness and overwhelming homesickness, but she gradually becomes absorbed in the life and culture, and seems destined for … Read more »

Annie Dunne

Annie Dunne, by Sebastian Barry, $19.99

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

One of the greatest joys of my life is reading almost anything written by almost any Irish writer – and Sebastian Barry is in my top five favourites. Over Christmas I read Days Without End, and then found Annie Dunn. Set in the 1950s in Ireland, it could have been describing the lives of 19th century rural women. So little had changed … Read more »

The Dark Flood Rises

Margaret Drabble, The Dark Flood Rises, $29.99

I haven’t read any book by Margaret Drabble for years, so this was a bit of trip down memory lane. I can’t remember her being quite so “earnest” – I’ll have to re-read some of her earlier works. One reviewer of this, her nineteenth novel, remarked that people under 60 might not get much out of this book, but for … Read more »