Ian McEwan                     

Reviewed by Heather O’Connorbook

I think I have mentioned before how excited I get when my favourite authors bring out a new book: here we go again! Ian McEwan has surpassed himself this time: the novel is short (200 pages) and can easily be read in one sitting—which I did. The narrator is his youngest ever—in fact, a third-term foetus. He’s described as a modern day Hamlet, who lies helpless in his mother’s womb, listening to her plot to kill her husband, the father … Read more »

The Natural Way of Things

Charlotte Wood, The Natural Way of Things, $29.99 (August 2016)

BookpicI’ve made a vow to always the buy the book which wins the Stella Prize for women’s fiction, because it’s such a terrific addition to Australia’s literary life. The 2016 prize went to well-known author, Charlotte Woode, and the book is causing the same arguments amongst my reading friends as The Slap did a few years ago.

Two friends said is was the best and the most important book they had read for years; two couldn’t finish it, one commenting that it was taking … Read more »

The Neapolitan Novels

Elana Ferrante,  The Neapolitan Novels Text Publishing $22.99 (July 2016) 

BOOK1There are four books in this series: My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay and The Story of the Lost Child. The publication caused something of a literary sensation and jettisoned the author (who remains anonymous) into international fame. Each book traces a period of time in the lives of two women who maintained a friendship stretching from their childhood days in Napoli. I read the first … Read more »

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 … 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 … 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 … Read more »