Grief, drugs and sex work: surviving the loss of two sisters

When Chloe Higgins was 17 she thought her HSC mark would determine the rest of her life. She was at home studying for her trial exams as her father's car veered onto the wrong side of the Monaro Highway, near Canberra, collided with a four-wheel drive, flipped over and burst into flames in 2005. Her younger sisters, Carlie, 14, and […]

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History repeats itself in Claire G. Coleman’s The Old Lie

It is known as the "overview effect", the profound shift in understanding that astronauts can experience when they see Earth from space. Claire G. Coleman's new novel, The Old Lie, evokes a similar transformation of perspective – taking us deep into the cosmos to reveal our home planet in all its beauty and horror. Earth is under attack. Explosions turn […]

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Kickass cop Gemma Woodstock looks death straight in the eye

Crime fictionWhere the Dead Go, Sarah BaileyAllen & Unwin, $29.99 Police detective Gemma Woodstock admits her relationship with death is "solid. We go way back." It started with the demise of her mother from an aneurism, an ex-boyfriend from suicide and, of course, there's her corpse-littered career: "I've circled it, smelled it and looked it straight in the eye." Sarah […]

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The New York Times Book Review: Back Issues

This Week’s Issue: April 7, 2019 Back Issues: March 31, 2019 March 24, 2019 March 17, 2019 March 10, 2019 March 3, 2019 Feb. 24, 2019 Feb. 17, 2019 Feb. 10, 2019 Feb. 3, 2019 Jan. 27, 2019 Jan. 20, 2019 Jan. 13, 2019 Jan. 6, 2019 Dec. 30, 2018 Dec. 23, 2018 Dec. 16, 2018 Dec. 9, 2018 Dec. […]

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Vicki Hastrich and the pleasures of looking

Memoir Credit: Night FishingVicki Hastrich Allen & Unwin, $29.99 After her first two well-received works of fiction, Swimming with Jellyfish (2001) and The Great Arch (2008), Vicki Hastrich takes us back to her childhood via the waterways of the Brisbane Water estuary, near Woy Woy on the NSW central coast. This shimmering book of personal essays examines the pleasures of […]

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Living in Extreme Isolation: Is It Possible Without Going Mad?

THE WARLOW EXPERIMENT By Alix Nathan The warning signals in Alix Nathan’s novel “The Warlow Experiment” are there from the start. Based on what is apparently a true story, the “experiment” of Nathan’s title is the stuff of, if not a mad, then at least a very potty scientist. Herbert Powyss, a gentleman botanist in 18th-century England, offers 50 pounds […]

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'Beautiful Beara is the star of my new book' – crime writer Alex Barclay on how move to isolated West Cork has informed her writing

The windswept, rugged terrain of the Beara Peninsula is a far cry from the bustle of Dublin city. Yet for Alex Barclay, the former magazine editor-turned-crime writer, the former provides the right amount of creative inspiration. So much so, in fact, that the author has turned her hand to different genres of books, including thrillers and Young Adult. Twelve years […]

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Nominate now: Politicians’ Book Club in session

The traditional book club is a feature of friendship circles, libraries and neighbourhood get-togethers, and now the social group interested in all things literary is coming to Canberra's Parliament House. Federal MPs have been invited to join the inaugural Parliamentary Book Club, and the public has been given the chance to nominate their readings from books authored by an Australian […]

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Sins of Commission (in Michigan) and Omission (in Spain)

The Upper Peninsula To the Editor: In his review of “Hunter’s Moon: A Novel in Stories” (August 4), Bruce Barcott’s reporting on Philip Caputo’s version of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula may be perfectly legitimate — but to the extent that Barcott appears to adopt that version of the U.P. as accurate, his description is flawed. Barcott asserts that the U.P. “encompasses […]

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Emojis Are Language Too: A Linguist Says Internet-Speak Isn’t Such a Bad Thing

BECAUSE INTERNET Understanding the New Rules of Language By Gretchen McCulloch The internet has greatly expanded the volume and visibility of informal writing. (Duh.) In “Because Internet,” the linguist Gretchen McCulloch reviews the ways the online environment is changing how we communicate. If you are concerned about digital tools dumbing down written English, or leaving young people with lazier syntactic […]

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