This Devastating Fever by Sophie Cunningham
Fiction, Ultimo Press, $32.99
In the midst of this devastating fever – which Sophie Cunningham took 16 years to write – a fictional author named Alice (Cunningham’s stand-in) spent 16 years writing a The book, titled… The Destructive Fever. The book, about Virginia Woolf’s husband Leonard, was a tough sell anyway – but Alice’s research turned into an obsession, and as the publisher’s Impatient, she interrupts her deadline with red herring holes and international travel. tipping point.
“More sex!” her publisher demanded – so we got four pages of dots on the Bloomsbury panel titled “Who’s fucking who”. “Less footnotes!” her publisher declares – but Alice (read: Sophie) can’t seem to kill her baby. It’s a strange historical novel about Woolf, yes — but it’s also an autobiography and metafiction about the writing of this book. It’s fun, smart, and moving. – Stephen Harmon
Victoria Hannan’s Marshmallow
Novel, Hachette, $29.99
Here’s the nightmarish thing: After throwing a hectic birthday party for two-year-old Toby, his young parents and their friends gathered outside for a beer, a cocktail and to relax. Inside, left unattended for a moment, the little boy found a stray marshmallow, choked on it, and died. No one is to blame. Everyone is responsible.
Her first book since her critically acclaimed debut is 2020’s Kokomo, Victoria Hannan’s Marshmallow about the consequences of each of five friends. Slap with Christos Tsiolkas With a simple comparison, it’s a fascinating, tender, and compassionate look at how grief and guilt affect everyone in different ways—and how tragedy can bring us together or tear us apart. – Shanghai
Harold Holt of Rose Walker
Biography, Black & Company, $34.99
In writing this surprising, literary, and fresh biography, Walker aimed to be “somewhere between biography and non-fiction narrative—history told as a story.” Much of it focuses on who Holt was before he became Australia’s prime minister in 1966, the year before his infamous disappearance at sea. There’s a lot to this, though: Walker shows how Holt has been drawn to water his entire life – practicing holding his breath when parliament is bored and freaking him out when his wife finds him submerged in the bathtub.
They are small examples of the adventurous, stoic, and kind-hearted man Walker revealed, whose circumstances of death belied his fine character traits. Where there were gaps in the first-hand accounts, Walker made keen observations of Holt’s behavior or reactions by using known information. It’s a confident book, and generally beautifully written—unexpectedly, for a political biography. – Sian Kane
Peggy Frew’s Wildflowers
Novel, Alan and Unwin, $32.99
All of Peggy Frew’s novels explore in some way the dynamics between families, revealing their complex, struggling individuals through a variety of lenses.wildflower It is the pinnacle of Frew’s best qualities – beautiful, profound observation; full of tension; deeply domestic.
In it, three sisters – Meg, Nina and Amber – drive to a holiday home in remote northern Queensland in an attempt to right past wrongs and reconnect. Frew once again demonstrated her extraordinary insight into the conflicting personal lives and traumas beneath the surface of the family. – Baker Kavanagh
This is Chris Flynn’s Leviathan
Short Stories, UQP, $32.99
Chris Flynn’s last book, Mammoths, was narrated by an American mastodon that went extinct 13,000 years ago – and he captured the personality of the old bones so well that the author eventually found a part-time job at Museums Victoria Work. Here Be Leviathans is a series that picks up where the experiment left off, as Flynn gives voice to the voiceless: a self-inflating monkey about to be shot into space; an airplane chair that lands in a Siberian forest after an explosive crash; A group of hipster otters with a flair for the visual arts; and — in one particularly prescient story — a saber-toothed tiger in a Jurassic Park-like playground for the terrifyingly rich.
The cute premise would tire a little writer, but Flynn’s work is so humorous, vocal and empathetic that the stories can’t help but move you. – Shanghai
“Bong and Leslie” by Sean Prescott
Novel, Giramondo, $29.95
Sean Prescott’s 2017 debut “Small Town” is an evocative, bizarre satire of regional Australia towns – capturing the listless suffocation (geographically; psychologically) trapped within. ), and their tendency to disappear. The book has won global releases, critical acclaim and comparisons to Gerard Monane’s The Plain – so his follow-up five years later represents a somewhat brighter world moment.
I haven’t read this yet, but at first glance Bon and Lesley appear as companions; again surreal, deadpan, and dark; again set in a desolate Australian country town in a jungle Character Bon finds himself after a fire stops his train from escaping the city. The author describes it as his “doomsday metal novel…I can’t write anything else until it’s not within my reach”. – Shanghai
Against Disappearance, edited by Leah Jing McIntosh and Adolfo Aranjuez
Essays, Pantera, $32.99
This collection of Aboriginal authors and authors of color—20 finalists for the Liminal and Pantera Press Nonfiction Awards—includes incredible writing. Contributors include Hasib Hourani, who made me laugh with his serious, lonely, and acerbic reflections; and Kasumi Borczyk, who creatively layered family narratives. Writing with sentimentality and wit, by Lur Alghurabi, Brandon K Liew offers a piece of Melbourne history that the city never belonged to: an intimate account of a specific time and place; a family history that only he can recreate.
Get a copy for yourself, a copy for your friends, and prepare to be overwhelmed. – Declan Fry.
sally olds lunch man
Prose, Upswell, $29.99
The Melbourne critic’s debut has covered a variety of social scenarios (most of which are very club): from secret societies to art fairs to cryptocurrencies. Each piece in the series – subtitled “Essays on Work, Leisure and Easy Living” – asks you to think harder about the way we make money, party and take care of each other. Oz’s writing is effortless and direct, driven by a sharp wit and a radiant, unaffected interest in the world around her. With enviable clarity and style, she reduces assumptions about class and gender.
She’s not afraid to bring a scalpel into her life — in a fascinating essay on polygamy, questioning the political potential we may have captured or missed in the way we build our most intimate relationships. Another writer once described Oz to me as “underrated” — a problem that this book should address. (Also: Best cover of the year? I think so.) – Imogen Dewey