7 Australian novels you should read
Although I live in inner Melbourne, there’s something about Australia’s vast outback that has a magnetic pull, and I often (though not always!) find myself drawn to books that explore rural settings.
Shirley Barrett Rush Oh!
by Shirley Barrett
Her world is further upended when she falls in love with former Methodist preacher-turned-whaler, the mysterious John Beck. Barrett’s exploration of this world and her characters is bittersweet and hilarious.
Questions of Travel
by Michelle de Kretser
The writing is ravishingly beautiful, sharply funny, and touching—though without a hint of melodrama. Never before have I read Sydney brought so vividly to life. It’s a book brimming with ideas: global forces, rapidly evolving technology, the difference between travel and connection to place, and so much more. Wonderful.
The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt
by Tracy Farr
Lena Gaunt reveals the parts of her life that gave her joy—her music, her daughter, Grace, and her lover—as well as those touched by the grief of loss. A quiet and melancholy book filled with subtle detail.
by J M Green
The plot sets a cracking pace through police investigations, corporate corruption and journeys to Western Australia and finally an inland desert. Utterly Australian in its evocation of urban and rural settings and its sensibility, the book’s political subtext adds another level. Just so much fun.
That Deadman Dance
by Kim Scott
The novel’s hero, a young Noongar man named Bobby Wabalanginy, is initially welcomed into European culture, including a prosperous white family. But as colonisation expands, the initial goodwill fades, leaving Bobby threading a path between the two fracturing worlds, somehow surviving.
From the Wreck
by Jane Rawson
But Rawson explodes those conventions, introducing the lone, shape-shifting survivor of an alien world, grieving for its lost home and fellow inhabitants, and trying to make its way in this strange world. It’s filled with loneliness, wonderment and compassion, and beyond that is beautifully written.
by Alexis Wright
It brims with Dreamtime references and non-European understandings: of ancestors, spirits, ghosts, nature, even the place of people in a damaged world. Wright, a Waanyi woman, keeps the reader unsettled, yet gives so much through her original and poetic vision, and a vivid, even epic, sense of place.
Salt Creek by Lucy Treloar is out now from Aardvark Bureau (£14.99 hardback)
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