Reviewed by Olivia at Angus & Robertson:
In 2015, after winning the coveted Man Booker prize for literature, novelist Marlon James announced his intention to write an African Game of Thrones. This is an ambitious goal to be sure (one that many writers would have balked at), but nearly four years later James has made good on his promise. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a sprawling fantasy epic set in a mythical version of Africa, and while it may share a genre with George R.R. Martin’s wildly popular series, it’s an entirely different beast.
The transformative power of good fantasy is on full display in this enthralling tale of one man’s search for a missing boy in a land of demons, vampires and necromancers, set against a physical backdrop that is as deadly as it is beautiful. It’s an astonishing book that has drawn comparisons with the work of Gabriel García Márquez and Cormac McCarthy, and James’ novel certainly matches them in its richness, depth and sheer imaginative power. If you’re a fantasy-lover on the lookout for an exciting new series then this is the book for you.
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter - and he always works alone. But when he is engaged to find a child who disappeared three years ago, he must break his own rules, joining a group of eight very different mercenaries working together to find the boy.
Following the lost boy's scent from one ancient city to another, into dense forests and across deep rivers, Tracker starts to wonder: Who is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And most important of all, who is telling the truth and who is lying?
Drawing from vivid African history and mythology, Marlon James weaves a saga of breathtaking adventure and powerful intrigue - a mesmerising, unique meditation on the nature of truth and power.
This beautiful and painful novel by Orange Prize shortlisted Anna Burns blends shades of early Edna O'Brien with Eimear McBride's exquisite ability to capture voice.
Set in an un-named city but with an astonishing, breath-shorteningly palpable sense of time and place Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. The story of inaction with enormous consequences and decisions that are never made, but for which people are judged and punished.
Middle sister is our protagonist. She is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her nearly-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with milkman (which she herself for the life of her cannot work out how it came about). But when first brother-in-law, who of course had sniffed it out, told his wife, her first sister, to tell her mother to come and have a talk with her, middle sister becomes 'interesting'. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous.
Milkman is a searingly honest novel told in prose that is as precise and unsentimental as it is devastating and brutal. A novel that is at once unlocated and profoundly tethered to place is surely a novel for our times.
Reviewed by Robert at Angus & Robertson:
The Life to Come is a series of mini-narratives entwined to produce a rich and colourful tapestry. Like in her 2012 MIles Franklin Award-winning novel Questions of Travel, there is no dominant narrative arc here - it is the details that make up the whole. Those expecting a grand plot may be confounded at first, but if you let yourself go with the novel's small episodes, a more valuable picture emerges. This novel delves into the stories we tell both others and ourselves. It explores how we make excuses for our bad behaviour and highlight our aspirations, always with our best times and deeds just before us, in the life to come. Ultimately, De Kretser highlights how we are the heroes of our own stories.
It is mostly set in Inner West Sydney, in a world of politically aware creatives who are forever bumping against each other. Each of her characters is a kind of vignette, carrying defined ideas of who they are and where they are going. Some have cast themselves as grand writers, charitable neighbours, or great liberal supporters of refugees and the marginalised. These ideals are soon revealed as the hypocritical constructs they are, with De Kretser deftly pinning each one to the board with glorious wit - her character observations are so acute that you are often left breathless. Read More