Lindqvist and King: Horror and catharsis

Dear Mr. Ajvide Lindqvist, I find myself wanting to see your arm, to verify if there is an ‘X’ scarring it, carved by a monster of a policeman. Seeing this scar, I think, might convince me of the existence of horrors beyond this world.   In this year of firsts, I was lucky enough recently…

Reading and Taxidermy and Meanjin

This year. This maddening, sometimes wonderful year. I am so thrilled to share a short piece I’ve written for Meanjin – an incredible Australian literary magazine I’ve read and followed since uni. This is a happy tick on the writerly bucket list. I’ve dreamed of my writing being published by Meanjin, and this blog post as…

Bad Romance: The Love of a Bad Man / Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Who doesn’t love a murderess? Popular culture tropes relish in the fantasy of the bitch, the fallen woman, seductress, but especially in the complete dissolution of the feminine stereotype, that notorious beast – the female serial killer. Women killers feature heavily in Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s The Love of a Bad Man. If the ratio of…

Grief, healing and horses: The writing of Eliza Henry-Jones

It’s rare that a piece of writing moves me to tears, but I’ll readily admit that in the course of reading the novels of Australian author Eliza Henry-Jones, it’s been three-for-three. These books are powerful, moving, and incredibly human. The experience began with Ache, Henry-Jones’ latest adult release. I read it travelling between Helensburgh and…

Pitching for writers: A personal post

I imagine it’s a bit like an audition for film role, a casting session, where all the potential actors size each other up in the waiting area. Ultimately they have the same aim, and they can’t all get the part. But they’ve been on a similar journey, fought the same or similar battles for recognition,…

Strange and beautiful: From the Wreck / Jane Rawson

Speculative fiction is by its very nature strange and unexpected. Jane Rawson’s From the Wreck is both of these and more. I’d heard of the title from various book lists and reviews yet I was reluctant to pick it up given its seemingly incongruous premise: a surreal blend of historical fiction and sci-fi. The history…

In defence of reading genre: What Dark Clouds Hide / Anne Holt

I’m guilty of book-snobbery. My guilty genre of choice is that mysterious beast known as Scandinavian or Nordic noir. Brooding, complex, ambivalent, gritty, cold and psychologically challenging, it has all the hallmarks I love to read. Scandi-noir is notably less concerned with following a crime procedural formula. Characters in these books are flawed, and the…

Review: The North Water / Ian McGuire

The North Water is a book I suspect I’m not meant to have enjoyed. For one, it’s undeniably ‘masculine’: a miasma of semen, blood and sweat. The only women in it are whores, largely unnamed background characters that function as little more than orifices for rent. It is also a book about whaling. And I’m…

Musing: Nest / Inga Simpson

This is less a review than a musing on Nest (by Inga Simpson, originally pub’d 2014 – yes, I’m always late to the show). Listening to the audiobook in January, I realised how fascinating it is to hear the author of a book narrate their own work. Authors understand their work like no other person can, including…

Review: Salvage the Bones

The world is an ugly place at the moment. There seems to be hatred everywhere. I find myself needing to turn off the outside and find other worlds. I read.   This review of Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones may contain spoilers, but this is not a book of suspense. From the onset, it is clear something…