Country Update Book Reviews

THE CRYING PLACE

Lia HillsAllen & Unwin A stunning literary debut that takes the reader into the mysteries and truths that lie at the heart of our country. When Saul learns that his oldest friend Jed has died after returning from a remote Aboriginal community, he goes in search of answers. His only lead...

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THE SHIFTING LIGHT

 Alice Campion  Penguin Random House Sequel to The Painted Sky, and significant in that the author is an alias for a group of Sydney journalists and literary savants, who formed a ‘committee’ of sorts to try to create a broad-strokes, contemporary family saga, ala The Thorn Birds. There is no deficit...

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ALL FALL DOWN

 Cassandra AustinPenguin Random House When a bridge in the small outback town of Mululuk mysteriously collapses, the town is cut off from the world, and its citizens from each other. Rachel, an unwilling teenage visitor sent to her uncle from Melbourne becomes embroiled in the drama. Janice wakes from a car...

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CONGO DAWN

 Katherine ScholesPenguin Random House Inspired by real events and set in the exotic but dangerous world of 1960s newly-independent Congo this is a panoramic story of the fragility of family ties and the failure of faith to fix injustice in turmoil. There’s a lot of interesting background to this release as...

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THIRD TIME LUCKY

 Karly LaneAllen & Unwin When her marriage ends, mired in scandal and debt, December Doyle returns home to Christmas Creek. Will she conquer her crippling lack of self-esteem and rise above the humiliation and betrayal? Working two jobs and living with her parents struggling to pretend she has a life, she...

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TRUE COLOURS

 Kristin HannahMacMillan True Colours is an unforgettable novel about jealousy, betrayal, passion and forgiveness – and what it means to be a family. The Grey sisters have always looked after one another. Growing up on a sprawling ranch with an emotionally distant father, they had nowhere else to turn after their...

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TRULY MADLY GUILTY

 Liane MoriartyPan Macmillan Catalyst of this domestic thriller is an incident at a mundane backyard barbecue with six adults, three children, a yappy dog and a grumpy neighbour. The narrative switches from the now timeline  to the day of the barbecue, and drip feeds subtle clues but keeps the actual incident...

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THE STORY OF AUSTRALIA’S PEOPLE

 Geoffrey Blainey Penguin Random House In this masterwork, Blainey deftly traces Australia’s history over the past two centuries. Central themes and events covered in the book include: The collision between the very strong masculine and very strong feminist traditions within Australia as an unusual and formative feature of our history. The...

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MRS KELLY

 Grantlee KiezaABC Books While we know Ned Kelly intimately, his mother Ellen Kelly has been largely overlooked by Australian writers and historians – until this vivid and compelling portrait. When Ellen arrived in Melbourne in 1841 aged nine, British convict ships were still dumping their unhappy cargo in what was then...

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THE URBAN FARMER

 Justin CalverleyABC Books The go-to guide for anyone who dreams of living the country life in the city. Producing our own fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs and honey is perfectly possible in a suburban space, and this practical guide will help urban dwellers develop a more sustainable existence. Justin advocates observing and...

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