Please see our collection of book reviews below.
Pandemic Picks – Skyward
Review by Kingsley Gittins, NTWC Projects Officer
I know what you’re thinking… Science Fiction – no chance. Not my cup of tea. Too escapist. Too much nonsense. Too many weird aliens.
If this sounds familiar then I challenge you to read Brandon Sanderson’s Skyward with an open mind. The main character is a strong willed young girl named Spensa with dreams of flying in the spaceship equivalent of a Top Gun fighter pilot school and she’s got the metaphorical balls to back it up. Putting the beautiful world building aside for a moment, the excellence of Spenser as a character alone will carry you through the narrative. Written in the first person, you are instantly transported and emotionally invested in her journey – part redemption for her fathers actions and part heroic determination to save the remnants of humanity from the mysterious Krell. Genre aside – she is a brilliant character.
Pandemic Picks – Skin
Text Publishing, 2015
Review by Fiona Dorrell, 2020 NT Writers Festival Director
For something compulsively readable and almost entirely escapist, I suggest picking up Australian-author, Ilka Tampke’s historical-fantasy fiction, Skin. Ailia is on a quest to obtain the knowledge that will protect her people in the terrifying Roman invasion they face. But, abandoned at birth and without ‘skin’, she is forbidden to learn.
Pandemic Picks – My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Penguin Books, 2019
Review by Sally Bothroyd, NT Writers’ Centre Director
Pandemic Picks – The Memory Police
translated by Stephen Snyder, Harvill Secker, 2019
Review by Rita Horanyi, 2020 Festival Manager
Yōko Ogawa’s The Memory Police has been featured on quite a few quarantine book lists as readers find resonances with our sequestered times in this dystopian fable. The story takes places on an island where everyday objects disappear one by one, taking most people’s memories of the items with them as they vanish. (more…)
Ted Egan: Outback Songman
Allen & Unwin, 2019
Review by Nadine Maloney
During my nine years in the Northern Territory I’ve interviewed writer, musician and former NT Administrator Ted Egan numerous times for the ABC. Always informative and entertaining, he makes a great radio guest because his natural conversational style of language is very descriptive. Over the years I’ve spent a lot of time editing his interviews and I’ve become very familiar with his voice. And not just the rich tone and clear enunciation, but also the sing-song way he delivers his cracker yarns.My familiarity with that distinct voice made reading the paperback version of his latest book, Outback Songman, a slightly disconcerting experience. It honestly felt like I had a secret audiobook version, with Ted Egan himself narrating each page.
A Portrait of Alice as a Young Man
Vre Books, 2019
Review by Fiona Dorrell
A Portrait of Alice as a Young Man follows two friends as they journey from Melbourne to Alice Springs for the first time. From Uluru through to Pigglys’ carpark, to Honeymoon Gap and the backyards of Eastside, this book relays a few immersive weeks in a small and intimate community. It brings an artist’s curiousity, delight, and sense of enquiry to the task. (more…)
The Art of Dust
Review by Shona Ford
The Art of Dust by Territory author Mel A Rowe is, in her own words, ‘a love letter to the unique individuals who continue to shape the Northern Territory’. She isn’t wrong. From the well-meaning meddlers of small dusty towns, to the pet buffalo-come-notice board that meanders through the main street, everything about her novel rings with Territory charm. This rural romance has a heart that beats beyond the connection between the main characters. It celebrates the soul of a community and the steadfast nature of our dedication to family.
Trouble: On Trial in Central Australia
By Kieran Finnane
Review by Sally Bothroyd
Alcohol, violence – and the interconnectedness of the two – are at the heart of this unflinching portrait of Alice Springs, told via a number of criminal trials.
As a journalist, Kieran Finnane has no doubt spent hundreds of hours in courtrooms, watching the mundane bureaucracy of the justice system, alongside the stories of utter tragedy.
Review by Kingsley Gittins
STEVEN SCHUBERT’S MANDATORY MURDER examines in great detail the scenario which led to the 2011 murder of Ray Nicefero down the track in Katherine. The former ABC Katherine reporter, now based in Alice Springs, systematically separates fact from rumour and highlights supposition with the careful ease of a practiced journalist. (more…)
Cheeky Dogs: To Lake Nash and Back
Dion Beasley and Johanna Bell
Allen & Unwin Children’s, 2019
Review by Kingsley Gittins
Cheeky Dogs: To Lake Nash And Back is a fascinating visual journey into the heart of life in rural parts of the Northern Territory.
Malediction: The Cursed Play
Review by Kingsley Gittins
Sean Guy’s novel, Malediction: The Cursed Play, is an engaging and well-written tribute to all things Shakespeare. The story takes the form of a reverse whodunnit, where the actors in a cursed play are all alive, but they’re convinced the curse will take one of their number before the performance is complete. (more…)