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Category Archives: American fiction

Bittersweet tale of loss and hope: Vendela Vida’s The Lovers

In spite of its title, The Lovers is not a romance story in any conventional sense. Instead, it functions as a kind of anti-romance, exploring themes of grief, perception, self-awareness, and ultimately hope and the possibility for redemption. Yvonne has been widowed for two years. Her life … Read more »

Literary Stalkings: On the Trail of Bret Easton Ellis

When Bret Easton Ellis visited Australia last year, antipodean readers revisited their fascination with the cult American writer and his novels, including new addition Imperial Bedrooms, American Psycho and Less than Zero. Bethanie Blanchard’s essay, ‘Notes from the Underground: Why Bret Easton Ellis Fails on Film’ appears … Read more »

Summer reading: Sherman Alexie’s War Dances

When I came across Sherman Alexie’s 2007 book The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, I was surprised to see the controversial word ‘Indian’ where I might have expected the legal and technical term ‘Native American’, which I have dutifully preferred since I was a spotty … Read more »

Glorious Text from the Immortal Future: Gary Shteyngart’s Super Sad True Love Story

America on the brink of financial collapse. Individuals glued to the shiny screens of tiny personal computers. Self-esteem indexed to your sex appeal and credit ratings. This is the world as we know it and the world imagined at its most extreme in Super Sad True Love … Read more »

“Things with multiple intense senses”: An interview with Shane Jones, author of Light Boxes

Shane Jones’ Light Boxes is difficult to describe well. It’s a tiny book – 167 pages – that begins with the name ‘Thaddeus’ in font so large – perhaps 36 point – that it breaks onto another line. Thaddeus describes a scene in his town; he’s watching … Read more »

Wagers and half-lives: Charles D’Ambrosio’s Dead Fish Museum

In ‘Up North’, the fourth story in The Dead Fish Museum, a man whose wife is having a string of affairs says, ‘Our marriage was like a constant halving of the distance, without ever arriving at the moment in time where, utterly familiar, I’d vanish’. In the … Read more »

Review: Robin Black’s If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This Robin Black Publisher: Scribe Publications (Australia and New Zealand) ISBN: 9781921640421 RRP: $32.95 The title of Robin Black’s debut short story collection, If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This, is an intriguing premise. What would she … Read more »

An Ask In Need Of An Answer: Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask [review]

If you suspect that twenty-first century America is a nation whose crippling schizophrenia is badly hidden behind excess and superficial spectacle, then Sam Lipsyte’s your man, and The Ask is your novel. Your narrator and protagonist Milo Burke was going to be a great artist, but he … Read more »