Best Australian writing 2003-2007?
October 27, 2007 5:53 AM   Subscribe

Please recommend your favorite Australian book(s) of the last five years.

In a few weeks I will take a trip to Australia. While I am there I will visit bookstores, some used and some new. I would love to hear any suggestions anyone has about what Australian books I might want to keep an eye out for while browsing, especially books that it would be difficult to buy outside of Australia (no offense, Peter Carey).

I don't really mind what kind of book they are or what they're about -- fiction, scholarship, poetry, journalism, whatever; I just want good writing by Australian writers. (Not really interested in collections of photos etc.) My only requirements are:

1) They must to be reasonably priced. I don't have the funds to buy books priced for the University library market, no matter how interesting.

2) They must have been released within the last five years -- anything earlier than that and I probably already read 'em. (So the answers from this question are mostly irrelevant.)

posted by No-sword to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I just finished reading 'The Broken Shore' by Peter Temple and thought it was great. Don't be dissuaded by the fact it is a 'crime novel' - it is far from derivative and has won rave reviews for its literary merit.

It won the prestigious Gold Dagger Award this year.
posted by TheOtherGuy at 6:40 AM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: I really liked the first and third books (Souls in the Great Machine and Eyes of the Calculor ) in Sean McMullen's Greatwinter trilogy. (The second was ok, but I didn't prefer it.) The books are fairly independent: I actually read them in the order 3, 1, 2 and that was ok. The first and third are set in a post-nuclear-winter? "greatwinter", anyway, version of Australia. If I had a better map of Australia and knew more about Australian geography, I could probably even locate the major cities in the books.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:03 AM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: Sean McMullen's "shadowmoon" series is entertaining too, but less Australia-related.
posted by leahwrenn at 7:04 AM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: Australian fiction and nonfiction have their own sections in bookstores.
posted by brujita at 9:25 AM on October 27, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, folks, keep 'em coming!

Australian fiction and nonfiction have their own sections in bookstores.
Yeah, I know, but I don't think I'm going to have time to individually consider every book in those sections. Hence my attempt to harness the power of the hive mind via this question.

posted by No-sword at 3:30 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: all via a friend of mine living in Melbourne

Bryce Courtney is always a reliable author; he's had a few books published since 2003. Not considered literature by "the establishment", however immensely popular. Recommending Colleen McCullough's Angel Puss, set in 1960's Sydney. Morris West: great Australian author, but he passed a way about 8 years ago, and most of his books were either of an international or religious flair.

As for nonfiction, Chris Masters and Paul Barry are two Australian journalists who have written a lot of nonfiction books that always have a strong line of questioning.
posted by mosessis at 3:30 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: I'm kinda liking Kate Grenville's "The Secret River". Shortlisted for the Booker Prize last in 2006. It's a story of struggle against dispossession. Some of the descriptions of Australia through first settlers' eyes are great.
posted by firstdrop at 5:59 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: Anything at all by David Malouf.
posted by Wolof at 9:23 PM on October 27, 2007

Best answer: I bought a ton of books on my trip three years ago; circumstances have forced me to pack them away before I can read them--but what I did manage to read were Joan Lindsay's Picnic at Hanging Rock and Doris Pilkington/Nugi Garimara's Caprice: A Stockman's Daughter--Rabbit-Proof Fence had been released in a US edittion.

I found a copy of James Vance Marshall's Walkabout in a used bookstore in LA.
posted by brujita at 12:10 AM on October 28, 2007

This doesn't really help with the past -five- year question though.
posted by brujita at 12:12 AM on October 28, 2007

Response by poster: OK, I've hosed this thread down but good with Best Answers (thanks everyone!) but if anyone arrives in the thread late, I'm still open to suggestions.

By the way, I probably should have made it clear that I am actually from Australia. So this isn't so much "I want to learn about Australian literature" as it is "I want to know what's happened in Australian letters since I left."
posted by No-sword at 6:24 AM on October 28, 2007

Best answer: Seven Types of Ambiguity and The Reasons I Won't Be Coming, both by Elliott Perlman, whose Three Dollars was recommended in the previous thread.
posted by roofus at 3:51 PM on October 28, 2007

Best answer: A friend of mine published a book called "Rohypnol" which has been widely acclaimed.

I've read half of it, and found it interesting, but it really isn't my usual cup of tea.
posted by jonathanstrange at 9:25 PM on October 28, 2007

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