Best books 2017 Reviewed by Australian Media – 2

There are titles by Aussie writers that might not be listed for any literary awards but they’re equally well written. The titles, with their diverse styles and literary fields, reviewed by critics here,  you can add any to this year’s City of Parramatta Library Summer Reading Challenges, because they all fit our reading theme: reading Australia.


City of Crows by Chris Womersley – This book is set in 17th-century France and involves witchcraft and diabolical politics, plague and ordinary people, so it’s a significant shift from his brilliant Australian novels such as The Low Road, Bereft and Cairo.

Get Poor Slow by David Free – a noirish drama set in Sydney’s media and publishing worlds.

Suburbia by Jeremy Chambers – suburban life in Melbourne

The Restorer by Michael Sala – a novel about family relationships.

The Last Garden by Eva Hornung – is set on a settlement founded by people who expect the imminent return of the Messiah.

An Uncertain Grace by Krissy Kneen – This one involves a virtual reality suit, sex, life and the technological postponement of death.

Storm and Grace by Kathryn Heyman – centres on a world-famous free diver.

Rubik by Elizabeth Tan – is about a woman who “can’t seem to stay dead”.

From the Wreck by Jane Rawson

Gwen by Goldie Goldbloom

The Golden Child by Wendy James

To Know My Crime by Fiona Capp’s

Some Tests by Wayne Macauley’s

Down the Hume by Peter Polites

Storyland by Catherine McKinnon

The Trapeze Act by Libby Angel

Old Growth (short story) by John Kinsella

Billy Sing by Ouyang Yu

The red coast by Di Morrissey

Pulse Points by Jennifer Down

Common People by Tony Birch’s

A Long Way from Home by Peter Carey

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser

The Last Days of Jeanne d’Arc by Ali Alizadeh

Their Brilliant Careers: The fantastic lives of sixteen extraordinary Australian writers by Ryan O’Neill

Portable Curiosities by Julie Koh

The Windy Season by Sam Carmody

This Water: Five tales by Beverley Farmer

Attrib. and other stories by Eley Williams

The Last Garden by Eva Hornung

Drawing Sybylla by Odette Kelada

First Fruits by Matthew Hall

Argosy by Bella Li

The Honeymoon Stage by Oscar Schwartz

The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose

Half Wild by Pip Smith

Mischka’s War by Sheila Fitzpatrick

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

Skylarking by Kate Mildenhall

Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett

Dinner at the Center of the Earth by Nathan Englander

Dodge Rose by Jack Cox

A State of Freedom by Neel Mukherjee

The Book of Dust by Philip Pullman

Terra Nullius by Clare Coleman

Common People by Tony Birch

The Man Who Took To His Bed by Alex Skovron

I Hate the Internet by Jarett Kobek

Australia Day by Melanie Cheng

Jean Harley Was Here by Heather Taylor Johnson

Down the Hume by Peter Polites

Heat and Light by Ellen Van Neerven

Extinctions by Josephine Wilson

Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

Ground Zero, Nagasaki, a short-story collection by Seirai Yuichi

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

To Become a Whale by Ben Hobson

Crime Fiction

Win, Lose or Draw by Peter Corries

Police at the Station and They Don’t Look Friendly by Adrian McKinty

Marshall’s Law by Ben Sanders (NZ)

Crimson Lake by Candice Fox

The Unmourned by Tom Keneally and Meg Keneally

The Student by Iain Ryan

The Unfortunate Victim by Greg Pyers – introduces a German-born detective to Australian crime-solving

Too Easy by JM Green

Wimmera by Mark Brandi

And Fire Came Down by Emma Visic

Winter Traffic by Stephen Greenall

See What I have Done by Sarah Schmidt

General NF

A Long Time Coming: Essays on old age by Melanie Joosten

300 Arguments by Sarah Manguso

Adult Fantasy by Briohny Doyle

Australians in Shanghai: Race, rights and nation in Treaty Port China by Sophie Loy-Wilson

On John Marsden by Alice Pung

The Catch by Anna Clark

On Kate Jennings by Erik Jensen


A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work by Bernadette Brennan (ANF)

The Case Against Fragrance by Kate Grenville (ANF)

After by Nikki Gemmell

Only: A Singular Memoir by Caroline Baum

Scoundrel Days by Brentley Frazer

Understory by Inga Simpson

The Tempest-Tossed Church by Gerard Windsor

Martin Sharp by Joyce Morgan

High Voltage: The Life of Angus Young, AC/DC’s Last Man Standing by Jeff Apter

Mrs Kelly: The Astonishing Life of Ned Kelly’s Mother by Grantlee Kieza

Mothertongue by Sybille Smith

Evatt: a life by John Murphy

The Enigmatic Mr Deakin by Judith Brett

Tracey Moffatt: My horizon, edited by Natalie King

The Unknown Judith Wright by Georgina Arnott

A Führer for a Father: The domestic face of colonialism by Jim Davidson

The Memory of Music by Andrew Ford

Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a spy’s son by Mark Colvin

The Tracker by Alexis Wright

The Trauma Cleaner: One woman’s extraordinary life in death, decay and disaster by Sarah Krasnostein

The Green Bell by Paula Keogh

Talking to My Country by Stan Grant

The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris

Collection of Australian poetry

Contemporary Australian Poetry

The Fremantle Press Anthology of Western Australian Poetry

100 Australian Poems You Need to Know

The Collected Poems of Fay Zwicky

Thea Astley: Selected poems, edited by Cheryl Taylor

The Tragic Death of Eleanor Marx by Tara Bergin

New and Selected Poems 1991–2017 by Alison Croggon

Lionel Fogarty: Selected poems 1980–2017

Preparations for Departure by Nathanael O’Reilly

Injury Time by Clive James

Transparencies by Stephen Edgar

Euclid’s Dog by Jordie Albiston

Goodbye, Cruel by Melinda Smith

Rallying by Quinn Eades

Music Our Bodies Can’t Hold by Andy Jackson

Reading for a Quiet Morning by Petra White

Australian political writings

On Politics and Prejudice Quarterly Essay by David Marr

Please Explain: The Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Pauline Hanson by Anna Broinowski

Balancing Act: Australia Between Recession and Renewal by George Megalogenis

Still Lucky: Why You Should Feel Optimistic by Rebecca Huntley

Reflections by Tony Abbott

Fear of Abandonment: Australia in the World Since 1942 by Allan Gyngell

Fighting with America: Why Saying ‘No’ to the US Wouldn’t Rupture the Alliance by James Curran

True Crime

Last Words: The Hanging of Ronald Ryan (true crime) by Barry Dickins – book on the last man executed in Australia

Getting Away with Murder (true crime) by Duncan McNab