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These stories take us deep into our past, into strange and surprising parallel universes, and into unexplored corners of the present. Wonderfully eclectic and brimming with new and familiar voices, this is an ideal companion for summer and a perfect introduction t In The Best Australian Stories , Cate Kennedy presents the most outstanding short fiction of the past year.
Australian Books: It was a very good year | The Spectator
Paperback , pages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Best Australian Stories , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about The Best Australian Stories Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Feb 18, Catherine rated it liked it. Mum is in this one again this year!
Australian Books: It was a very good year
I am reading it cover to cover, haven't got up to Mum's yet. I do love short stories Jul 05, Kate rated it really liked it. A great collection of stories. Obviously I'm biased, but this is a top-notch collection of contemporary fiction.
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Chanelle Tarabay rated it liked it Jun 19, Mitchell rated it liked it Feb 23, Kirstie rated it liked it Aug 30, Craig Batty rated it it was amazing Apr 26, Claire Passlow rated it it was amazing Apr 07, Veronica rated it really liked it Nov 21, Sophie Shanahan rated it really liked it May 27, Volition rated it it was amazing Jul 28, For a specifically Australian ''best'', editors must come to terms with an idea of national identity that in literary terms means everything and nothing.
In her debut edition of Best Australian Essays , Ramona Koval includes work by ''Australian writers looking inwards and outwards, or by others looking at Australia or Australian people''.
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To give an idea of the elasticity in Koval's concept of an Australian essay, her selection includes a piece by English writer Anthony Lane from The New Yorker about the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed and eventually destroyed British tabloid newspaper The News of the World. Presumably the link with Australia is the fact this quintessentially English newspaper was owned at the time by the company headed by Rupert Murdoch, the global media magnate who left Australia in the s and has been an American citizen since Lane's essay is an excellent piece by a fine writer whose normal beat is cinema rather than the tabloid press.
I admired it when it appeared in The New Yorker , though not for a moment did I think of it as Australian.
Another memorable piece included by Koval, and one I hadn't seen before, is M. Hyland's essay for the non-Murdoch-owned Financial Times about the troubled woman in England who was captured on CCTV dumping a live cat into a neighbour's wheelie bin, footage that was viewed throughout the world. Hyland, a former Melburnian of Irish parentage who now lives in Manchester, takes on the creative writer's true task, which is to empathise with the damned and show us the humanity in individuals we might all too easily dismiss as less than human.
I also appreciated the chance that The Best Australian Science Writing gave me to read Lousy Science by Christine Kenneally, a piece from The Monthly that, refreshingly, is not doom and gloom but rather a beautifully written account of how scientists have sought to eradicate those seemingly invincible pests, head lice.
Like all the best popular-science writers, Kenneally has a gift for explaining and entertaining, leaving the reader feeling smart about a subject that is much better known than understood. My scalp felt itchy while I was reading her essay, though in a good way. So far in this review I have focused on non-fiction, reflecting a genre bias in my reading habits.
The Best Australian Stories 2011
But biases can also work in reverse and, indeed, the purest pleasure I derived from reading these books came from those made up of poems, stories and political cartoons. Among more than poems selected by John Tranter from thousands that were submitted for his anthology is John Carey's on empty , which renders a lonely outback landscape in high summer - a not-unfamiliar subject - astonishingly new.
At one point in his introduction, Tranter, whose own work won him this year's Age Book of the Year Award for Poetry, condenses the entire contents of the book into a one-page prose poem. He makes a claim for poems as ''dream-work'' and in his selection backs that assertion to the hilt. Kennedy's introduction is a powerful statement of the craft as well as the art of writing and the value for writing of reading:
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