Matthew Reilly is one of the dazzling success stories in Australian commercial fiction. With The only impossible maze, his hit series Jack West jnr reaches a sufficiently spectacular finale. The show is something Jack does well – his globetrotting exploits combine the kinetic action of Lee Child with elaborate Dan Brown-style conspiracy thriller elements – and the last hurdle for the former SAS soldier on his quest. to save the world (again!) be the ultimate maze. I’ll even avoid the hint of spoiler and just note that readers of previous books will be delighted with the exuberance of this latest volume, which sort of pushes all the buttons that make the series appealing without getting too busy. Reilly’s enthusiasm, dedication, and skill have produced a remarkable sequel of adventure novels – part Indiana Jones, part Jack Reacher – that more than deserves its audience.
The lowest depths
Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen, hybrid, $ 24.99
Heartbreaking The lower depths – Maxim Gorky’s play about being depressed in Russia – Grafton Everest’s latest novel sees our false hero on a mission in Moscow. This time, Grafton’s panting incompetence is demanded by the United Nations. His mission ? Denounce electoral fraud in Russia. He has an ulterior motive – he found a decades-old letter from his mother to someone in the Soviet Union, suggesting that he may not be an only child after all. As usual, Grafton weaves his way through international espionage and political scams he’s ill-equipped to handle, and the hunt for his mysterious brother takes him deep into Siberia, where a connection to the dark and tangled web of Russian history awaits him. . Ross Fitzgerald teams up with comic book writer Ian McFadyen for a free mix of academic satire and political pamphlet.
NON-FICTIONAL CHOICE OF THE WEEK
Judith Brett, text, $ 34.99
Tucked away at the end of this exceptional collection of essays is a piece with the wonderful title of The Chook in the Australian unconscious. A foil for all of the above, it explores the chook as a unique Australian comic symbol of the precariousness of our social order, our tenuous hold on the land, and the way that vulnerability is projected onto women. Judith Brett brings this nuanced psychoanalytic lens to much of her work on history and public figures, exploring the “deep sources of political energy” that animate individuals; sources often found, not hidden in their private life, but on the surface in their public behavior. In this way, she also examines “how the inner life of the subject relates to the outer life of the time”, whether it is Kevin Rudd’s narcissism or John Howard’s use of the word “imperfection”. to describe the dispossession of the Australian original. inhabitants.
Crimes against nature
Jeff Sparrow, scribe, $ 29.99
The common narrative that pits humanity against nature assumes that our “innate greed” involves us all in climate change. The environmental movement, too, adheres to this myth with its desire for an unspoiled and untouched wilderness by mankind, argues Jeff Sparrow. This urgent and incisive work categorically refutes this arbitrary divide by showing how industrialization, in the hands of the rich and powerful, has driven a wedge between ordinary people and the natural world. Hence the simplistic “jobs versus environment” binary that thwarts our current debate on climate change. The alternative, however, is right under our noses. “In pre-capitalist Australia, humans did not steal the land.” They worked in harmony with it, valuing nature rather than plundering it. And it was a collective work. It is in this understanding of human nature that Sparrow finds hope.
A Snackery Carnival
David Sedaris, Little Brown, $ 32.99
“What,” you might ask, “is a snack carnival? This eccentric neologism comes from an Indian restaurant menu and aptly captures the loose mix of offerings from the most recent entries in comedian David Sedaris’ 2013-2020 journal. At first this carnival seems like the madness of the world – weird things on TV, funny things people say to it, the surreal nature of political events, a visit to the home of an Icelandic Nobel laureate where ” the big man’s business screams “. I’m an asshole ‘. Slowly, amid the wacky tunes that Sedaris relishes on her endless tours of shows and books, her precarious and poignant family history comes to the surface: one sister commits suicide, the other remains an unwavering support and her father steps aside. in front of his eyes while Sedaris is hungry for his attention. . This hunger, we feel, animates all his work and gives an emotional depth to his funny counting of the absurdities of life.
Caught in flagrante delicto
Shane Jenek aka Courtney Act, Pantera Press, $ 32.99
It wasn’t until grade four that Shane Jenek realized that “people with a penis should act differently from people with a vagina.” Instinctively, the young boy knew that he did not belong to either side of this ditch. When he moved from Brisbane to Sydney in his late teens and discovered the drag queen scene, he found a way to control the narrative of his life. For the first time since being bullied by alpha boys in school, he was able to express his innate femininity while feeling powerful around straight men. From her mainstream debut as Courtney Act on Australian Idol, Courtney has appeared on reality TV in the United States and Great Britain and most recently on ABC. Often funny and always candid, this memoir traces Jenek’s embrace of her gender fluidity: the process of “not becoming what the world told me to be” so that “I could finally become me. -same “.
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