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Book Reviews



Reviewed by Book Barn Berrima

The Magician is first and foremost a portrait of the writer as a family man; there is comparatively little in it about Mann’s development as a writer or about his status in the literary world. Rather, it places him at the centre of a panoramic vision of the early 20th-century German... (continued)

THE PLAGUE Albert Camus


Revived interest in Albert Camus’s novel The Plague (1947).  A thinker for our age of pandemic and polarization. He sought to transcend the divides of his own epoch by warning against dogmatic ideologies on both the left and right, all while earnestly defending democracy a... (continued)

One of Us is Lying

Reviewed by Zac Warne

I read the teen fiction novel, One of Us is Lying, a little over a year ago, yet it still left a mark on my mind. The style of writting was incredible to read as it was very different, changing between the main characters. The mystery of movies and book is something I have always enjoyed, and ... (continued)


Reviewed by Book Barn Berrima

A journalist’s perspective on this rising global power has never been more important, as Australia’s relationship with China undergoes an extraordinary change that’s seen the detention of a journalist Cheng Lei, Canberra’s criticism of Beijing’s efforts to crush H... (continued)

Body of Stars, Laura Maylene Walter

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

Reading this book was electric. A number of times I had to put this book down just to truly appreciate Walter’s writing. Body of Stars is a book of true importance and one of my favourites for 2021. (continued)


Reviewed by Book Barn Berrima

Don’t be fooled by the title of Stan Grant’s latest offering. With the Falling of the Dusk may sound gentle and poetic but the book is about nothing less than the challenges facing the world and how to avert crisis. From geopolitical shifts, global pandemics and... (continued)

'Amari and the Night Brothers' by B. B. Alston

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

I stayed up well beyond my bedtime to finish this book, just because I NEEDED to know what happened! A secret society of people well equipped and tasked to hide all evidence of supernatural beings from the rest of the world. Was there an Earthquake? Probably a witch who got her ... (continued)

The Mother Fault

Reviewed by Peta Miller

Set in an Australia of the near-future, climate crisis has irrevocably altered the landscape: meat is a luxury few can afford, farmlands are contaminated and every movement is monitored by the Department. When Mim's FIFO husband is reported missing she is left with little comfort and no as... (continued)

This One Wild and Precious Life by Sarah Wilson

Reviewed by Kylie Roache-Doherty

This One Wild and Precious Life: The Path Back to Connection in a Fractured World is the ultimate panacea for these troubled times.  From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Wilson comes a spiritual guidebook for healing our cultural crisis of disconnection. Sarah reminds us what is t... (continued)



A compelling snapshot of contemporary Australian design through the lens of materials, utility, site and place. It showcases the best of Australian residential architecture and interiors, paying homage to local designers and makers of furniture and lighting. Exceptional. (continued)

Revenge, by Yoko Ogawa

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

This collection of short stories completely baffled me! How Ogawa seamlessly intertwined all of the stories together, I will never know. Wow! Just wow! (continued)

There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Tsumura, Kikuko

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

If there were ever a time to read this book, 2020 is it. In a year where the very notion of what a job is has been turned upside down, where we consider how working environments and colleagues can shape our overall experience of working, this is the book you need to read to ground yourself... (continued)

Shiver, by Junji Ito

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

If you're looking for a collection of horror stories that is sure to make your skin crawl, Ito's 'Shiver' has got you covered. His illustrations are continually breathtaking both for their detail and horrifying depictions. I especially liked the Marionette family story, gave me... (continued)



Following his bestselling books on Greek mythology, Mythos and Heros, Fry returns with an inimitable retelling of the siege of Troy. The pillars of the story are well known - the beauty of Helen, Aphrodite's bribing of Paris, the wooden horse ... but Fry's narrative, artfully humorous ... (continued)

Pure Invention, by Matt Alt

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

For those who are missing travelling to Japan this year, or just love Japan this is an excellent readable history of the rise of pop culture in Japan.   Covering post-war Japan to present, Alt covers everything you could possibly want to know about Japanese Pop-culture; tin can ca... (continued)

Earthlings, by Sayaka Murata

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

'How far would you go to be yourself?' I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy this book, because I did, I really did. Even with its onslaught of uncomfortable and quite frankly horrific moments smeared throughout its pages. Murata takes you to the edge of your comfort zone and... (continued)

All Our Shimmering Skies, by Trent Dalton

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

As someone who really didn't like or enjoy 'Boy Swallows Universe' I was awestruck by how much I enjoyed 'All Our Shimmering Skies'. Its a books within which Daltons writing style has florished. In 'Shimmering Skies' Dalton's writing feels like a gentle pat... (continued)

The Forest of Wood and Steel, by Natsu Miyashita

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

The Forest of Wool and Steel reads like a piano composition, with ebbs and flows that you sway along with, crescendo's and moments of stillness that capture your attention and an overall sense of awe that leaves you wondering just how the author achieved it.   If you're af... (continued)

Kim Ji-Young: Born 1982, Cho Nam-ju

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

I am livid. Livid that this book was written so well, livid that whilst fiction... this book is based on fact, and most of all, I am livid that the things Kim Ji-young experienced still happen in our world today. On multiple occasions I wanted to throw this book across my room at the ... (continued)

D, by Michel Faber

Reviewed by Lilia - Berkelouw Paddington

I really enjoyed this book with it’s whimsical and adventurous qualities. It borrows from a variety of book tropes, characters finding themselves through adventure, experiencing feelings of abandonment, a hero type figure that propels the story onwards... and yet Faber twists them and ma... (continued)