Pile by the Bed reviews The Rich Man’s House the final novel by award winning Australian novelist Andrew McGahan
Pile by the Bed reviews From Here on, Monsters by Elizabeth Bryer, an original and sometimes surreal look at how language affects our view of the world.
Pile by the Bed reviews Linda Grant’s eighth novel – A Stranger City – exploring the consequences of Brexit-era nationalism on the rich multicultural traditions of London.
Pile by the Bed reviews Fortune by Lenny Bartulin – “an original, vibrant and entertaining historical novel”
Pile by the Bed reviews Crossings by Alex Landragin, a body hopping romp across the centuries.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Porpoise by Mark Haddon and finds it a vital retelling of classic Greek stories.
Pile by the Bed reviews and recommends the new short story collection by Chris Womersley and finds it like a cross between Raymond Carver and Stephen King.
Pile by the Bed reviews Daughter of Bad Times by Rohan Wilson – a cautionary tale that tackles climate change and corporatisation
Pile by the Bed reviews The Farm by Joanne Ramos, a day-after-tomorrow look a the gap between rich and poor.
Pile by the Bed reviews Outside Looking In by TC Boyle – an exploration of the 60s and the followers of Timothy Leary.
Pile by the Bed reviews Death is Hard Work by Khaled Khalifa, a novel that takes readers into the heart of the Syrian civil war.
Pile by the Bed reviews Ben Smith’s debut novel Doggerland, a dystopian novel with echoes of Beckett and Cormac McCarthy.
Pile by the Bed reviews The Vogue, a dark tale of revenge and retribution by Eoin McNamee
Pile by the Bed reviews City of Ash and Red by Korean author Hwe-Young Pyun
Pile by the Bed reviews the Golden State by Ben H Winters – a dystopia with noir crime undertones.
Pile by the Bed reviews Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Pile by the Bed reviews Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby
Pat Barker came to prominence in the 1990s with her trilogy of novels set in the First World War (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, The Ghost Road), the third of which took out the Booker Prize. In The Silence of the Girls she goes much further back in time, to the Trojan Wars. This story, told in The Iliad, has been reinterpreted and retold many times. Barker takes a new tack, telling the story not from the perspective of the soldiers but the women who were their chattels and their prizes and their slaves. The Iliad opens with an argument between Achilles and Agamemnon over a woman. That woman is Briseis, a prize of war claimed by Achilles earlier in the campaign. Barker opens her book earlier in time, with Briseis watching as Achilles and his troops sack her city and kill her family. She and the other women are taken back to the Greek camp and distributed as prizes. Briseis, the biggest prize, is ‘awarded’ to Achilles. Through Briseis’s story, Barker explores how women are used, abused, marginalised, ignored and blamed. Early in the book, Briseis is brought as a child bride to King Mynes and ends up…
Award winning Polish author Olga Tokarczuk follows up her first novel Flights (which won the Man Booker International Prize in 2018) with something completely different. While that book concerned itself with travel, Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead is located in one small village in Poland near the border with the Czech Republic. The main character and narrator, an old woman named Mrs Duszejko, seems to have lived in that location her whole life and has a deep connection to the place and its wildlife. When the book opens Duszejko and her neighbour Oddball (she gives everyone nicknames, trusting them more than their real names) discover a third neighbour Bigfoot dead in his cabin. When they arrive there are deer outside his cabin and when they find that Bigfoot died by choking on a deer bone Duszejko comes up with a theory that he was killed by the deer as revenge for his hunting of them. Duszejko herself has been waging a campaign against the local hunters (a group which involves all of the high and mighty in the town) so this fits with her own view of the practice. Bigfoot is only the first death and…
People have been disappearing in the Australian fictional landscape for years. In Picnic at Hanging Rock, the disappearance and of a group of girls is seen through the eyes of those left behind, having to deal with the “menace” of the unknowable bush. Wintering starts with a similar premise. Jessica is a PhD student researching glowworms in the far south of Tasmania. She lives with Matthew, a local who, it emerges fairly quickly, completely dominates her life. But then Matthew disappears in mysterious circumstances, his car abandoned by the side of the road, impenetrable forest on either side and a strange video on his phone. With his disappearance, Jessica finds herself both trapped by grief and free at the same time. Krissy Kneen sets the creepy tone of this book early with Jessica’s discovery of a possum corpse impaled on a stalagmite in a tourist cave. After Matthew’s disappearance the creepiness ratchets up as Jessica finds herself isolated in her shack, unable to shake the feeling that she is being watched by something malevolent. Once she starts to establish a connection with the local townsfolk she also learns that she is the thirteenth “widow” whose husband or boyfriend has vanished…