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Promising softly-spoken wonder, Thom Conroy

The Quiet Spectacular Laurence Fearnley Penguin, $38.00, ISBN 9780143574156 Laurence Fearnley occupies a position somewhere between national treasure and experimental writer. Her depictions of landscapes and her stylistic tendency toward restraint inspire praise, with reviews admiring Fearnley for how markedly

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Sweet recklessness, Kiran Dass

The Salted Air  Thom Conroy Vintage, $38.00, ISBN 9781775538820 “We strut about imagining heroism and lucky saves, but we’ve got it all wrong. Catastrophe arrives when the air is warm and people are everywhere … .” So observes the keenly self-aware

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Reading as mudlarking

The Chimes
Anna Smaill
Sceptre
ISBN 9781444794533

The Chimes, debut novel of poet and violinist Anna Smaill, portrays a post-apocalyptic but disorientingly medieval dystopia dominated by music. The novel opens with Simon, a boy on his own, as he embarks on a mysterious errand to London. But this is London as we’ve never seen – or more accurately – heard it before:

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Characters from the past, Elizabeth Heritage 

The Naturalist
Thom Conroy
Vintage, $38.00,
ISBN 9781775536482

Lives We Leave Behind
Maxine Alterio
Penguin, $38.00,
ISBN 9780143565710

The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt
Tracy Farr
Fremantle Press, $35.00,
ISBN 9781922089465

Here we have a trio of historical novels that, with varying degrees of success, bring characters and environments from our past (real and imagined) to life: The Naturalist by Thom Conroy, Lives We Leave Behind by Maxine Alterio, and The Life and Loves of Lena Gaunt by Tracy Farr.

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