Fingers crossed

January 3, 2017

Sent my novel manuscript to a publisher for the first time.  Feelings would best be described as excitement and abject terror.

1st-submission

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Talking To My Country – Stan Grant

October 12, 2016

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‘The great Australian silence’. It’s a phrase I’ve heard, referring to our country’s whitewashing of its history with its Indigenous people, but one I’ve never really understood.  Having read Stan Grant’s Talking to My Country, I feel like I’ve begun to amend my ignorance.

Grant is a Wiradjuri man and journalist who has worked for numerous Australian news networks, as well as internationally for CNN.  He has long been an advocate for Aboriginal issues, but has risen in prominence this year on the back of a powerful speech at the Ethics Centre IQ2 Debate in January 2016.

Talking To My Country is a brave, honest and raw book that communicates how it feels to be Aboriginal.  It covers, briefly, the history of European and Aboriginal contact: the occupation of land, the genocidal government policies, the theft of children, the sundering of culture, the racism, both official and societal, that plagues Australia to this day.  It talks, too, of how the dominant narrative ignores the many atrocities committed by the British during the frontier wars. Read the rest of this entry »


Eyrie – Tim Winton

September 7, 2016

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I like Tim Winston’s writing.  I like his highly readable prose and earthy, often funny, similes.  His characters are well defined and his descriptions of landscape evocative without being overwrought.  I even like the Australianess of his voice.  Sometimes it feels forced, but maybe that’s due to a bias born of the pervasiveness of American and English fiction. It’s partially for these reasons that Cloudstreet is one of my favourite novels.

All Winton’s strengths are present in his latest novel, Eyrie.   Despite this, it (pun intended) fails to soar, largely because it commits the cardinal sin of taking the reader for granted.

Eyrie centres on Tom Keely, a former environmental spokesperson who has shut himself away from the world in his apartment, high atop a notorious high rise for Freemantle’s down-and-out.  An undefined public scandal and divorce have left him a wreck of a man, broke, jobless, plagued by mysterious migraines and pain, only able to get through the day with booze and fistfuls of pills. Read the rest of this entry »


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon

June 3, 2016

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Escapism. It’s a term used for stories that are entertaining, light, and inconsequential. Nothing more than an escape from reality. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay doesn’t just revel in escapism; it makes a two-fisted defence of it.

The novel tells the story of Joseph Kavalier and Sam Clay, two Jewish cousins growing up in the era when Nazism began to cast its shadow across the world. Joe is a talented artist with a passion for escape artists and stage magic. Aided by his family’s life savings, his magic teacher and an inanimate golem, he escapes Europe just as the fascists are closing the trap. Sam lives in New York with his stereotypical Jewish mother (who doesn’t love a stereotypical Jewish mother?) and grandmother, having been abandoned by his circus strongman (really) father.  Despite coming from such burly stock, Sam is short of stature and spindly of leg due to a bout of polio at a young age.  He has a big mouth, he is able to conveniently translate into a knack for bombastic writing. Read the rest of this entry »


Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy

March 18, 2016

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Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Of all the writers I’ve read, Tolstoy is best able to capture the totality of human nature. Again and again, I was floored by the depth of his  characters’ internal worlds, his ability to sketch out the motivations and contradictions and fantasies of people whose circumstances are so varied and different from his own.

Anna Karenina is, for those that don’t know, the story of an aristocratic woman who has an affair. There’s also a lot about a guy who likes farming. That’s it. As far as plots go, it’s not the greatest hook, but around this unexceptional subject is more insight into the human condition than you’ll find in a hundred best sellers. Read the rest of this entry »


Who the hell are we?

February 24, 2016

First post for the All-Melbourne, All-International Writing Group. Woot!

All-Melbourne, All-International Writing Club

by Gabriel Ng

Welcome to the blog of the All-Melbourne, All-International Writer’s Club. Like it says in the blurb, we’re a group of writers based in Melbourne, Australia, who meet every couple of weeks to share our writing and get feedback on our work.

We’ve been meeting for a couple of years now. Credit for initial formation of the group should, I think, largely go to Adele. A few of us are refugees from another writing group (which will remain nameless for the reason of me being a coward) we found on  Meetup. Unfortunately, the megalomaniacal tendencies of that group’s convener drove away many of the saner attendees, but Adele, like a master talent scout, kept in touch with people who showed commitment to writing, receptiveness to feedback and a veneer of sanity. Then I ran into her in the street and she made an exception. Since, we’ve…

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Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency – Douglas Adams

January 4, 2015

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Image courtesy of Wikipedia

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is a funny book, both in the ha ha and peculiar sense. It introduces a lot of loosely connected plots about a computer programmer, an Electric Monk (which, for those that don’t know, is a kind of labour saving android that believes things on behalf of its owner), a dotty old Oxford Professor of Chronology, a millionaire philanthropist, his cellist sister, and a spoiled wannabe intellectual with a grudge. The titular character and antagonist doesn’t even enter the story proper until over a hundred pages in.

The first time I read this book about six years ago, I put it down half finished. Each plot seemed to amble along while the characters encountering complications ranging from mild to ridiculous, with only a vague promise that it would all tie together somehow to engage the reader.  During my recent reading, I found the same problem with the first half of the book, but I persisted. Read the rest of this entry »