It’s Australia Day, which makes it a great time to reflect on some of the great fiction our country provides. I realised that I haven’t read much Australian fiction since November, and am planning to make a concerted effort to read more in the coming year.
1. Anything by Matthew Reilly
Matthew Reilly is one of my favourite authors ever, but I never know what to say about him! His books are fast-paced, thrilling and well-researched. Reading them makes your heart beat faster and your adrenaline levels rise. These books are truly impossible to put down. My favourite is the ‘Seven Sacred Stones’ series, but his newest book, ‘The Great Zoo of China’ was brilliant as well! And so believable!
2. The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak
This is an absolutely beautiful book. Set during World War II, Zusak narrates the story through the voice of death. An intriguing way of looking at this period of modern history, wonderfully written and utterly captivating. The film could not do the story justice – Zusak writes as though his book is death’s diary – interspersed with definitions, facts or impressions.
3. The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion
I have written about this one before – a perfect romantic comedy made even better by its Australian characters. Don Tillman is a genetics professor with a distinct lack of social skills, who decides that he needs a wife. He embarks on ‘The Wife Project’, searching for the perfect woman. His dating escapades are hysterical, as is the entire tone of the book. Simsion is a great addition to the pool of Australian authors, with his easy-going, humorous writing.
4. On the Jellicoe Road – Melina Marchetta
I couldn’t leave out the great Australian young adult fiction! While John Marsden’s ‘Tomorrow When the War Began’ very nearly got this spot, ‘On the Jellicoe Road’ wins every time. Set in a country Australian boarding school, the story deals with all the complexities of growing up and finding your place in the world. Melina Marchetta is the queen of Australian young adult and stories of identity in particular.
5. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge – Mem Fox
It was a hard choice between this and Mem Fox’s ‘Possum Magic’, but ‘Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge’ won out in the end. The story of a little boy who lives next door to an old people’s home, who becomes distressed when his friend loses her memories and is determined to bring them back. Absolutely gorgeous and the illustrations are lovely!
There are so many others I could mention, but these are the absolute winners! Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker prize-winner ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ deserves an honourable mention, as does Christos Tsolkias’ ‘The Slap’. Liane Moriarty’s ‘Big Little Lies’ was one of my favourites last year and her other books have been good too.
However, writing this, I have realised that I don’t read anywhere near enough Australian fiction. Out of the 20 books I have read so far this year, only one has been by an Australian author. And so, I am making another reading resolution – this year I will read two Australian books a month, prioritising this over other fiction. I had best get a move on for January then!
What are some of your favourite books by Australian authors? I’d love to know!