You may remember that earlier this year, without much forethought or planning, I hosted an Australian Literature Month on this blog. As well as helping to promote Oz lit to a wider audience, I designed it mainly as a way of encouraging me to read all the very many Australian novels I had accumulated during my travels home over the years.
And while I did make a significant dent in my Australian fiction pile, so many lovely new Australian books have been published here in the UK since then that I think I may be back to square one.
As you can see by the photograph above, I can feel another Australian reading binge coming on.
Here's what's in the pile, from the top down:
Chris Womersley's Bereft
This has just been released in small format paperback by Quercus. It's won quite a lot of awards, including the 2011 ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year and the 2011 Indie Award for Best Novel. Quite a few bloggers have read it and liked it — see Lizzy's review and Simon's review.
Anna Funder's All That I Am
This has just won the Miles Franklin Literary Award (Australia's equivalent of the Booker) and a host of other prizes. Reviews, however, seem to be mixed. I know, for instance, that Tony wasn't "wowed" by it and that Will had mixed feelings, too.
Carrie Tiffany's Mateship with Birds
I've been looking forward to this one, because I so enjoyed Tiffany's debut novel, Everyman's Rules for Scientific Living, and Lisa of ANZLitLovers gave it a good review earlier this year.
Jane Sullivan's Little People
I flagged this up in my post Five books to ... look forward to in June 2012. It's based on the true story of Tom Thumb's visit to Australia in 1871 and is supposedly for anyone who loved Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and fans of Sarah Waters and Angela Carter.
Fiona McGregor's Indelible Ink
This one has taken two years to be published in the UK! It's been billed as being similar to The Slap (which I loved) and has received quite a lot of press, so I'm very much looking forward to reading it. It's about a 59-year-old woman trying to regain control over her own life.
Elliot Perlman's The Street Sweeper
Perlman is one of my favourite writers, so I've been hanging out to read this one ever since I knew he'd gone to America to write it, oh, about five years ago! Of course, it's been sitting in my reading queue for months, but everyone seems to be raving about it, including Jackie of Farm Lane Books Blog and KevinfromCanada. I suspect it might make this year's Booker longlist.
Peter Carey's The Chemistry of Tears
I have a love/hate relationship with Carey, but ever since I saw the BBC Review Show in which all the panellists said it deserved to win this year's Booker I knew I had to read it. There are mixed reviews online though. Tony from Tony's Book World didn't think much of it, but Whispering Gums liked it a lot.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? And which book should I read first? (And apologies for lack of reviews this week... I promise to play catch up on the weekend.)
UPDATE: Thanks to Rhian at It's A Crime I've discovered that Chris Womersley's Bereft has just been longlisted for the Gold CWA Dagger. The winner will be announced in the (northern hemisphere) autumn.