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Article  •  23 May 2023

 

Discover the new releases that book critics are loving this autumn

See what reviewers are saying about books published in April and May 2023.

It’s been a wonderful season for books, and the rave reviews agree.

From a cosy crime set in Sydney to a transcendental autofiction, recently published books of every stroke are getting some well-deserved media recognition. Garnering praise for structure, substance and characters, these recent reads are the talk of the town.

Keep reading to see what critics have to say.  

The Tea Ladies book cover.

The Tea Ladies, Amanda Hampson

  • 'A marvellous recreation of 1960s Sydney . . . a good mystery for fans of Miss Marple.' – Canberra Weekly
  • 'The Tea Ladies is such a good read. I couldn't put it down and read it in one day.' – The Senior
  • 'A witty crime novel.' – New Idea
  • 'The Tea Ladies provides readers with a satisfying mystery, a trio of intrepid older women discovering their own strengths, and a window into a vanished past. I give it five Tim Tams.” – Readings
Anam book cover.

Anam, André Dao

  • 'A fine example of a global novel. Uncompromising and honest, Anam is a brilliant book of immense scope.' – The Conversation
  • 'The most original and exciting first work I’ve read in ages.' –  David Gaunt, Gleebooks
  • 'Anam is an epic feat that showcases Dao’s talent for storytelling, and will appeal to fans of Ocean Vuong, Nam Le and Madeleine Thien.' –  Books + Publishing
  • 'Anam is an enthralling and challenging novel, with moments both painful and tender. It is a profoundly beautiful debut.” – Readings
  • 'Dao has a mesmeric and unique style that is both brave and profound.' – The Australian
  • 'A blend of fiction, theory and memoir, Dao skilfully weaves a story of a grandson returning home.' – Sydney Morning Herald
  • 'Anam is a rigorous and generous book, which will sit with you well after reading. “We cannot transcend ourselves,” the narrator says. “Yet it is the promise of such transcendence that brings us back to literature.” Anam is transcendent.' –  Leah Jing McIntosh, The Saturday Age
'The Wonderful Thing About Phoenix Rose' book cover.

The Wonderful Thing About Phoenix Rose, Josephine Moon

  • 'Josephine is proving to be the go-to voice for warm, funny and vibrant stories, and this novel about a woman who is tasked with driving a car load of eccentric animals from Tasmania to Brisbane is an escapist's dream!’ – Woman’s Day
  • ‘I could go on all day about the many moments in this novel that moved and inspired me. It’s poignant in the ways in which it celebrates asking for help, and how confidence – in all its forms, including the confidence to recognise you’re at your lowest – can allow you to flourish and be your best self . . . Phoenix is a refreshing, timely and necessary protagonist who’s loveable, relatable and uses her different outlook on life for good. Lily is the supporting character of dreams; she’s full of banter, hilarity, and is utterly kind.' – Better Reading
'Girl in a Pink Dress' book cover.

Girl in a Pink Dress, Kylie Needham

  • 'Flawless. The art world, young "love", power, sex, tenderness, fury – I’m still searching for adequate words to explain how exceptional this book is.' –  Letitia Davy, The Booklist 
  • 'Needham’s writing is crisp and spare. Spanning decades, she neatly folds time in on itself by using short scenes to link the past and present. Needham’s sense of place, critical in the creation of Frances as a character, is lyrical and sparse, like the Australian landscape itself. But the true joy of Needham’s writing is the characters . . . Frances is delightfully complex and compelling. Clem, with his overblown ego and deep insecurity, his callousness in the affairs of the heart and his inability to ever shake his famous father’s shadow is equally alive on the page. There’s a humdinger of a climax that made me gasp with an equal mix of joy and surprise. Girl in a Pink Dress is a beautifully crafted novel with a driving narrative that is both rich and evocative. –  Meredith Jaffe, New Voices Down Under 
  • 'We relished the deft realism and gorgeous local details from the affluent art collectors of Sydney to the weekend artisans of rural New South Wales, as well as a memorable dinner party scene with established Aussie artists sharing their thoughts on a woman’s career. Such a treat.' – Cassie Stroud, WellRead 
  • 'This compelling debut novel follows a young female painter whose ambitions begin to clash with those of her older lover and teacher . . . Needham’s prose is visual and poetic – unsurprising perhaps, given her background. An award-winning screenwriter in her own right, Needham has first-hand experience of the world of fine art . . . like the surprisingly seductive landscapes painted by Frances, the heart of the book and the titular girl, there’s more depth to this story than first meets the eye. Needham and her contemporaries are writing more and more into a spectrum of frustration and fury that ambitious female artists might feel towards their entitled male counterparts (and sometimes lovers) . . . Frances takes a little while to come into her fury, although when she does it is deeply satisfying.' –  Bec Kavanagh, The Guardian 
'The Making of Another Major Motion Picture Masterpiece' book cover.

The Making of Another Major Motion Picutre Masterpiece, Tom Hanks 

  • 'I hope Hanks won’t give up acting, but if he ever tires of it he can have a new career as imaginative novelist.' – The Age
  • ‘Tom’s vivid story about the making of a multimillion-dollar Marvel-like movie is so detailed that it feels as if you’re part of the film crew!’ – Woman’s Day 
'The Collected Regrets of Clover' book cover.

The Collected Regrets of Clover, Mikki Brammer

  • 'This truly is a debut novel that will stay with you.' – Refinery29
  • 'All the hype around this delightful, heartfelt, uplifting book is real . . . Clover’s story is set to touch many hearts deeply. Everything about it indicates it’s going to be a huge hit.' – Meredith Jaffe
  • 'A delicoiusly original story.' – NewsCorp
'Fire With Fire' book cover.

Fire With Fire, Candice Fox

  • 'Fast paced and intense, but with some real heart to it, Fire With Fire is a gripping read that proves very hard to put down.' – Canberra Weekly 
  • 'One of the best crime thrillers of the year.' – The Australian 
  • 'Lovers of thrillers should add this one to their collection for the adrenaline-pumping ride. fast-paced and clever investigative drama at its finest, structured with a brilliant premise and masterful storytelling.' – Good Reading 
'Graft' book cover.

Graft, Maggie MacKellar

  • 'To attempt to sum up this beautiful book is to do a disservice to the delicate and finely woven lattice of narrative threads that comprise it, like reducing a glimmering spider web to its geometry.' – The Age
  • 'An often fierce, unflinching account . . . brave and bittersweet book.' – The Australian 
  • 'A compelling and heartbreaking story.' – TrulyAus Magazine (REX inflight)

Featured Titles

The Tea Ladies
A wickedly witty cosy crime novel set in Sydney in the swinging sixties, ideal for fans of Richard Osman and Bonnie Garmus.
Read more
Anam
'Transcendent.' THE AGE 'Anam is a beautiful book. I loved its hypnotic rhythms, its restlessness, the way memories, dreams and ideas, like waves, kept riding in over the top of one another, undoing and complicating everything. It is the work of a soulful and scrupulous mind.' MILES ALLINSON
Read more
The Wonderful Thing about Phoenix Rose
The delightful new novel by the bestselling author of The Jam Queens.
Read more
Girl in a Pink Dress
Is it possible for one relationship to survive two ambitious artists?
Read more
The Collected Regrets of Clover
The Collected Regrets of Clover is the burst of hopefulness we need right now. A sparkling debut novel from Australian Mikki Brammer, which reminds us all to live our best life with fewer regrets.
Read more
Fire With Fire
Candice Fox’s heart-pounding thriller: a couple hold the LAPD to ransom in a desperate attempt to find their missing daughter.
Read more
Graft
A gorgeously written reflection, set in Tasmania, on motherhood, farming, nature and home.
Read more

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