BRIAN TOOHEY. Building submarines in SA simply sinks Australian dollars | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

Despite claims to the contrary by the defence industry minister Christopher Pyne, this sector is not driving growth in the economy or jobs. A defence economics specialist Mark Thompson has debunked…

Source: BRIAN TOOHEY. Building submarines in SA simply sinks Australian dollars | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The rise of China and the reaction of the United States | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

It has been stated that the Chinese are the “new kids on the block” and are getting a beating from the United States,because of China’s alleged behaviour in the South China seas.

Source: RICHARD WOOLCOTT. The rise of China and the reaction of the United States | John Menadue – Pearls and Irritations

Flame Tip by Karenlee Thompson

Flame Tip by Karenlee Thompson

‘I’ll tell you about my neighbourhood on the 8th of February 1967 …’

In this collection of seventeen short fictions, linked to the Black Tuesday bushfires in Tasmania on 8 February 1967, Ms Thompson explores many different themes.  For those of you who weren’t around fifty years ago, this tragedy left 62 people dead and injured 900 others.  More than 7000 people were left homeless and 1400 homes were destroyed.  Most of the destruction was caused within a five-hour period.  It was horrific.  I was a school-aged child living in Launceston at the time, watching the local community mobilise to help those affected.

These fictions involve different people, with their different reactions to the fire and its aftermath.  There’s one woman, in ‘Lost’, looking for the life she lost when the fire destroyed her home.  In another, ‘The Keeper of the Satchel’, a man remembers the fire (and its impact) through his own regulated life.  He wonders.  In other stories, communities come together after the fire as differences that seemed important beforehand are erased.  For the storytellers – danger, fear, loss and memories play a part as do empathy, humour and resilience.

This is a book to dip into.  I will revisit these stories as a reminder of both the events of Black Tuesday (and other catastrophic bushfires) and the different ways in which such catastrophes continue to affect people long after the event.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith


The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

‘It’s amazing what you can keep buried when you want to.’

A beautiful young woman’s body, strewn with red roses, is found floating in the lake near a small rural town.  Her identity is quickly stablished: she’s a teacher at the local high school, named Rosalind (Rose) Ryan.  Detective Sergeant Gemma Woodstock was at high school with Rose, but despite this connection she wants to investigate the case. Rose has been murdered, but by whom and why?  Why did Rose quit her teaching job in the city to return to teach at Smithson High School?  Why was the body strewn with red roses: many people seemed to admire Rose, but no-one seems to have really known her.

‘Beautiful things are hard to keep alive.’

Gemma Woodstock is an interesting, flawed character with her own secrets.  Some of those secrets become apparent early in the novel, and while I found aspects of Gemma irritating, I liked her.  Here’s a flawed woman, juggling family and work (not always successfully) trying to figure out who killed Rose.  The deeper she digs, the more people she finds with a possible motive for murder.  The deeper she digs, the closer she comes to revealing some of her own secrets that she would rather keep hidden.

‘Keep trying to figure out who killed perfect, precious Rose Ryan.’

I thought I had it worked out part way through the book, but I was wrong.  Once all the pieces fell into place (no spoilers) it makes its own sense.  A satisfying read, which left me wondering what the future might hold for Gemma Woodstock.  This is Ms Bailey’s debut novel, and I’ll certainly be hoping to see more from her in the future.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith