PositiveThe Saturday Paper (AUS)\"Even the narrator’s omniscience is hesitant. The syntax rolls back over established facts...There’s something artfully skeptical, bemused or confected about this. Like the resistant pull of the meta-narrative’s awkward fabric, these are deliberate glitches in what might otherwise be mistaken for the seamlessness of a rattling good tale. A pernickety, forensic exactitude in the laying-out of facts is often in tension with a sense of cloudiness or provisionality ... The narrative drive of breaking up and staying together swells and dwindles as Rooney’s larger artistic and ethical questions frame it. It makes #BWWAY a \'normal\' kind of novel that flickers with inklings of maverick potential as Rooney chafes against the publishing machinery that now defines her.\
RaveThe Sydney Morning Herald (AUS)Giggs’ meticulous research is itself awesome. Every page has its breathtaking revelations. The slant light of facts reveals humanity’s own animal nature ... Giggs only occasionally brings the first-person into focus — childhood museum whales, a vegetarian offered whale flesh, the delicious frisson of love’s inklings. This is part of the work’s ethical approach. Stepping back to observe, and attentive examination and dismantling of anthropocentrism allow better access to the whale and to overarching ecological questions ... For all this wondrous detail, the whale remains a lens through which to consider humanity’s relationship with the environment ... Fathoms’ exhilarating poetic language is richly allusive and orchestrated. Alongside poetry’s capacity to capture and amplify wonder runs a deeper, empathic impulse. Metaphor is a bridge ... Haunted by limited bridgings and the spectre of the future, this marvellous work of haunted wonder ends with a fiercely unabashed vision of humanity moved \'from indecision to action\', for whales, for love, for the world.
Behrouz Boochani, Trans. by Omid Tofighian
RaveAustralian Book ReviewIf it were a piece of fiction, this intense account of being rescued would settle after its zenith...But Boochani’s work is not fiction, and respite is illusory ... No Friend But the Mountains is a work of witness. Richard Flanagan, in his foreword, acknowledges the ‘near impossibility of its existence’ ... The work transcends memoir, especially because Boochani is often self-effacing. The blaze and flicker of his self-assessment limns a more empathetic project through which he examines larger questions of the nature of human behaviour and the search for an adequate way to name and anatomise the cruel experiment that is offshore detention ... Boochani is a prodigiously gifted poet and prose stylist. There are few false notes.