Books in Print

independent Australian bookselling since 1988

31 Aug 2009

Books Alive 2009

Last week was the official launch of Books Alive 2009. The annual government-funded promotion aimed at encouraging Australians to 'Get Reading' will run until the end of September. Customers who purchase any title from the 50 Books You Can't Put Down guide will receive one of the following titles free (while stocks last).

10 Short Stories You Must Read This Year
Something for everyone in this all-new collection of stories by ten of Australia's best writers.

Grug Learns To Read by Ted Prior
Grug, who began his life as the top of a Burrawang Tree, is back in brand-new story about learning to read.

19 Aug 2009

Document Z

by Andrew Croome

Allen & Unwin

Document Z is last year’s Australian / Vogel Literary Prize winner. Written by Andrew Croome, it is a political tale of espionage, intrigue and betrayal. It tells the story of the defection of the Petrovs, Vladimir and Evdokia, from Soviet Russia to Australia in Canberra in the 1950s.

The story is a documented part of Australian history. It was covered extensively in the media at the time. However, in Document Z, the author converts ASIO documents, first-hand accounts and 1950s and 60s media hysteria into a cohesive whole. The novel was written over three years as part of a PhD. Andrew Croome’s exhaustive research is combined with a keen sense of literary intuition. The story is interesting enough in its own right but Croome’s ability to get right inside the minds of the main players on both sides and those on the sidelines adds a whole other dimension to the reader’s experience. The story moves along at a steady pace; a well-structured plot peppered with stop-and-think insights into the mental states of various characters and sharp observations that confirm in the author that all-important writer’s quality of Empathy. While much of the novel’s subject matter is born of research, it is the imagined and the embellished in it that both successfully announces Croome’s arrival on the literary scene and brings out the humanity behind a story that without this treatment could so easily have been consigned to mere factual records, transcripts and the dusty pages of history. In Document Z, the Petrovs and their story are very much alive. Croome even gives an ASIO agent a pulse. Who knew? Brilliant from start to finish!

This is a review from The Weekend Australian 

by Simon