Books

Rats, heroes and Kevin Rudd’s ‘The PM Years’

This memoir answers some questions about his deposal and return but raises others

Fair judgement without surrender: Chloe Hooper’s ‘The Arsonist’

The author of ‘The Tall Man’ tries to understand the motivations of a Black Saturday firebug

Tracking time: Gerald Murnane’s ‘A Season on Earth’

Forty years on, the author’s second novel is reunited with its lost half

To have or not to have: Sheila Heti’s ‘Motherhood’ and Jacqueline Rose’s ‘Mothers’

Heti’s novel asks if a woman should have a child; Rose’s nonfiction considers how society treats her if she does

The shape of a generous mind

Oliver Sacks’ brilliant ideas echo on through ‘The River of Consciousness’

Small moments

Jennifer Egan’s dynamic new novel, ‘Manhattan Beach’, will reward all readers

The ghost of creativity spurned

Richard Flanagan explores a different kind of darkness in ‘First Person’

A certain madness

Beneath the surface comedy of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Watt’ lies a metaphysical quest to know the unknowable

Sly late style

JM Coetzee’s ‘Late Essays: 2006–2017’ shows his deep respect and sympathy for fellow writers

Success dogged him

Judith Brett’s ‘The Enigmatic Mr Deakin’ is a skilful portrait of Australia’s second prime minister

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