Book reviews

Enchanting tale explores ideas
of love and belonging

The selkies of Sea Hearts, Margo Lanagan’s haunting novel, are beautiful, compliant women that bewitch the men of Rollrock Island and are themselves held captive, caring for the men and… Read more

First woman to circumnavigate

The lost history of women is a rich seam. As the feminists of the 1960s and 1970s pointed out (as did suffragettes and every women’s movement before that) the history… Read more

Perceptive notes adorn early explorer's intimate letters

A tantalising absence manifests in Miriam Estensen’s The Letters of George and Elizabeth Bass – not the disappearance of George, which is an enduring, tragic mystery, but the lack of… Read more

Skewed map holds the
key to early exploration

Peter Trickett’s intriguing Beyond Capricorn is going to make great television, laden as it is with ships, adventure, stolen maps, secret missions and plenty of mystery. Parts of his book… Read more

A dinghy floats ashore with a moral dilemma...

Books that are preceded by tales of large advances and bidding wars carry the awkward freight of raised expectations. A reviewer feels like a juror instructed to forget prior knowledge… Read more

Sea chase to catch toothfish trawler

The Patagonian toothfish, also called the Chilean sea bass, is a strange, deep-sea fish prized for its firm white flesh that is rapidly being fished toward extinction. As their numbers… Read more

Myth the medium of refraction

It’s an idle pleasure to imagine our lives as art - a friend’s love affair pitched as an opera plot or beautiful lunch companions painted on canvas. For the voyagers… Read more

Diving for pearls - a young man's adventure

Diving for pearls is the kind of adventure that appeals to many young people tired of classrooms and study, promising sunshine, limpid water, romance and treasure. Of course, it’s not… Read more
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… there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

- Ratty to Mole in The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame