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Sydney-born, New York-based Steve Toltz took five years to write his first novel, a comic tragedy about the fear of death, with alternating first-person narrators. That book, A Fraction of the Whole, was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker prize. Next, he spent six years on his second novel, also a comic tragedy in revolving first person, this time about fear of suffering and therefore, fear of life.

Quicksand, like its predecessor, is narratively complex, the “nerve endings of one story connecting to another story”, as Toltz aptly puts it. The 42-year-old writer pushes plausibility, mixing wry wit with coincidence and energetic plotting. Plenty happens.


Fifteen years ago, opera’s man mountain, Teddy Tahu Rhodes, had a big crop of blond hair. These days at the peak of the 196-centimetre edifice of the bass-baritone sits a smoothly shaved head, his remedy for hair loss. “I’m proudly bald,” he says, his square shoulders and crushing handshake evidence he still scales an urban gym’s equipment.

In a country where most of us would be lucky to namecheck a handful of opera singers, Tahu Rhodes shines brightly as our own rock star of the genre. (Sure, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa recently bobbed up on TV, but it was in Downton Abbey playing Dame Nellie Melba, who died in 1931.)




Fifty essays and dispatches on
what it means to be gay today.

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