Books

 

Material Girl

Material Girl

Claire Cao
Reviewed: The Modern, Anna Kate Blair, Scribner   The Museum of Modern Art is the glassy heart of The Modern, Anna Kate Blair’s debut novel, where Australian transplant Sophia spends the last days of her two-year fellowship checking artworks for ...
Beyond the horizon

Beyond the horizon

Megan Cheong
Reviewed: Audition, Pip Adam, Giramondo In the opening pages of Pip Adam’s fourth novel, Audition, three giants talk to each other through the walls of a spacecraft that can no longer accommodate them, each massive body crammed into a different ...
Cultural Cringe

Cultural Cringe

Claire Cao
Reviewed: But The Girl, Jessica Zhan Mei Yu, Hamish Hamilton In Jessica Zhan Mei Yu’s But the Girl, everything is embarrassing. The Australian narrator—only referred to by her family nickname ‘Girl’—is fulfilling her dream of travelling to Britain for an ...
Honour Your Mother

Honour Your Mother

Ruth McHugh-Dillon
Reviewed: God Forgets About the Poor, Peter Polites, Ultimo ‘You don’t know the first thing about me,’ a mother tells her son, a writer, in the powerful opening chapter of Peter Polites’ God Forgets About the Poor. ‘A son can ...
Our Palestine Question

Our Palestine Question

Vanessa Francesca
Reviewed: The Palestine Laboratory, Antony Loewenstein, Scribe In 2006, Antony Loewenstein’s debut book My Israel Question caused a stir among Australian conservatives for its suggestion that it was time to move beyond zionism and the dream of a ‘national homeland’ ...
For Crying Out Loud

For Crying Out Loud

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: The Crying Room, Gretchen Shirm, Transit Lounge As a child, I sometimes went to a church where there was a crying room for children; the glass panes were strong enough to muffle the audience’s crying sounds. It would reflect ...
Between Fate and Choice

Between Fate and Choice

Sonia Nair
Reviewed: The Scope of Permissibility, Zeynab Gamieldien, Ultimo   Campus novels so often involve a coming-of-age: the formative years of young adulthood are spent within the confines of institutions, with their unspoken political and social structures ripe for exploration, particularly ...
Condemned real estate, and grief

Condemned real estate, and grief

Dion Kagan
Reviewed: Why We Are Here, Briohny Doyle, Penguin Random House In Briohny Doyle’s fourth book, a writer called BB has lost both her partner and father in close succession, and, in the aftermath of their deaths, experiences the first wave ...
A glutton for punishment

A glutton for punishment

Matilda Dixon-Smith
Reviewed: Sad Girl Novel, Pip Finkemeyer, Ultimo Press It’s a tall order to critique the very thing you are creating as you’re creating it. In the wake of Sally Rooney’s dominance over—for want of a better descriptor—‘women’s literary fiction’, perhaps ...
A Common Language

A Common Language

Sonia Nair
Reviewed: Hospital, Sanya Rushdi, Giramondo In 2009, 2010 and 2015, Bangladeshi-Australian writer Sanya Rushdi experienced three episodes of psychosis and was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Years later, a narrator who shares her first name, background and medical history attempts to disentangle ...
Scene Changes

Scene Changes

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: Where I Slept, Libby Angel, Text The narrator of Libby Angel’s autofiction novel Where I Slept is an entropic force. A self-described poet, she dances on a razor’s edge between destitution and transcendence: busking and bin-diving, sleeping in filthy ...
The Longing for Belonging

The Longing for Belonging

May Ngo
Reviewed: The Pachinko Parlour, Elisa Shua Dusapin (trans. Aneesa Abbas Higgins), Scribe ‘I walk over to the picture window, look down at the station; a central spine, four walkways fanning out like limbs. A lizard lying in wait.’ One of ...
In the Developing Solution

In the Developing Solution

Jonno Revanche
Reviewed: Still Pictures, Janet Malcolm, Text Publishing From the years 2010 to about 2016 I believed, and was proven right, in one way or another, that I could wield dominion over the petty narrative structure of my life by taking to ...
Seismic Shifts

Seismic Shifts

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: Childhood, Shannon Burns, Text Publishing Childhood is a formative experience. And reading can be a transformative experience; between the lines and shelves of books there are spaces to inhabit and new ways to metamorphose. I found myself thinking about ...
Opaque Gems

Opaque Gems

Ellen O'Brien
Reviewed: Homecoming, Elfie Shiosaki, Magabala Books / Don’t Take Your Love to Town, Ruby Langford Ginibi, Penguin (1988 edition) How to punctuate an aesthetics of suffering, its vizibilization regime, with a counternarrative of NDN possibility? Hypothesis: be negative space. ...