Books

 

New Skin for the Old Ceremony

New Skin for the Old Ceremony

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen
It’s the typical bind of the third-culture kid: too much of one thing, not enough of the oth­er, not enough, not enough, not enough … ...
Queer love and yearning

Queer love and yearning

Laura Pettenuzzo
For all the progress we’ve seen in the gay rights movement, Lead Us Not is a well-crafted reminder that queer joy is still so often unattainable ...
Private desires, collective dispossession

Private desires, collective dispossession

Ruth McHugh-Dillon
In her book Kassab looks horror in the eye, dignifies private desires and grieves their loss, and in doing so reminds us what being human looks like ...
Unlock the Magic Eye

Unlock the Magic Eye

Sam Elkin
Reviewed: Doppelganger, Naomi Klein, Allen Lane In 2014, fresh from officiating an impromptu same-sex wedding in a New York bookstore, the comedian Joan Rivers made an off-colour joke. When asked by a reporter whether she thought she’d live to see a ...
Love at the ends of the earth

Love at the ends of the earth

Ned Hirst
Reviewed: Kairos, Jenny Erpenbeck, New Directions At the start of the first essay in her 2018 collection Not a Novel, Jenny Erpenbeck observes: ‘There is nothing better for a child than to grow up at the ends of the earth.’ For ...
Grad school in end times

Grad school in end times

Dion Kagan
Reviewed: The Late Americans, Brandon Taylor, Vintage Among campus novels, there’s a type chronicling the fortunes of a student, or group of students, coming of age in the hothouse of higher education, a melting pot of new people and ideas ...
Can you separate the art from the artist?

Can you separate the art from the artist?

Samantha Floreani
ReviewedMonsters: A Fan's Dilemma, Claire Dederer, Hachette Is it okay to enjoy art created by someone who has acted atrociously? Such is the central question explored in Claire Dederer’s Monsters: A Fan’s Dilemma. Initially motivated by a troubled love ...
A future where Palestine is free

A future where Palestine is free

Bobuq Sayed
Reviewed: Palestine + 100, edited by Basma Ghalayini, Comma Press The anthology Palestine + 100, published in 2019 by independent publisher Comma Press, asks twelve Palestinian writers—living in Gaza, the West Bank, and the diaspora—to creatively respond to a provocation that ...
Best of 2023 in Australian Reading

Best of 2023 in Australian Reading

Alex Gerrans, Rosie Ofori Ward, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen, Imogen Dewey
Four of Meanjin's finest book critics look back on their favourite reading of 2023 ...
The Social Worker Novel

The Social Worker Novel

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: So Close To Home, Mick Cummins, Affirm Press In playwright and social worker Mick Cummins’ debut novel, So Close to Home, we meet eighteen-year-old Aaron Peters in the throes of heroin withdrawal. An ‘incoming tide of pain’ causes him ...
Striving for Paradise

Striving for Paradise

Rosalind Moran
Reviewed: Paradise Estate, Max Easton, Giramondo Paradise Estate, Max Easton’s second novel, is in many ways a book about disintegration. The ironically-named titular location, a Sydney sharehouse that draws together the book’s central characters, is dilapidated to a hazardous ...
Chained Upon the Face of Time

Chained Upon the Face of Time

Alex Gerrans
Reviewed: The In-Between, Christos Tsiolkas, Allen & Unwin The In-Between is Christos Tsiolkas consciously yoking himself to Australian literature in a historical sense. It begins with an epigraph from Patrick White’s The Tree of Man, another novel by a gay ...
Appraising the pandemic (or, the virus time of global warming)

Appraising the pandemic (or, the virus time of global warming)

Lynda Ng
Summer 2023
Reviewed: Alexis Wright, Praiseworthy, GIRAMONDO ‘Disruption’ may have been a ubiquitous corporate buzzword in recent decades, but nothing seemed to have prepared the world for the upheavals of a global pandemic. In a matter of weeks, the incessant cross-border flows ...
Dream theology

Dream theology

Mira Schlosberg
Reviewed: Aurora Mattia, The Fifth Wound, NIGHTBOAT BOOKS & Never Angeline North, Rainbear!!!!!!!!!, APOCALYPSE PARTY ‘Forget everything you’ve been taught. Start by dreaming.’ —May 1968 protest graffiti (and the epigraph to Rainbear!!!!!!!!!) If you read the news, you might be ...
Into the hedges that line the walk

Into the hedges that line the walk

Isabella Gullifer-Laurie
Summer 2023
Reviewed: Amina Cain, A Horse at Night: On Writing, DAUNT BOOKS ORIGINALS It is a modest preamble that opens A Horse at Night, Amina Cain’s first book of nonfiction. ‘Without planning it,’ she muses, ‘I wrote a diary of sorts. Lightly. A ...