Books

 

The Novel (As Haunted by the Listicle)

The Novel (As Haunted by the Listicle)

Alex Gerrans
Reviewed: Green Dot, Madeleine Gray, Allen & Unwin Sharper observers than I have written on the problems of the quid-pro-quo blurb industry, the lack of critical culture around Australian novels, and the labour conditions that are responsible for this budding ...
A vast network of agencies

A vast network of agencies

Megan Cheong
Reviewed: Gunflower, Laura Jean McKay, Scribe If pressed, I would describe Laura Jean McKay’s Gunflower as a collection of stories about bodies. Divided into three sections—‘birth’, ‘life’ and ‘death’—the stories explore the way bodies, with all their needs and desires, ...
Lady Justice falters

Lady Justice falters

Sam Elkin
Reviewed: Prima Facie, Suzie Miller, Picador Australia Melbourne-born playwright and now novelist Suzie Miller has rightly received extraordinary praise for her one-woman play Prima Facie, which examines how courts routinely fail victims of sexual assault. With the star impact of ...
Discovering Desire

Discovering Desire

Rosie Ofori Ward
Reviewed: Me, Her, Us, Yen-Rong Wong, University of Queensland Press As a woman of colour, reading about sex, relationships and desire has often made me feel slightly uneasy. Most depictions of sexual awakening come from straight white women, whose experiences ...
Lost Children’s Archive

Lost Children’s Archive

Vanessa Francesca
Reviewed: Frank Moorhouse: A Life, Catharine Lumby, Allen & Unwin Frank Moorhouse was an Australian writer who defined a generation’s engagement with lost idealism and style. He is best remembered for his Edith trilogy, about a diplomat’s role in creating ...
In Sickness and In Health

In Sickness and In Health

Elena Perse
Reviewed: Body Friend, Katherine Brabon, Ultimo When I was 19, I had my ankle fused. To fix it, I underwent a procedure called a subtalar fusion, which used a bone graft from my shin and two huge screws to put ...
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 ...