Books

 

Only the Cry Remains

Only the Cry Remains

Alex Gerrans
Reviewed: I Fear My Pain Interests You, Stephanie LaCava, Verso In The Culture of Pain, David B. Morris offers a provocation: if every era has its ‘characteristic crime’, then it has also its ‘defining or representative illnesses’. And in the Anthropocene, we ...
Obscene Gesture

Obscene Gesture

Josie/Jocelyn Deane
Reviewed: The Drama Student, Autumn Royal, Giramondo Prologue On 3 June 1968, Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol at The Factory. At this stage in his career, Warhol was using silkscreens, mass-producing images the way corporations could produce mass consumer ...
The Colours of Fear

The Colours of Fear

Rosie Ofori Ward,
Reviewed: Notes on Her Colour, Jennifer Neal, Vintage Gabrielle can change the colour of her skin. It’s a skill she inherited from her mother who got it from her mother before her. ‘Passed down from blood to blood,’ she states ...
Examining Cruelty

Examining Cruelty

Matilda Dixon-Smith
Reviewed: Cruel Care: A History of Children at Our Borders, Jordana Silverstein, Monash University Publishing In May 2012, the president of the Indigenous Social Justice Association, Ray Jackson, issued passports to two Tamil men who were being detained in Villawood, ...
House of Many Rooms

House of Many Rooms

Claire Cao
Reviewed: Anam, André Dao, Hamish Hamilton   In André Dao’s rigorous and masterful debut novel Anam, a Vietnamese Australian man attempts to write the story of his grandfather and, in turn, the cultural memory of Vietnam’s expansive diaspora. This enormous ...
Flights of Fancy

Flights of Fancy

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen
Reviewed: The Albatross, Nina Wan, Pan Macmillan A woman drives to a public golf course. She is not quite sure what compels her to go there, yet there she is, in her non-golf-appropriate clothing, at a golf course. A teenage ...
Mandate to listen

Mandate to listen

Dion Kagan
Reviewed: Resistance, Jacinta Halloran, Text Nina is a family therapist with an ‘unerring ability to listen’. She applies this skill with her clients, although this fourth novel by Jacinta Halloran strongly implies that the burden of the professional listener is ...
Growing Up in Yagoona

Growing Up in Yagoona

Rosie Ofori Ward
Reviewed: Funny Ethnics, Shirley Le, Affirm Shirley Le’s debut novel, Funny Ethnics, follows Sylvia Nguyen, the only child of Vietnamese refugee parents in an off-beat and comical coming-of-age story that will be all too recognisable for many second-generation immigrants of ...
Slow Literature

Slow Literature

Maks Sipowicz
Reviewed: Wall, Jen Craig, Puncher & Wattmann Jen Craig’s new novel, Wall, is a powerful exploration of an artist’s need to explain herself and to be understood by herself and others. Written in the form of two long monologues addressed ...
What Even is a Novel?

What Even is a Novel?

Hasib Hourani
Reviewed: A Minor Chorus, Billy-Ray Belcourt, University of Queensland Press After having published two books of poetry and one essay collection, Driftpile Cree academic and poet Billy-Ray Belcourt addresses his trademark preoccupations—precarities of place, Indigeneity and gender—in A Minor Chorus, ...
Sad Melbournian

Sad Melbournian

Maks Sipowicz
Reviewed: Shirley, Ronnie Scott, Hamish Hamilton Ronnie Scott’s new novel, Shirley, is a smart melodrama about growing up in your thirties set against the existential dread of living through ecological collapse and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Readers are taken along ...
Will It Hurt the Baby?

Will It Hurt the Baby?

Charle Malycon
Laura McPhee-Browne’s second novel, Little Plum, explores mothering through the truth of its protagonist, Coral, a woman with a chronic mental health condition and complicated upbringing. Beginning with a series of epigraphs that segue into a dream-diary extract, the novel’s ...
No Appetite

No Appetite

Claire Cao
Reviewed: Blue Hunger, Viola Di Grado (trans. Jamie Richards), Scribe Artists have a long history of entwining the act of eating with the erotic. Eating and fucking both involve a response to your cravings, to your most primal senses. Stretch ...
The Most Dangerous Woman in Sydney

The Most Dangerous Woman in Sydney

Justine Hyde
Reviewed: Fiona Kelly McGregor, Iris, Picador Who was Iris Webber? For Fiona Kelly McGregor, the search began at an exhibition where Webber’s gaol mugshot first caught McGregor’s eye. In her 2017 creative writing exegesis,1 McGregor writes about becoming ‘vexed’ by ‘static, ...
If Selfies Could Talk

If Selfies Could Talk

Elese Dowden
Reviewed: Katerina Gibson, Women I Know, Scribner In a recent interview with Alice Allan, James Jiang laments the ‘prize culture’ that permeates Australian literature, arguing that readers who avoid ‘bad’ books may be left with a superficial sense of what’s ...