Books

 

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
Autumn 2023, Autumn 2023
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
Autumn 2023
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 ...
The Lie of Social Mobility

The Lie of Social Mobility

Reviewed: Pankaj Mishra, Run and Hide, Vintage The long shadow of empire, the rise of corrosive forms of nationalism and the rapid march of globalisation are predominant themes in Pankaj Mishra’s incendiary essays and nonfiction books. But perhaps some observations ...
Severance Pay

Severance Pay

Josie/Jocelyn Suzanne
Autumn 2023
Harry Reid’s poetry of the office Reviewed: Harry Reid, Leave Me Alone, Cordite One of the ironies of Harry Reid’s poetry collection Leave Me Alone—in essence an order, a knee-jerk response, the default state of interacting with co-workers as they try ...
Acknowledged Legislators

Acknowledged Legislators

James Jiang
Autumn 2023
Reviewed: Katerina Clark, Eurasia without Borders: The Dream of a Leftist Literary Commons, 1919–1943, Harvard University Press Yet ideas can be true, although men die: For we have seen a myriad faces Ecstatic from one lie, And maps can really ...
Best of 2022 in Australian Reading

Best of 2022 in Australian Reading

Scott Limbrick, Jonno Revanche, Ellen O'Brien and Megan Cheong, Scott Limbrick, Jonno Revanche, Ellen O'Brien and Megan Cheong
I was particularly excited to discover new speculative fiction, with two anthologies dedicated to the genre. This All Come Back Now (ed. Mykaela Saunders), collects First Nations fiction by emerging and established writers, including stories by Evelyn Araluen, Karen Wyld, ...
Surrounded by Echoes

Surrounded by Echoes

Ellen O'Brien
Reviewed: Tell Me Again, Amy Thunig, University of Queensland Press There’s a barb which we Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know well: it’s time we got over the past. How much easier our lives would be—for them, anyway—if we ...