Reviews

 

Fear Life

Fear Life

Amy Walters
Reviewed: Eva Holland, Nerve: A Personal Journey through the Science of Fear, Pantera Press In her 1992 book Science as Salvation, the late philosopher Mary Midgley wrote, ‘The idea that we can reach salvation through science is ancient and powerful.’1 Today medical science continues to be on the ascendant: the human genome has been mapped and the development of personalised medicine is genuinely possible. Amid the rise of pharmacological approaches to treating emotional distress and the ...
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Nobody's Home

Nobody’s Home

Cher Tan
Reviewed: George Haddad, Populate and Perish, Xoum Publishing The idea of a ‘motherland’ remains a strong motif in the mind of the migrant. For those of us directly or indirectly displaced by war, economic aspiration and/or existential opportunity, the motherland has an enduring meaning: while not necessarily a ‘home’, it may call to mind roots, beginnings, a sense of tradition, an ‘authentic’ sense of self. I’d even say it’s a diasporic obsession, at least for ...
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dhurga dhamanj (Dhurga Talk)

dhurga dhamanj (Dhurga Talk)

Jessica Friedmann
Reviewed: Patricia Elllis, Kerry Boyenga and Waine Donovan, The Dhurga Dictionary and Learner’s Grammar: A South-east Coast NSW Aboriginal Language, AIATSIS Books; and Darlene Oxenham, Jeannie Herbert, Jill Milroy and Pat Dudgeon (eds), Us Women, Our Ways, Our World, Magabala Books. On Thursday night I walk over damp grass to the local Catholic school hall. A small group of us have gathered together to take Dhurga lessons, and the hall provides enough square metres of ...
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The Exhilarating Leap Forward

The Exhilarating Leap Forward

Ruby Hamad
Reviewed: Lizzie O’Shea, Future Histories: What Ada Lovelace, Tom Paine, and the Paris Commune Can Teach Us about Digital Technology, Verso Books. There is a viral video that made the rounds a few years back in which Pharrell Williams sits beside a visibly nervous young music student. The legendary producer and performer had paid a surprise visit to NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music to provide feedback on students’ producing assignments. Almost as soon ...
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Truths and Arrows of YA

Truths and Arrows of YA

Adele Walsh
Reviewed: Raina Telgemeier, Guts, Scholastic; Elizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X, Hardie Grant; Vikki Wakefield, This Is How We Change the Ending, Text Publishing. As with all categories of literature, Young Adult (YA) is a melting pot of genres, formats and inspirations that reflect the experience of teens. It’s a distinctly Western concept due to the proliferation of a few series that made the leap from page to screen, and then to the zeitgeist. There’s a ...
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Guilt Mountain

Guilt Mountain

Jinghua Qian
Reviewed: Mirandi Riwoe, Stone Sky Gold Mountain, UQP. Australian nationalism often promotes a history in which the colonisation of Aboriginal lands was somehow complete before the white patriot turned his attentions outwards to the threat of the non-white foreigner. It’s a deliberate trick. Certainly, the histories I was taught in school advanced this chronology: first the British arrived and took over this country, and then they wanted to keep everyone else out. Gradually, in the ...
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Exquisite Troubling Depths

Exquisite Troubling Depths

Harry Saddler
Reviewed: Rebecca Giggs, Fathoms: The World in the Whale, Scribe Publications. This April, news outlets reported that researchers had observed a drop in underwater noise pollution since the start of the year. The Guardian quoted statistics stating that over the period of the study, from 1 January to 1 April, imports and exports at the port of Vancouver near the study site were down by 20 per cent. Cornell University’s Michelle Fournet said that ‘we ...
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Taking Female Queerness From Subtext to Text

Taking Female Queerness From Subtext to Text

Matilda Dixon-Smith
Reviewed: Laura McPhee-Browne, Cherry Beach (Text Publishing) Faith and I smiled at each other and started to move away from the crowd, down Queen Street towards the east. I took her hand, small and shy, and held it. It felt good to be out with her, and to show anyone who wanted to look what we were to each other. —Laura McPhee-Browne, Cherry Beach In a Readings blog review of Inga Simpson’s Where the Trees Were, ...
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