Reviews

 

Feeling Seen

Feeling Seen

Cher Tan
In H.G. Wells’ 1897 gothic masterpiece The Invisible Man, a mysterious figure arrives in a small English town to carry out nefarious deeds. Under an outfit that’s largely made up of bandages, the optics-obsessed scientist is invisible, which allows him to get away with arson, theft and, literally, murder—until he himself is killed. As he dies, parts of his body slowly regain visibility, revealing him in his battered and grotesque glory. It’s the story of ...
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Five Poets: Five Worlds

Five Poets: Five Worlds

Martin Langford
John Mateer’s previous books have been faceted confrontations with the cultures that he travelled through—the far east, Australia, the Islamic world. João is a break from that: a somewhat haphazard collection of incidents and observations that together provide a portrait of the traveller himself. ‘It is unclear whether the author should now be seen as the Australian alter-ego of João of eGoli (Johannesburg) … or whether João … is more a transnational avatar who is ...
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The Absent Mother

The Absent Mother

Amy Gray
Motherhood is a role everyone experiences in some way, and yet mothers are never seen. Instead, media and society dissect mothers into a range of body parts without agency: the uterus, which is governed by laws, or hands that do the majority of unpaid physical labour in the home. Legs pounding the backyard, carrying a baby fussing itself to sleep. An invisible set of helicopter blades swirls over mothers’ heads, loudly creating terrible children. In popular ...
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'What's It like Inside a Monster's Head?'

‘What’s It like Inside a Monster’s Head?’

Andy Jackson
Earlier this year Joanne Vigor-Mungovin announced she had found the unmarked grave of a significant historical figure in the City of London Cemetery. This man was born in 1862 in Leicester, and spent his early life in a workhouse, then as a door-to-door salesman, then as homeless. As a young man he was feted by music-hall showmen and became a performer of sorts, and finally contributed to medical research before his early death, aged 27, ...
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Nostalgia for a Working Class

Nostalgia for a Working Class

Jeff Sparrow
Recently I chaired a session at the Adelaide Writers Centre, an event entitled ‘The Supremacy of Class’ at which Rick Morton and Sarah Smarsh discussed their books One Hundred Years of Dirt and Heartland. Adelaide gives a good festival, with the outdoor setting adding a certain informality to proceedings, a nice antidote to bookish pomposity. A huge audience listened intently, both panellists spoke wittily and well, and the session proceeded as successfully as anyone might ...
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And Still the Birds Sing

And Still the Birds Sing

Karen Wyld
As some recently published works have shown, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytellers are continuing to embrace fiction-writing as a vessel for speaking truth to power. Constantly branching out into new genres—experimenting, fusing, transforming—there’s a noticeable increase in First Peoples speculative fiction being published in Australia. With each line across the page, the colonial grip on the continent loosens. Fingers unclasp, story by story. Not all of these stories are from deep time—some are reimagined or ...
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The Forming of Our Modern Notions

The Forming of Our Modern Notions

Ruby Hamad
When reports emerged late last year that thousands of migrant children were being forcibly separated from their parents at the United States–Mexico border and placed into state care, much of America (and beyond) reacted with shock. ‘I appreciate the need to enforce and protect our international boundaries,’ wrote former first lady and wife of Republican president George W. Bush, in the Washington Post, ‘but this zero-tolerance policy is cruel. It is immoral. And it breaks ...
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Wings of Hope

Wings of Hope

Alison Croggon
Living in the twenty-first century often seems like a state of dissociated anxiety, as if existence is reduced to a live feed of the apocalypse, as if we’re in one of those nineties disaster movies in which TV screens in the background scream out headlines: ‘Asteroid nears Earth’. Except that the headlines are real. In the age of the Anthropocene, climate change is only one of many interlinked catastrophes overtaking the planet. We face a cascade ...
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