Reviews

 

An Unhappy Soul

An Unhappy Soul

Ruby Hamad
Early into his new essay collection Intimate Antipathies, the follow-up to his NSW Premier’s Award–winning An Elegant Young Man, Luke Carman shares Gore Vidal’s theory on the two kinds of writer. The first is the true wordsmith; obsessed with mastering the art of language, their passion lies not in what they write about but how they write it. The second is the writer whose chosen vocation is a kind of belated therapy; theirs is a ...
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Blood Will Have Blood

Blood Will Have Blood

Upulie Divisekera
Blood is not a single substance, but a collection of individual parts that comprise a magical fluid that maintains life. It’s made up of many components: red blood cells that carry oxygen to tissues and give blood its colour; cells from the immune system; and large biomolecules such as proteins, salts, nutrients, fats, hormones and medicines. Blood and blood vessels serve as the body’s highway, and blood can reveal much about your health. Before it ...
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Yellow Peril Isn't What It Used to Be

Yellow Peril Isn’t What It Used to Be

Jinghua Qian
As a proportion of the total population, there were more Chinese people in Victoria in the 1850s than there are now.According to the 1857 census, more than 6 per cent of the Victorian population was Chinese. In the 2016 census, 4.7 per cent of Victorian respondents selected Chinese ancestry (respondents could choose up to two). Nearly all of them were men. Ponder that for a moment: horse-drawn carriages rattling down the streets, most of Melbourne’s landmark ...
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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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