Reviews

 

Not Waiting but Wanting

Not Waiting but Wanting

Jonno Revanche
Reviewed: Jackie Ess, Darryl, Clash Books There’s an uncanny way in which certain ‘queer novels’ can quickly become a thing of folk legend, surpassing even word-of-mouth to become inoculable. Neither good press nor criticism can necessarily move it. Those ‘in’ on the secret may (annoyingly) regard themselves as sybaritic, chosen for a kind of sainthood. Books such as Bluets (Maggie Nelson) or Autobiography of Red (Anne Carson) become doomed to a sort of possessiveness. Accessorised ...
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Fragile Networks

Fragile Networks

Caitlin McGregor
Reviewed: Anke Stelling, Higher Ground, Scribe In Bodentiefe Fenster (2015), Anke Stelling’s second novel, a woman called Sandra lives in an alternative housing project in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin. So did Stelling at the time of writing. The book is a critique of the class ignorance and privilege embedded in Sandra’s social circle, comprising mostly artists.While I can’t read German and thus have never read the book, according to Stelling, via an online translator, she ‘grew ...
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It's Not a Bad Book, Necessarily

It’s Not a Bad Book, Necessarily

Hassan Abul and Dženana Vucic
Reviewed: Lauren Oyler, Fake Accounts, Catapult Hassan messaged me in February. I was in Berlin, he was in Melbourne. He had read an excerpt of Lauren Oyler’s Fake Accounts and, being a little tipsy, suggested that we review it together. It was a book about moving to Berlin, which was something I had done and Hassan was determined never to do. We thought this might mean we’d bring different frames of reference to the review ...
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Slide Into the Glory Hole of Your Life

Slide Into the Glory Hole of Your Life

Terri Ann Quan Sing
Reviewed: Jackie Wang, The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void, Nightboat Books The dream begins in the middle of things. And as in dreams, the poems in The Sunflower Cast a Spell to Save Us from the Void begin and are on the run before we can place them. But this disorientation is familiar—in our dream lives we are thrust into the uncanny without experiencing it as such; we are often ...
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Resisting the Colonising Gaze

Resisting the Colonising Gaze

Neala Qing Guo
Reviewed: Graham Greene, The Quiet American, Penguin Before he travelled the world, met Fidel Castro, and became one of the greatest chroniclers of the twentieth-century man’s consciousness, Graham Greene was an unpopular schoolboy prone to bouts of depression. He once swallowed a handful of aspirin pills and went swimming in the school pool, hoping to lose consciousness and drown. Neither of those things happened; he received several weeks of detention for trying. Whether it was ...
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Controlled Visibility

Controlled Visibility

Munira Tabassum Ahmed
Reviewed: Randa Abdel-Fattah, Coming of Age in the War on Terror, NewSouth Publishing It has always been post-9/11 for me. I was born on a Thursday in 2005. I called Western Sydney my first home. I have navigated this nation, albeit for a short time, in a body with identities that are already politicised. Emerging into young adulthood as a brown, Muslim girl has required me to understand and analyse how I am perceived by individuals ...
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Leaving the Echo Chamber

Leaving the Echo Chamber

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: Briohny Doyle, Echolalia, Vintage Set in a near future where 50-degree summers bully the horizon, Briohny Doyle’s second novel, Echolalia, sprawls among psychothriller, crime, speculative and literary fiction to make a highly original mark on the publishing landscape as she wrestles with and departs from the tropes of those genres. The Cormac family are the owners of a small property empire in the fictional town of Shorehaven, where a lake is slowly drying up. When ...
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National Character

National Character

Scott Limbrick
Reviewed: Martin McKenzie-Murray, The Speechwriter, Scribe Early in The Speechwriter, I encounter a scenario where Donald Trump instructs Don Jr to ‘hijack Air Force Two and suicidally steer the plane into Disneyland … Congress is still split on impeachment.’ As I read it for the first time shortly after Joe Biden’s inauguration—by that point just a month after the storming of the US Capitol by right-wing men dressed in fur and horned helmets, with debate ...
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