Reviews

 

The Darkness That Lurks

The Darkness That Lurks

Maks Sipowicz
Reviewed: The Burnished Sun, Mirandi Riwoe, University of Queensland Press Mirandi Riwoe’s latest book, The Burnished Sun, is a forceful collection of stories about alienation, missing home, sacrifice, and striving for acceptance. It consists of twelve stories, including ‘The Fish Girl’, which won the Seizure Viva La Novella prize in 2017. Throughout this book Riwoe takes the reader into the emotional lives of her protagonists, and with her writing invites us to explore the darkness ...
Read More
Gurbet Çekmek: Being Diaspora Is a Wound

Gurbet Çekmek: Being Diaspora Is a Wound

May Ngo
 Reviewed: Root and Branch, Eda Gunaydin, NewSouth Publishing   The first thing that strikes me about Root and Branch, Eda Gunaydin’s debut collection of essays, is her eye: what she sees and how she sees, and the way this is conveyed through exuberant writing that is at turns funny, sarcastic and dark. It’s the details here that matter—such as the machete used to strip meat from the rotisserie in a kebab joint, or the way ...
Read More
Acts of Omission

Acts of Omission

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn, Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Bastian Fox Phelan’s debut, How to Be Between, is a striking millennial odyssey. Documenting their experience growing up in Wollongong, Newcastle, and Sydney, couch-surfing in Europe and backpacking in the US, Phelan weaves their personal narrative into an exploration of facial hair and its implications for a young genderfluid person ...
Read More
Angus Mooney is Dead

Angus Mooney is Dead

Scott Limbrick
Angus Mooney is dead. This isn’t a spoiler: this is page one of Steve Toltz’s latest novel, Here Goes Nothing. Angus, a wedding videographer with a checkered history, has been murdered, and is immediately thrust into a strange afterlife that isn’t heaven, hell, or even purgatory, while the man who killed him attempts to seduce his wife ...
Read More
New Sex-Work Literature

New Sex-Work Literature

Millie Baylis
Reviewed: Bella Green, Happy Endings, Pan Macmillan; Rita Therese, Come, Allen & Unwin, 272 pp. We’ve come a long way in the representation of sex work in Australian literature. In 2016 Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) programmed a panel comprising anti-sex-work campaigners to discuss the ‘devastating impact of prostitution’ without any actual sex workers present.Kate Iselin, ‘Sex workers are not invisible. We are just being ignored’, Sydney Morning Herald, 2016, <https://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/sex-workers-are-not-invisible-were-just-being-ignored-20160726-gqe52k.html>. And I remember—as a closeted ...
Read More
If We’re All the Same Bird, We’re Flying Forever

If We’re All the Same Bird, We’re Flying Forever

Hasib Hourani
Reviewed: Zeyn Joukhadar, The Thirty Names of Night, Atria Books, 320 pp. I have been desperate, recently, to find people just like me. Maybe it’s because we’ve been faced with incessant lockdown and I live alone. So I’m looking for people like me because I’m so used to looking in the mirror. I’m looking out the window as I write this, and a 60 km/h wind breathes into the cracks in my apartment. Where are ...
Read More
Letters From a Bratty Deity

Letters From a Bratty Deity

Thabani Tshuma
Reviewed: Akwaeke Emezi, Dear Senthuran, Penguin, 240 pp. I stood at the border, stood at the edge, and claimed it as central. —Toni Morrison Akwaeke Emezi echoes the words of Toni Morrison as an invocation, as a birthright, as a map for how to shape a world and rewrite yourself into it. Dear Senthuran is an unfurling, a declaration of being. Written as a series of letters to various acquaintances, lovers, friends and godly figures ...
Read More
The Right to Subjectivity

The Right to Subjectivity

Rosie Ofori Ward
Reviewed: Natasha Brown, Assembly, Hamish Hamilton, 112 pp. Assembly is twenty-four hours in the mind of a young Black British woman. To the untrained eye she has it all, but beneath the surface she is consumed by a rising dread that her constructed identity is becoming uninhabitable. Written in the first person, Natasha Brown’s debut book is a meditation on the ‘assembly’ of the self—how our lives and even our identities are influenced by our environment ...
Read More