Reviews

 

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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Eat Sleep Rave Repeat

Eat Sleep Rave Repeat

Maks Sipowicz
Reviewed: Rainald Goetz, Rave, trans. Adrian Nathan West, Fitzcarraldo Editions The music is felt more than heard from outside the club. You’re with Rainald, our protagonist. He is also Goetz, the writer, or maybe it is more accurate to say Rainald will become Goetz the writer as Rave goes on. It doesn’t matter too much; he’ll tell you about it later. As the novel opens, you follow Rainald into the club; he greets the bouncer, the cloak ...
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Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey

Mira Schlosberg
Reviewed: Melissa Broder, Milk Fed, Scribner Melissa Broder’s Milk Fed is so sexy it brought tears to my eyes. Combining Jewish mysticism with girl-on-girl smut, it offers everything I look for in a novel. The cover, a delicious beeswax yellow, gives the impression that Scribner’s marketing team hopes to use colour psychology to attract readers. At the centre of all this pleasant yellow floats a huge, disembodied, hot-pink nipple, its concentric circles calling out like ...
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Rupturing Colonial Kitsch, Untangling Myth

Rupturing Colonial Kitsch, Untangling Myth

Melody Paloma
At first glance the dropbear might be interpreted as innocent fun: a mythical species dreamt up by settlers said to prey on unsuspecting tourists, it is posited as the cute punchline in a national prank. For many, the dropbear is not a particularly violent figure. That is, not when placed in comparison with the material consequences of colonisation: dispossession and expropriation of Indigenous people and their land, the destruction of sacred sites, the removal of ...
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A Double-Edged Paradox

A Double-Edged Paradox

Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen
Reviewed: Gerii Pleitez, On the Sunday, She Created God, Kara Sevda Press 'Often I worried it wasn’t meaty enough, or long enough. I told myself it’s not about the size of the word count, it’s how you use it.’ So muses Wren, the narrator of Gerii Pleitez’s novella On the Sunday, She Created God, about the manuscript she is lugging around. It’s an apt note to ponder for the book itself: at 99 pages, it’s a ...
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Do Cephalopods Dream of the Anthropocene?

Do Cephalopods Dream of the Anthropocene?

Zowie Douglas-Kinghorn
Reviewed: Erin Hortle, The Octopus and I, Allen & Unwin Tucked in the bay of Teralina/Eaglehawk Neck is a checkerboard of rock carved from the land by the tide’s ebb and flow. The sea chemistry is eroding the stone bed and inscribing a mosaic of polygonal shapes that look almost man-made, as time falls away against the elements, slowly dissolving into the ocean. The Octopus and I, a debut novel by Tasmanian writer Erin Hortle, ...
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Innocence

Innocence

Stephen Pham
Reviewed: Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories, Farrar, Straus & Giroux Phuong had seen the film [Gone with the Wind] on a pirated videotape, and was seduced immediately by the glamour, beauty, and sadness of Scarlett O’Hara, heroine and embodiment of a doomed South. Was it too much to suppose that the ruined Confederacy, with its tragic sense of itself, bore more than a passing similarity to her father’s defeated southern Republic and its resentful remnants? ...
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