Reviews

 

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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I Insist

I Insist

Mindy Gill
Reviewed: Zadie Smith, Intimations, Penguin Zadie Smith: ‘My preoccupation when I was young was death. It remains death.’ Interviewer: ‘God, why?’ Zadie Smith: ‘People always say that as if it’s not the only thing that’s going to happen to you.’ —The Touré Show, February 2018 I called the bookshop to pre-order Intimations in May 2020 as one lockdown followed another, and the global death toll continued to rise. In the United States, another murder of ...
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Ageing and Friendship through the Power of the Chorus

Ageing and Friendship through the Power of the Chorus

Gabriella Munoz
Reviewed: Sigrid Nunez, What Are You Going Through, Virago I started reading Sigrid Nunez’s latest book, What Are You Going Through, two weeks after having spent five days in the neurology ward at Monash Hospital, sharing the room with two women in their fifties who had been diagnosed with cancer. One of them, a thin woman with short grey hair whose name I didn’t write down in my journal, had a spinal tumour removed and ...
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Mapping Grief

Mapping Grief

Raelee Lancaster
Reviewed: Thresholes, Lara Mimosa Montes, Coffee House Press ‘And, inside the curves, also love.’ —Lara Mimosa Montes, Thresholes ‘But what is grief, if not love persevering?’ —The Vision, WandaVision I know I wasn’t the only person to cry when the second quote above was spoken on the Marvel television show WandaVision. In the scene, another character, Wanda, is watching a sitcom after the death of her brother, Pietro. The Vision is sitting beside Wanda attempting ...
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One for the Indebted Class

One for the Indebted Class

Max Easton
Reviewed: Royce Kurmelovs, Just Money: Misadventures in the Great Australian Debt Trap, University of Queensland Press, 2020 When the Latin American nations of the 1820s became independent of Spanish rule, they did so largely financed by money borrowed from British bankers. In the same decade, Greece borrowed extensively from the banks of Britain, France and Russia, in part to finance its own struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire (which those banks also financed). The ...
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Domination and Submission

Domination and Submission

Dion Kagan
Reviewed: Adam Mars-Jones, Box Hill: A Story of Low Self-esteem, Scribe, 2020 Box Hill is one of those tricky books: it disarms you with the candour of its narrator and the apparent simplicity of his story, and then unsettles you the further you reflect on it. It’s mischievous in that way. Its recollection of a kinky coming-of-age that kicks off in 1975 at Box Hill, 30 kilometres south-west of London, is tender and elegiac. Colin, ...
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Pain Speaking

Pain Speaking

Andy Jackson
Reviewed: Kylie Maslen, Show Me Where It Hurts: Living with Invisible Illness, Text, 2020 One of the supreme, and indeed painful, ironies of pain is that it is so very hard to communicate, yet it always demands to be given voice. Not only as involuntary cry or anguished moan, but in visceral metaphor, as ‘knife’ or ‘burning’, or in memoir or narrative accounts that seek to ‘flesh out’ this terribly isolating state of being. These ...
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