Reviews

 

Staying on the Grind

Staying on the Grind

Claire Cao
Reviewed: An Exciting and Vivid Inner Life, Paul Dalla Rosa, Allen & Unwin   Gloriously deadpan and effortlessly incisive, Paul Dalla Rosa’s debut short story collection An Exciting and Vivid Inner Life is a pitch-dark look at the alienation of modern life. The characters in the ten stories are predominantly young artists, their hunger for creativity and meaning curtailed by economic precarity: they work at shadowy corporations and dive bars, as dishwashers, cam boys and ...
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Workers of the World, Unite!

Workers of the World, Unite!

May Ngo
Reviewed: Our Members Be Unlimited, Sam Wallman, Scribe On 1st April 2022, a ground-breaking election victory occurred in the United States: Amazon’s first-ever union was created since its 28-year history in the country, despite the millions spent by the company trying to sway the vote. Fittingly, comics-journalist, cartoonist and union organiser Sam Wallman has also just published Our Members Be Unlimited, a comic book documenting his year-long experience of working in an Amazon warehouse in ...
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Sparks Into Flames

Sparks Into Flames

Ellen O'Brien
Reviewed: Unlimited Futures, Rafeif Ismail and Ellen van Neervan (eds.), Fremantle Press in partnership with Djed Press   Unlimited Futures, an anthology of ‘speculative, visionary Blak and Black fiction’, is what Laniyuk imagines in her story ‘Guyuggwa’: ‘[a] spark, centuries in the making’. It sits alongside Bla(c)k literary compilations like Fire Front, The Strength Of Us As Women, and Growing Up African in Australia. There are also its contemporaries in genre fiction, most notably the ...
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Who Hurt You?

Who Hurt You?

S.L. Lim
Reviewed: The Eulogy, Jackie Bailey, Hardie Grant The premise—or promise—of The Eulogy, Jackie Bailey’s sincere, smartly constructed autofiction novel, is that if you knew who did the awful thing you might find healing. The familial transgressions recounted here are many: the rage of parents against children, of carers against the disabled, of a mother engaged in a sick war against her husband, kids and self. These take place against the backdrop of another transgression—the colonisation ...
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A Personal Exercise

A Personal Exercise

Imogen Dewey
 Reviewed: Sunbathing, Isobel Beech, Allen & Unwin Why make something ‘a novel’, as Sunbathing marks itself on the cover? In Isobel Beech’s debut, the prerogative for fiction’s sheltering veneer is hers, and clear enough, as she transmutes her own skin-strippingly personal story into something else. Her novel sees a woman leave Melbourne in the aftermath of her father’s suicide to spend two months in the safe orbit of friends in the Italian countryside, where she ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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