Reviews

 

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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A Porous Being

A Porous Being

Claire Cao
Reviewed: Susanna Clarke, Piranesi, Bloomsbury, 2020 It’s been 16 years since English novelist Susanna Clarke’s hit debut, the genre-busting doorstopper Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. Evoking the voices of Austen and Chesterton, Clarke constructed a Regency-era Britain simmering with prophecies, wizardly rivalries, terrible curses and faerie balls—transforming the fantastical into something mundane, textured, lived-in. But it isn’t Clarke’s meticulous world-building that has stayed with me. What lingers is her canny understanding of human nature: the ...
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You're Abundance

You’re Abundance

Darlene Silva Soberano
Reviewed: Yanyi, The Year of Blue Water, Yale University Press, 2019 Lately I have been considering the political and personal importance of the emotional record. The compulsion to remain unmoved in the face of cruelty, I think, is a danger that has emerged (or perhaps endured) during this year of unrelenting emergencies. Stoicism has become a habit that is prioritised and encouraged by the nation-state so that it may continue to commit acts of cruelty ...
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Suburban Aspirations in Pemulwuy

Suburban Aspirations in Pemulwuy

Timmah Ball
Reviewed: Peter Polites, The Pillars, Hachette, 2019 I'm re-reading The Pillars in a small box-like room in a high-density apartment block in Kensington (Bunurong Boon Wurrung and Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung lands of the Eastern Kulin Nations) while preparing a guest lecture for third-year architecture students. The apartments are structurally sound, but friends have occasionally commented that they resemble a prison, where long corridors eerily absent of residents look onto a large communal courtyard that is ...
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Fear Life

Fear Life

Amy Walters
Reviewed: Eva Holland, Nerve: A Personal Journey through the Science of Fear, Pantera Press In her 1992 book Science as Salvation, the late philosopher Mary Midgley wrote, ‘The idea that we can reach salvation through science is ancient and powerful.’1 Today medical science continues to be on the ascendant: the human genome has been mapped and the development of personalised medicine is genuinely possible. Amid the rise of pharmacological approaches to treating emotional distress and the ...
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