Reviews

 

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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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, ...
Read More
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? ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More
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 ...
Read More