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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

Paradise Estate

Paradise Estate by Max Easton

Max Easton’s second novel begins in early 2022 when an ensemble of thirty-somethings loosely connected through mutual friends and subcultural scenes decide to lease a four-bedroom share house. The house in Sydney has its flaws. Mould colonies grow on ceilings and walls in a ‘rich spectrum’, aided by a series of La Niña weather events. Situated just off a main road and surrounded by high-rise apartment buildings, the property offers little in the way of privacy. The fascia gutters are blocked by champagne corks popped from the apartment balconies above.




From the Archive

June 2012, no. 342

and then when the by Dan Disney

Dan Disney’s début collection, and then when the, is a slim volume infused with irreverent outings in philosophy and place. Just as the opening poem places its speaker in a philosophy class, philosophers offer constant points of reference. Disney reformulates such well-worn dicta as Descartes’s cogito ergo sum with verve, as in the poem ‘Towards a unifying theory of non-coincidence’, in which he writes, ‘the dead / (who tick not) / murmured “we do not think; therefore we are not”’.

From the Archive

June–July 2014, no. 362

The Bloomsbury cookbook: Recipes for life, love and art by Jans Ondaatje Rolls

In the first volume of Virginia Woolf’s diary (1915–19), an entry in June 1919 mentions England’s possibly ruined strawberry crop. ‘This is a serious matter for us as we have just bought 60 lbs. of sugar, & had arranged a great jam making. Strawberries are 2/ a lb. at this moment. Asparagus 6d & 7d, & yesterday at Ray’s I ate my first green peas.’

I have always wondered who made the jam. In 1916 Nellie Boxall began cooking in the Woolf household and stayed there for eighteen fraught years (Alison’s Light’s book Mrs Woolf and the Servants [2009] is illuminating). Woolf’s diary entry does not make it clear whether the ‘great jam making’ was undertaken by the servants alone or whether she put down her pen to help.

From the Archive

April 2010, no 320

Changing Stations: The story of Australian commercial radio by Bridget Griffen-Foley

Having cut my narrative teeth on Dad and Dave and Martin’s Corner (and my critical molars on the Listener-In), I had high expectations of this book. Night after childhood night, I would wait agog for Wrigley’s Chewing Gum and a burst of rowdy music to usher in the outback doings of Dad and his hayseed family. Martin’s Corner, on the other hand, was brought to our living room by Kellogg’s Corn Flakes, which, we were assured, would ‘provide the essential bulk or roughage your system needs to keep it functioning healthily and regularly’. I didn’t know what this meant, but, such was the persuasive power of commercial radio, I believed it. Just as I believed from Sunday-night listening to the Lux Radio Theatre that ‘nine out of ten Hollywood stars used Lux for their daily active lather facials’, though I did wonder about the arid pores of that misguided ‘tenth’ star. The ABC was there for the news, but it was 3LK for entertainment, including such taxing intellectual games as Quiz Kids and Bob Dyer’s Pick-a-Box.