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ABR Arts

Book of the Week


Thunderhead by Miranda Darling

A feminist triumph and homage to Virginia Woolf, Miranda Darling’s Thunderhead is a potent exploration of suburban entrapment for women. The novella opens with a complex satire of Ian McEwan’s response to Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (1925) in his novel Saturday (2005). All three books are set over the course of a single day, where the intricacies of both the quotidian and extraordinary occur. In this novella’s opening paragraphs, Darling’s protagonist, Winona Dalloway, wakes to see the sky ablaze through her window. While ‘it is dawn in the suburbs of the east’ – rather than a burning plane, evoking 9/11 terrorism, as in McEwan’s novel – she believes it ‘telegraphs a warning, red sky in the morning’. This refers to the opening of Mrs Dalloway, where Clarissa Dalloway feels, ‘standing there at the open window, that something awful was about to happen’.




From the Archive

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317

Warrior For Peace: Dorothy Auchterlonie Green by Willa McDonald

[I]magine that a dictator had decreed that all publications in the future must be signed ‘Anon’, on pain of imprisonment. This would clear the ground of all but the most dedicated and necessary authors, allow trees to breathe more freely, and diminish the carbon imbalance. It is worth thinking about.

From the Archive

March 2011, no. 329

The astonishing legacy of Sergei Diaghilev  

What is it about the Ballets Russes that resonates with so many people? Is it the magic of a redeemed art ordained in a marriage of artists, dancers, and composers overseen by a master celebrant – Sergei Diaghilev? Is it remembrance of a creative fire that burst onto the stage in 1909 and assured a strong future for ballet around the world? The answer is ‘yes’ to both, but I think that what attracts us most is nostalgia for a particular moment in time; the desire to have witnessed those famous performances in the early decades of the last century.

From the Archive

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307

Growing Up with Mr Menzies by John Jenkins

John Jenkins (especially in his collaborations with Ken Bolton) is normally thought of as an ‘experimental’ poet, but in Growing up with Mr Menzies he is on more traditional ground. Born in 1949 in Melbourne, Jenkins has created the fictional character Felix Hayes, who was also born in 1949 in Melbourne. In a series of poems, he traces Felix’s life from birth through to early adolescence. Rather neatly, this period of his life fits with the so-called ‘Menzies era’; Robert Menzies returned to power in 1949 and left it (voluntarily) in 1966. It is thus the parallel story of two characters, one large and looming, the other small but getting bigger.