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ABR Arts

Book of the Week

The Asking: New and Selected Poems

The Asking: New and Selected Poems by Jane Hirshfield

Jane Hirshfield writes a poem on the first day of each year. ‘Counting, New Year’s Morning, What Powers Yet Remain to Me’ is one of the new poems in The Asking, along with poems selected from nine collections published since 1982. It begins with a question the world asks (‘as it asks daily’): ‘And what can you make, can you do, to change my deep-broken, fractured?

From the Archive

March 2010, no. 319

David Callahan reviews 'Brian Castro's Fiction' by Bernadette Brennan

Brian Castro has been leading his readers on an exhilarating chase since Birds of Passage in 1983, and his allusive, melancholy but sensual work leads Bernadette Brennan to being confidently: ‘Brian Castro is one of the most innovative and challenging novelists writing in English today.’ In her attempt to prove the justice of this assertion, Brennan is far too attuned to the richness of Castro’s work to try to establish any sort of total explanatory grid, and her book is less an attempt to tidy Castro up than a guide to some of the places where we might most profitably enjoy him.

One of the principal characteristics of Castro’s work, after all, is the ambition with which he calls out to his readers, inviting us to rise to the challenge and participate in the enjoyment of the dazzling multiplicity of issues, references, allusions, plays on words, and theoretical gambits that rub shoulders (and other parts) throughout his books.

From the Archive

May 2013, no. 351

Angela E. Andrewes reviews 'We Are Not The Same Anymore' by Chris Somerville

Finishing Chris Somerville’s début story collection, We Are Not the Same Anymore, I felt a sense of alienation and ennui. Somerville writes with a stylistic sparseness that is deceptively simple but that repays rereading. Passages of awkwardness and deep introspection are punctuated by moments of humour, warmth, and vulnerability. Embedded within this stark territory, these moments make the journey more enjoyable.


From the Archive

June 2009, no. 312

The Princess and the Packet of Frozen Peas by Tony Wilson and Sue deGennaro

Food is always a winning ingredient in books for children. Mini-chocoholics will devour I Like Chocolate (Wilkins Farago, $24.99 hb, 28 pp), a delicious book that celebrates the delights of chocolate consumption. Davide Cali has produced an enthusiastic and humorous book with gentle messages about sharing and caring, and eating in moderation. Shaped like a large block of chocolate, I Like Chocolate is ‘sugar-free, won’t melt in your pocket and contains no traces of nuts!’ It is almost as satisfying as a really good truffle.

The story features a young boy who details all the reasons why he likes chocolate, and some of the many ways in which it can be eaten. He also describes how it can be used as a comfort food in a range of situations and as a perfect gift for any occasion. Evelyn Daviddi uses a soft green, red, yellow and, of course, brown palette in her cartoon-style illustrations, which feature a wonderfully expressive cast of characters. This ode to chocolate is sure to entice anyone with a sweet tooth.