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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

June 1988, no. 101

Sol Encel reviews 'The Jews of Paris and the Final Solution' by Jacques Adler

In the twentieth century, the Jewish experience has been dominated by two extraordinary (and related) events: the Nazi holocaust and the establishment of a Jewish state in Israel. It is natural that they should be reflected in Jewish historiography, and especially in the large number of books, articles, and theses concerned with the impact of the Holocaust on Jewish communities around the world. In Europe, especially, where almost every national Jewish community was destroyed, historians (many of them survivors of the events they describe) have been struggling to come to terms with the way these things happened.

From the Archive

July–August 2007, no. 293

Griffith Review 16 edited by Julianne Schultz & HEAT 13 edited by Ivor Indyk

On the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 referendum, the Weekend Australian editorial devoted considerable time to savaging the dominant 1970s model of indigenous development, most closely associated with Nugget Coombs: a ‘neo-pastoralist dream [that was] philosophically flawed, a fatal fusion of romanticism and Marxism’. Helen Hughes, in an excerpt from Lands of Shame in the same newspaper, echoes the sentiment, labelling the re-creation of remote communities ‘reverse racism’. Hughes writes: ‘a few courageous leaders are demanding an end to welfare dependence, but their voices are drowned out by articulate élites.’ Enter Noel Pearson, whom the paper’s editorial applauds, along with John Howard. The Australian also published an edited version of the fifty-page article ‘White Guilt, Victimhood and the Quest for a Radical Centre’ that appears in Griffith Review 16.   ‘White Guilt’ puts flesh on Pearson’s well-known objection to welfare and his emphasis on individual indigenous ‘responsibility’. He looks to early black-American models of liberation, including those of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois, for inspiration. It will surprise no one to learn that Pearson favours Washington’s approach, in which ‘blacks should secure their constitutional rights through their own moral and economic advancement’, over Du Bois’s call for ‘ceaseless agitation’. Pearson firmly believes that public policy should encourage the most disadvantaged people in society to change the way they think about themselves, rather than the way the majority thinks about them. While acknowledging that racism originates at a systemic level, Pearson argues that it is a ‘terrible thing to encourage victims … to see themselves as victims’. The consciousness of Bill Cosby, he suggests, would be a good role model. Pearson draws extensively on the black American Shelby Steele, who argues that white guilt, in the form of affirmative action, for example, erodes black agency by making blacks feel helpless: ‘agency’, Steele believes, ‘is what makes us fully human.’

From the Archive

June 1986, no. 81

Chateau Tahbilk: Story of a vineyard 1860–1985 by Enid Moodie Heddle and Frank Doherty

This is a book in two parts, the first written by historian Enid Moodie Heddie and published by Cheshire in 1960, and the second part written by well-known Melbourne writer on wine Frank Doherty, the two sections being joined for publication as one volume in l985.