In Chris Womersley’s novel Cairo (2013), a middle-aged man looks back as his seventeen-year-old self is caught up in the notorious theft of Pablo Picasso’s Weeping Woman from the National Gallery of Victoria by a group of bohemian artists. The heist-Bildungsroman combination is energetic, and decades of distance give Tom Button’s narration a lush, nostalgic quality. His sifted memories of 19 ... (read more)
Jennifer Mills is an author, editor and critic living on Kaurna Yerta (Adelaide). Her novel Dyschronia was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, Aurealis, and Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature in 2019. Mills’s latest book is The Airways, a queer ghost story set in Sydney and Beijing, published in 2021 by Picador.
The latest in a new crop of outback gothic fiction, Josh Kemp’s début has everything readers have come to expect from the genre. There’s a messed-up bloke with a past. There’s a lost girl, ten years old and traumatised. There’s plenty of guilt and shame, damaged landscapes, haunted houses, injecting drug use, altered states, brutal acts of violence, and of course, there is the road. ... (read more)
March 2022, no. 440 • 21 February 2022
Australiana opens with a break-in. Lifting away a flyscreen, strangers climb into a man’s house, help themselves to his biscuits. The crime doesn’t feel important – it’s the fourth in a month, we’re told – but the intrusion does. It evokes the entanglements of small towns, the way in which lives intersect, physical proximity breaking down the barriers of class and culture and personal ... (read more)