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John Hanrahan

John Hanrahan was a freelance writer and critic.

'Abbreviations' by John Hanrahan

May 1985, no. 70 01 May 1985
A tense moment in this household is when two of my children produce books to be read. Mercifully, the Mr Men and the more excruciating of the Golden books have been mysteriously mislaid; and we have gone beyond whiffy Miffy. It is a delight to return to Aranea and John Brown and the Midnight Cat, by Jenny Wagner and Ron Brooks; to look again at Possum Magic by Mem Fox and Julie Vivas. And a b ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Speaking' by Janine Burke

August 1986, no. 83 01 August 1986
I met Janine Burke once. I had just finished a pleasant meal upstairs in Caffe Sport in Lygon Street, Carlton. Walking out, I saw a friend at another table. She introduced me to Janine Burke. To use a chosen word of the central character of Speaking, I felt a dill. How do you sound sincere when you say ‘I thought your novel was absolutely terrific’, when the novel has been sitting quietly arou ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Teacher Learning' edited by Gwyneth Dow, 'Melbourne Studies in Education 1982' edited by Stephen Murray-Smith and 'Melbourne Studies in Education 1983' edited by Imelda Palmer

October 1983, no. 55 01 October 1983
Gwyneth Dow has edited a collection of essays that forms a relevant and coherent whole. The authors seek to salvage what they see as ‘the good things’ in education reform of the late sixties and early seventies, reform that had weaknesses which were the result of ‘faulty thinking, poor social analysis, romantic psychological theories, slip-shod pedagogy’. The contributors to this book are ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by John Hanrahan

May 1986, no. 80 08 August 2022
For part of my life I lived for many years in a monastery. Singing, particularly of plain chant, was important, and the monastery was divided, with a monastic, unworldly sense of the implication of its metaphors, into ‘the choir’ and ‘the scrubbers’. I excelled. Whatever vocation I had, it certainly included being an eternal scrubber. For many years I spent fifteen minutes a day with a pat ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'A Place in the City' by Edmund Campion

November 1994, no. 166 01 November 1994
The ‘place in the city’ of Fr Edmund Campion’s latest pilgrimage into Australian Catholic life and history is St Mary’s cathedral, Sydney. Campion spent six years here as a young-priest working in the shadow of both the cathedral and the august Normal Cardinal Gilroy. Campion sets himself to become the Victor Hugo of Australia’s Notre Dame and he keeps returning to the cathedral as a fo ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'A.D. Hope' by Kevin Hart, 'James McAuley' by Lyn McCredden, 'Peter Porter' by Peter Steele, 'Reconnoitres' edited by Margaret Harris & Elizabeth Webby, 'Annals of Australian Literature' edited by Joy Hooton & Harry Heseltine

December 1992, no. 147 01 December 1992
Oxford University Press has begun a welcome series called Australian Writers. Two further titles, Imre Salusinszky on Gerald Murnane and Ivor Indyk on David Malouf, will appear in March 1993, and eleven more books are in preparation. Though I find the first three uneven in quality, they make a very promising start to a series. In some ways they resemble Oliver and Boyd’s excellent series, Writer ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Broken Dreams' by Bill Dodd

September 1992, no. 144 01 September 1992
In 1983, Bill Dodd was nearly eighteen when he dived into a river and nearly lost his life. Dodd warns against diving carelessly into waterholes: ‘It can give you a lot of unnecessary hassles, take it from me.’ This laconic understatement is characteristic of Dodd’s account of his life. He is now a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair for life. Yet, without straining credibility, Dodd manag ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'The Best of Max Harris: 21 years of browsing' by Max Harris

February–March 1986, no. 78 01 February 1986
Max Harris must be an important cultural figure. Max Harris keeps saying he is. He also notes that Rupert Murdoch thinks he is. Now Harris has published just over two hundred pages of ‘The Best of Max Harris’, subtitled ‘21 Years of Browsing’, thirty six pieces from the Australian. I pass over in almost-silence the implication that Max is only at his best when writing for Rupert. And maybe ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Moments of Pleasure' by Julian Davies

October 1994, no. 165 01 October 1994
Beatrice Wood, banished by those around her to ‘the category of the aged’, is both the focus and the strength of Julian Davies’s third novel, Moments of Pleasure. Choosing to live her life as a single woman, she has been the unforgiven Magdalene of her family because for fifty years she has been the lover of Mark, a man twice married. A dapper moustache of a man, Mark drifts in and out of bo ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Lily on the Dustbin: Slang of Australian women and families' by Nancy Keesing

December 1982–January 1983, no. 47 01 December 1982
Do you know the meaning of (or do you use?) ‘white leghorn day’, ‘five finger discount’, ‘beating the gun with an APC’? When a woman ‘chucks a bridge’ what is she doing? Have you come across ‘scarce as rocking-horse shit’, or ‘easy as pee-the-bed-awake’ or ‘tight as a fish’s bum and that’s watertight’ or ‘The streets are full of sailors and not a whore in the hous ... (read more)
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