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Patrick Allington

Patrick Allington

Patrick Allington's novels are Figurehead (Black Inc. 2009, longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award) and Rise & Shine (Scribe, shortlisted for the Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature). His short fiction, essays, and book criticism have appeared widely, including regularly in ABR. Patrick received the inaugural ABR Patrons’ Fellowship.

Patrick Allington reviews 'Houdini’s Flight' by Angelo Loukakis

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
During Harry Houdini’s 1910 visit, the famous escapologist claimed to be the first person to achieve powered, controlled flight in Australia. In Houdini’s Flight, Angelo Loukakis uses these bare details as the backdrop for a modern tale about a more modest achiever, Terry Voulos. A second-generation Greek-Australian, Terry confronts, almost in slow motion, a personal crisis that initially seem ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'A Better Place' by Stephen Daisley

September 2023, no. 457 25 August 2023
Early in Stephen Daisley’s novel about World War II and postwar years, A Better Place, a New Zealand soldier called Roy Mitchell tells a lieutenant they must do something terrible: ‘C’mon boss, we got no choice here.’ This sentiment of compulsion – and this acceptance of the unacceptable – is symptomatic of many of the circumstances Roy endures and of the way he fights, survives, and k ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'HEAT 22: The Persistent Rabbit' edited by Ivor Indyk

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
As with most issues of HEAT, The Persistent Rabbit is consistently excellent. Still, there are degrees of excellence. Compare the essay by Barry Hill with those by Chris Andrews and Stuart Cooke. Hill’s discussion of Ezra Pound’s Orientalism is proof (which these days we need) that scholarly rigour need not be obscure and, conversely, that accessibility doesn’t equal dumbing down. Plus, Hill ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'Sunday Menu: Selected Short Stories of Pham Thi Hoai' by Pham Thi Hoai

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Pham Thi Hoai, now a resident of Berlin, writes about her Vietnamese homeland with a sardonic yet affectionate eye. While not overtly political, these short stories explore every-day life in a restricted society that is opening slowly and selectively. Sunday Menu is full of observations that, without preaching, flag the complexities of modern, modernising Vietnam. For example, regarding a group of ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews ‘The Sun Walks Down’ by Fiona McFarlane

December 2022, no. 449 25 October 2022
Early in The Sun Walks Down, Mary Wallace – mother to six-year-old Denny, who has gone missing in a dust storm – throws her husband a ‘general look of bafflement at having found herself here, in this place, with these people’. It’s a symptomatic moment early in a novel that contains myriad displays of perplexity by various characters – at each other, at situations they create or must n ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'Boyer Lectures: A very Australian conversation' by Peter Cosgrove

March 2010, no. 319 01 March 2010
Each year, the board of the Australian Broadcasting Commission invites a prominent Australian to present the Boyer Lectures. The chosen expert offers his or her (mostly his) ‘ideas on major social, scientific or cultural issues’ to a radio audience and, a little later, to readers.             Unsurprisingly, a review of the Boyers’ fif ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight' by Steven Carroll

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
Early in Steven Carroll’s novel Goodnight, Vivienne, Goodnight, a middle-aged woman contemplates her own existence: ‘Vivienne, Vivie. Viv. Now distant, now near. Who was she? The Vivienne now sitting in the gardens of Northumberland House, Finsbury Park, is contemplating the question.’ This Viv is Vivienne Haigh-Wood, the first wife of T.S. Eliot – or Carroll’s fictional rendition of her ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'Westerly, Vol. 54, No. 2' edited by Sally Morgan and Blaze Kwaymullina

February 2010, no. 318 01 February 2010
After a decade as an annual, the enduring Western Australian journal, Westerly, will now publish a ‘traditional’ issue midyear and a ‘creative’ issue later in the year. This début ‘creative’ issue includes Indigenous writing and art (mostly the former). Guest editors Sally Morgan and Blaze Kwaymullina have produced a collection that is entertaining, informative and diverse. ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'In Conversation: Encounters with 39 great writers' by Ben Naparstek

February 2010, no. 318 01 February 2010
‘My problem is that because of my anxiety disorder, publicity is close to torture,’ Austrian novelist Elfriede Jelinek tells Ben Naparstek, explaining why she informed a newspaper in 2004 that she hoped she wouldn’t be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature (she was). With or without anxiety disorders, writers face a conundrum. They communicate through the written word, but increasingly they ... (read more)

Patrick Allington reviews 'Exit Right: The unravelling of John Howard' by Judith Brett and 'Poll Dancing: The story of the 2007 election' by Mungo MacCallum

February 2008, no. 298 01 February 2008
Since the November federal election, kicking John Howard while he’s down has become something of a national pastime. While Howard’s take no-prisoners-except-on-Nauru behaviour has now exposed him to gleeful mass taunting, the idea that the end of his resilient political career has instantly created a noble Australia, its citizens and institutions cleansed and renew ed, is wishful thinking. In ... (read more)
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