Robin Gerster

Vietnam, of all the foreign conflicts in which Australians have been involved, most outgrew and out lived its military dimension. The ghosts of what Christopher J. Koch in this new novel calls ‘that long and bitter saga’ continue to haunt the lives (and the politics) of the generations of men and women who lived through it ...

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Though he had already produced two volumes of poetry, Roger McDonald first came to popular attention with his spectacular début novel, 1915, published in 1979. A recreation of the Gallipoli Campaign from the points of view of two ...

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Robin Gerster reviews 'Past the Headlands' by Garry Disher

Robin Gerster
Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Contemporary Australian fiction continues to lean on the national past. Perhaps that’s a comment on the present, or the future, for that matter. It seems to be not so much a matter of the past being experientially ‘another country’, but a more engaging version of the literal one ...

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Robin Gerster reviews The War Artist by Simon Cleary

Robin Gerster
Monday, 25 March 2019

It’s virtually axiomatic: ‘war can fuck you up’. This pithy observation, made by a veteran in The War Artist, Simon Cleary’s new novel about the travails of an Australian soldier during and after a tour of Afghanistan, goes to the heart of what we now understand about the impact of battle and its psychological aftershocks ...

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Robin Gerster reviews 'On War and Writing' by Samuel Hynes

Robin Gerster
Wednesday, 26 September 2018

'Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier.’ Samuel Johnson’s aphorism was commended to me many years ago by Peter Ryan, then the long-serving publisher at Melbourne University Press. The author of a superb personal account of his war experience ...

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‘Vietnam Vietnam Vietnam, we’ve all been there.’ The American reporter Michael Herr thus concluded his celebrated work Dispatches (1977), confident that his readers understood what he meant, even if most of them had never set foot in the country. The very word possessed an almost incantatory power. In the United States, as in Australia, opposition to ...

You have to admire the professional writer who describes the chore of churning out the daily ration of words as 'like straining shit through a sock', ...

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