Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy won the 2013 Pascall Prize for cultural criticism, and the 2017 Horne Prize for her essay ‘The Limit of the World’. A former Editor of ABR (1986–87), she is one of Australia’s most prolific and respected literary critics. Her publications include several anthologies, a critical study of Helen Garner, and her book Adelaide, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. In November 2012 she was named as the inaugural ABR Ian Potter Foundation Fellow. Her Fellowship article on reviewing, ‘Everyone’s a Critic’, appeared in the May 2013 issue of ABR.

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Elizabeth Costello: Eight lessons' by J.M. Coetzee

October 2003, no. 255 01 October 2003
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Elizabeth Costello: Eight lessons' by J.M. Coetzee
Something like a double helix of dialectical thinking winds its graceful way through these ‘eight lessons’. Ideas and theories about the nature of human (and other) life and how to live it, about the workings and the relative merits of logic, reason, belief, and faith, are sketched, rehearsed, debated, and set in opposition to each other throughout these eight episodes in the life of J.M. Coet ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Secret River' by Kate Grenville

August 2005, no. 273 01 August 2005
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Secret River' by Kate Grenville
Kate Grenville is a brave woman. For some years now, the representation of Aboriginal people by white writers has been hedged about by a thicket of post­colonial anxieties, profoundly problematic and important but too often manifested as hostile, holier-than-thou critique, indulging, at its most inept, in wilfully skewed readings of the fiction in order to fit the thesis. As if that were not e ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Year of The Beast' by Steven Carroll

March 2019, no. 409 22 February 2019
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Year of The Beast' by Steven Carroll
In his 2017 essay ‘Notes for a Novel’, illuminatingly added as a kind of afterword at the end of this book, Steven Carroll recalls a dream that he had twenty years ago. It was this dream, he says, that grew into a series of novels centred on the Melbourne suburb of Glenroy, a series of which this novel is the sixth and last. It was a vivid dream about my old street in Glenroy where I grew u ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Her Mother’s Daughter: A memoir' by Nadia Wheatley

September 2018, no. 404 23 August 2018
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Her Mother’s Daughter: A memoir' by Nadia Wheatley
When John Norman Wheatley met Nina Watkin in Germany in 1946, he would have regarded her as a lesser being on all fronts: woman to his man, forty to his forty-eight, Australian to his English, nurse to his doctor. They met as fellow employees of the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), working with wartime refugees from an assortment of European countries. In this heart ... (read more)

'The Oily Ratbag and the Recycled Waratah: Early Years of ABR' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

April 2003, no. 250 01 April 2003
This is issue no. 250, and the twenty-fifth consecutive year, of Australian Book Review. Issue No. 1 appeared in 1978, edited by John McLaren and published by the National Book Council. Since then the journal has survived and thrived, through changes of editor (though not very often) and of editorial policy (though not very much); through changes of appearance, ownership, sponsorship and affiliati ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Death of Noah Glass' by Gail Jones

April 2018, no. 400 23 March 2018
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Death of Noah Glass' by Gail Jones
Noah Glass is dead, his fully clothed body discovered floating face down in the swimming pool of his Sydney apartment block, early one morning. Born in Perth in 1946, father of two adult children, widower, Christian, art historian, and specialist in the painting of fifteenth-century artist Piero della Francesca, Noah has just returned from a trip to Palermo. There he celebrated his sixty-seventh b ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Atlantic Black' by A.S. Patrić

December 2017, no. 397 24 November 2017
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'Atlantic Black' by A.S. Patrić
Writing this review in the first week in November, I look at the calendar and note that we are a few days away from the seventy-ninth anniversary of Kristallnacht, when, over the two days of 9–10 November 1938, at the instigation of Joseph Goebbels, there was a nationwide pogrom against German Jews that saw synagogues, business premises, and private homes ransacked. At least ninety people were k ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness' by Arundhati Roy

June-July 2017, no. 392 25 May 2017
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness' by Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy’s first and only other novel was The God of Small Things (1997). It attracted an advance of half a million pounds; publishing rights were sold in twenty-one countries; and it won the 1997 Booker Prize, as it was then called. Since then it has sold six million copies and has been translated into forty languages. In the interval, Roy has been prolific in her non-fiction and fearless ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Refugees' by Viet Thanh Nguyen

April 2017, no. 390 30 March 2017
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Refugees' by Viet Thanh Nguyen
In the age of e-readers, this is a book to own in hard copy, because it is very beautiful: a hardback with a dust jacket in the pale frosted blue-green of a Monarch butterfly chrysalis, with a small bright parrot front and centre, wings outspread, reminding the reader that the word ‘refugee’ has its roots in the Latin word for ‘flight’. Professor Viet Thanh Nguyen teaches English and Amer ... (read more)

Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2016' edited by Charlotte Wood

January–February 2017, no. 388 19 December 2016
Kerryn Goldsworthy reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2016' edited by Charlotte Wood
If a collection of stories is put together on the basis that these are the ‘best Australian stories of 2016’, is it fair or reasonable to hope for some kind of cohesiveness or gestalt beyond those three explicit parameters of quality, place, and time? The answer will depend largely on what the editor’s ideas might be, not only about what makes a good short story, but also about the way to ma ... (read more)