Jay Daniel Thompson
The key theme of HEAT 19 is death. In 224 pages, a collection of Australian writers and academics pay homage to the departed in a range of essays, poems and short stories. The journal opens with Judith Beveridge’s moving and personal tribute to the poet Dorothy Porter. According to Beveridge, ‘Dot’ (as she was known to her friends) was a ‘consummate professional and her public performances were unfailingly polished’. However, Porter ‘also had a very fragile side, vulnerable to the pain of exclusion and rejection’. The title of Beveridge’s piece is ‘Trapper’s Way’, which is the name for a strip of land in the New South Wales suburb of Avalon where Beveridge once lived with Porter.... (read more)
Madam Lash is a biography of Australia’s most famous dominatrix. Author Sam Everingham provides an engaging insight into the life of the woman who helped bring sadomasochism to mainstream attention in this country.... (read more)
IBy the Balls opens in the 1950s, when young Laszlo Urge and his family were forced to leave Stalinist Hungary and head to Australia. Laszlo was shocked to find his new country to be a ‘dry and colourless’ place where soccer (which he refers to as ‘football’) was unpopular. However, this situation was to change. In the following decades, Laszlo became ‘Les Murray’, a popular television sports commentator who has publicly championed his favourite game.... (read more)
Connor is a thirty-something Australian who bides his time grifting in India. His targets are Western female tourists, whom he describes as ‘talent’, and whom he seduces and fleeces. Connor seems to be escaping something, most likely the upbringing in which his masculinity and personal safety were constantly called into question.... (read more)
Cub lives next door to the yellow house. The girl also lives in the shadow of her grandfather, Les, who once owned that property, and who died years ago, after doing ‘ugly things’ to women. Indeed, Les’s crimes seem to cast a pall over Cub’s entire family. This is a family where warmth ...... (read more)
Bani Adam wants to be a ‘chivalrous poet’ or a great writer. These aspirations make the Lebanese-Australian teenager feel like an outsider at the testosterone-fuelled, anti-intellectual high school that he attends. Until he finishes school, Bani bides his time with a group of mostly Muslim and Lebanese young men. ‘The Lebs’ ...... (read more)
Dancing Home opens in forthright fashion. The author, Paul Collis, urges readers to ‘[t]ake sides. Be involved in the ideas I’ve written into this book.’ The novel offers an uncompromising examination of some of the injustices faced by Indigenous Australians. The plot focuses on three men – Blackie, Rips, and Carlos – who have embarked on a ...... (read more)
The tagline of Wimmera is ‘Small town. Big secret’. Mark Brandi’s first novel does indeed feature a secret (and a grim one, at that), but it also offers a disturbing insight into Australian masculinity. The book opens in the country circa 1989. Ben and Fab are primary school students who, both misfits, while away the hours catching ...... (read more)
Jay Daniel Thompson reviews 'William Yang: Stories of love and death' by Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer
William Yang is one of Australia's best-known and most prolific photographers. In William Yang: Stories of love and death, Helena Grehan and Edward Scheer interrogate the political and aesthetic themes running through this artist's output....
Emily Maguire's An Isolated Incident explores the media's fascination with beautiful, murdered women. The novel also interrogates the experiences of those who find themselves involved in murder cases.
The novel is set in Strathdee, a fictitious rural Australian town. This 'lovely little' hamlet has been unsettled by the slaying of Bella Michaels, a ...