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Jo Case

Jo Case

Jo Case is senior writer/editor for the Wheeler Centre. Her previous roles have included editor of Readings Monthly, the newsletter for Readings Books & Music, books editor of The Big Issue, co-editor of their annual fiction edition, and associate editor of Kill Your Darlings. Her reviews, essays and opinion pieces have been published in The Age, The Australian, and The Sydney Morning Herald, and her short stories have been published in the Sleepers Almanac and Best Australian Stories. Her first book, Boomer and Me: A memoir of motherhood, and Asperger’s, was published by Hardie Grant in Australia (April 2013).

Jo Case reviews 'The Orphan Gunner' by Sara Knox

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
This marvellous first novel may be historical fiction, but its themes and concerns are by no means limited to the past. Sara Knox interweaves questions of gender and identity, sexuality, class and the overarching issue of morality in times of war. England during World War II proves the perfect setting for exploring these issues, and for the relationships at the heart of the novel. Olive and Evely ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'The Legacy' by Kirsten Tranter

February 2010, no. 318 07 October 2022
This highly ambitious first novel exists within a fine web of literary influences and allusions. The publisher invites comparisons to The Secret History, Donna Tartt’s novel set in a university Classics department. The novel’s narrator, Julia, a student enthralled by the glamorous, moneyed family of a classmate, echoes that of Brideshead Revisited. Self-conscious references to detective noir a ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Lemniscate' by Gaynor McGrath

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
Travellers’ tales have long starred curious misfits eager to sample different ways of life in faraway places. In On the Road (1957), Jack Kerouac writes of fleeing his cultured, sedentary New York milieu for the company of the insatiable ‘Dean Moriaty’, who, rather than analysing the world from the sidelines, ‘just raced in society, eager for bread and love’. Dharma Bums, published a yea ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Bluebird' by Malcolm Knox

October 2020, no. 425 24 September 2020
Malcolm Knox told Kill Your Darlings in 2012 that with The Life (2011), his celebrated surfing novel set on the Gold Coast, he wanted to write a historical novel about the Australian coastline and ‘that moment when one person could live right on the coast on our most treasured waterfront places, and then all of a sudden they couldn’t’. In Bluebird, set on a northern beach a ferry ride from ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Between a Wolf and a Dog' by Georgia Blain

May 2016, no. 381 26 April 2016
Between a Wolf and a Dog is Georgia Blain's eighth book: it follows five previous novels, an acclaimed short-story collection (The Secret Lives of Men, 2013) and Births, Deaths, Marriages (2008), a sublime memoir-in-essays. Blain has an affinity for domestic realism with a dark edge and an unstinting eye: she is fascinated by the faultlines in relationships and the turning points in individual liv ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Golden Boys' by Sonya Hartnett

September 2014, no. 364 01 September 2014
Sonya Hartnett writes for all ages, her work spanning children’s picture books to novels for young adults and adult readers. Her adult novels have been widely acclaimed; Of a Boy (2002) won the Age Book of the Year award and has been canonised as a Penguin Classic. In many ways, though, her pedigree as a much-awarded children’s writer has always characterised her career. Golden Boys belongs w ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'The Rosie Project' by Graeme Simsion

February 2013, no. 348 27 January 2013
In 2013, Asperger’s Syndrome will no longer officially exist – according to the updated Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the American psychiatric manual used as a diagnostic bible around the world. Ironically, just as it begins its slow fade from the cultural landscape, Asperger’s attracts its own romantic comedy. The Rosie Project joins Toni Jordan’s Addition in this ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Hand Me Down World' by Lloyd Jones

November 2010, no. 326 15 November 2011
Lloyd Jones’s Booker-shortlisted ‘breakthrough’ novel Mister Pip (2006) began life as a collection of random memories and myths written on a wall, designed to be actively pieced together by the reader. ‘I was trying to avoid narrative because, when you write it, sometimes it’s like a runaway bloody thing, it’s voracious,’ Jones told The Age’s Stephanie Bunbury in 2008. ‘The story ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'All That I Am' by Anna Funder

October 2011, no. 335 27 September 2011
The heroine of All That I Am reflects that an author’s published books ‘preserve the fossil imprint on the world of that particular soul at that particular time’. In her début novel – based on real characters and events – acclaimed non-fiction author Anna Funder (Stasiland, 2003) has preserved the imprint of a particular group of souls at a vitally important historical moment. A beautif ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'When Horse Became Saw: A Family’s Journey through Autism' by Anthony Macris

May 2011, no. 331 26 April 2011
In January this year the New York Times ran a controversial review article titled ‘The Problem with Memoirs’, in which staffer Neil Genzlinger praised ‘the lost art of shutting up’. He heaped scorn on ‘our current age of oversharing’ and on the accompanying glut of memoirs on every imaginable aspect of human experience. But he reserved particular scorn for what he identified as the lat ... (read more)
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