UWA Publishing

White on White by Anne Elvey & The Sky Runs Right Through Us by Reneé Pettitt-Schipp

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January-February 2019, no. 408

Anne Elvey’s White on White and Reneé Pettitt-Schipp’s The Sky Runs Right Through Us both offer ideas of unsettlement in contemporary Australia; Elvey’s is the unsettlement brought by the arrival of colonists, whereas Pettitt-Schipp explores the unsettlement associated with ...

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In 1952, Marion May Campbell’s father was killed in an apocalyptic accident when his World War II RAAF Dakota was knocked out of control by contact with a waterspout and was ‘unable to effect recovery’. There were no survivors and little wreckage. The outmoded Dakota was on loan to the CSIRO to ...

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Dangerous Ideas about Mothers edited by Camilla Nelson and Rachel Robertson

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December 2018, no. 407

An essay at the heart of this collection, ‘Against Motherhood Memoirs’ by Maria Tumarkin, is not as insistent as its title suggests. Tumarkin, interested in ‘fissures and de-fusion’, troubles the awkward spots in her analysis. While reading Maggie Nelson’s The Argonauts (2015) – which places ‘motherhood and queerness side by side’ with ...

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Why does illness create such a marked need for story? Why do we want to read about other people’s illnesses and talk or write about our own? At the most basic level, it is surely because human beings always need stories. Indeed, neuroscientists believe that narrative consciousness is hard-wired into our brains ...

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A few months after the 2010 federal election, Geoff Gallop delivered the annual Hawke Lecture at the University of South Australia. In an address focused upon political engagement, he canvassed some possible reforms to the Australian political system. Among a number of other proposals ...

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The deeply troubled Francis Webb, a magician with language, is still one of the two or three most remarkable poets Australia has produced, if nation-states can be said to produce creative artists. His life proved dark and painful, wherever he was located, but he worshipped language, in parallel with his worship of the Christian trinity ... ... (read more)

Australia’s feisty first female High Court judge

John Bryson

 

From Moree to Mabo: The Mary Gaudron Story
by Pamela Burton
UWA Publishing, $49.95 pb, 511 pp, 9781742580982

 

H.V. Evatt, on the hustings during an election campaign, was asked by an eig ...

Palestine Betrayed by Efraim Karsh & Gaza edited by Raimond Gaita

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October 2010, no. 325

It is a great pity that Efraim Karsh could not have read Raimond Gaita’s new collection of essays before completing his own. The essays might have prompted him to reflect that the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is not nearly as straightforward as he would have us believe.

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Look Who’s Morphing by Tom Cho & Why She Loves Him by Wendy James

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June 2009, no. 312

Self-evidently, the short story demands precision. The term ‘short story’ more than likely brings to mind the magazine-length sprint or the rapidly delivered epiphany. John Updike was a master of this demanding form. In his Olinger and Tarbox tales, characters are assembled quickly and sent to their fate with little delay. Never cursory, this was writing performed under haiku-like restraint. In the short stories of Wendy James and Tom Cho, we are presented with similarly brief and precise tales of two different Australian landscapes: one as small as a kitchen, the other as capacious as an arena. Why She Loves Him is James’s first story collection after two well-received novels. For the most part, the stories are quiet and domestic affairs. Her characters are frequently repressed and restrained, filled with rage that is rarely given voice. If the short fiction of some novelists feels too constrained, James’s evocation of despair is perfectly suited to these short bursts.

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Susan Varga’s latest novel, Headlong, is set in Australia in the opening years of the twenty-first century, with the Tampa episode and detention camps as background. This setting reflects Varga’s own work with refugees and the Nazi camps of her family’s Hungarian past. Headlong relates the downward spiral that the previously indomitable Julia undergoes after the death of her husband. Her two children – the narrator, Kati, and her brother – try everything to restore their mother to physical and mental health, but Julia is adamant: life is hell. The fact that she escaped the Holocaust with her daughter and survived the horror of those years makes the story all the more poignant and distinct from similar stories of grief. Why has this loss defeated her, when she has met every other challenge in life? Has it unlocked the hidden pain of earlier years? This question, and Kati’s ensuing grief and sense of guilt, sustain the novel.

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