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Susan Lever

Susan Lever

Susan Lever is the author of David Foster: The Satirist of Australia (Cambria Press, 2008) and general editor of Cambria Press’s Australian Literature Series. Her most recent book is Creating Australian Television Drama: A screenwriting history (2020).

Susan Lever reviews 'Merciless Gods' by Christos Tsiolkas

January-February 2015, no. 368 01 January 2015
Christos Tsiolkas has established himself as a fiction writer to be reckoned with, especially since the publication of the explosive Dead Europe (2005) and the bestselling The Slap (2008). His latest novel, Barracuda (2013), marked a return to the adolescent anger and simpler naturalism of his early work. So his new volume of stories, Merciless Gods, may offer some help in understanding the trajec ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Warning: The story of Cyclone Tracy' by Sophie Cunningham

August 2014, no. 363 01 August 2014
Forty years ago next Christmas, a cyclone devastated Australia’s northernmost city, Darwin. It is a disaster still clear in the living memory of most Australians over fifty, but it also belongs to the past, the time before we had become aware of climate change. At the time, it was the kind of natural disaster to be expected in summer in the Top End, even if its festive timing appeared ominous in ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Always Almost Modern: Australian print cultures and modernity' by David Carter

May 2014, no. 361 30 April 2014
Australia was colonised in the period of modernity, with the Industrial Revolution driving much of its development and a belief in improving technology and political progress underlying its public institutions. The society may have been modern but its culture, in particular its art and literature, has borne the recurrent charge of backwardness. The centres of innovation in twentieth-century art ha ... (read more)

Distinctive voices

March 2014, no. 359 26 February 2014
In his introduction to this selection of prose engagements with the world, Robert Manne tells us he was looking for the ‘presence of a distinctive voice’ as a sign of what he calls a good essay. Some of these pieces are conventional essays, but others are memoirs, newspaper columns, sketches, ‘true’ stories – there’s even a speech and an article from Manne’s own Festschrift. Never mi ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Telling Stories: Australian life and literature 1935-2012', edited by Tanya Dalziell and Paul Genoni

November 2013, no. 356 31 October 2013
Telling Stories is a great brick of a book full of diverting bits and pieces about Australian culture over the past seventy-seven years. It is hugely entertaining – a sort of QIin book form, with seventy-nine authors offering their brief observations on aspects of Australian cultural life. No one will read it cover to cover: it’s the sort of book you can leave about the house for anyone to pic ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Antipodes, Vol. 27, No. 1', edited by Mark Klemens

October 2013, no. 355 30 September 2013
No matter what the state of local publishing of Australian literature and criticism, twice a year the loyal members of AAALS continue to produce the readable and enlightening Antipodes. The June 2013 issue includes some splendid poetry by Tom Shapcott, Jan Owen, and Ali Alizadeh, and several less well-known names, and a mix of stories that move beyond fiction in Jeremy Fisher’s memoir of his fat ... (read more)

Susan Lever reviews 'Man of Letters: Dog Rock 3' by David Foster

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 28 November 2012
David Foster’s earlier Dog Rock novels came out of his experience as a Bundanoon postman in the 1980s. A recent brief return to his old run has provided irresistible material for a further comic foray into rural life. Dog Rock: A Postal Pastoral (1985) and The Pale Blue Crochet Coathanger Cover (1988)observed the changes in a country village under the rather flimsy cover of murder mysteries, but ... (read more)
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