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Josephine Taylor

Josephine Taylor is Associate Editor at Westerly magazine and an Adjunct Senior Fellow in writing at Edith Cowan University. Her début novel, Eye of a Rook, will be published by Fremantle Press in February 2021.

Josephine Taylor reviews 'Life After Truth' by Ceridwen Dovey

January–February 2021, no. 428 16 December 2020
Since the publication of her acclaimed first novel, Blood Kin (2007), Ceridwen Dovey has established herself as an intelligent author who typically probes what it means, and might mean in the future, to be human. Equally au fait with literary analysis, politics, and science, Dovey has since 2007 published several more books of fiction, two non-fiction books, and numerous essays, contributing regul ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'Murmurations' by Carol Lefevre

August 2020, no. 423 24 July 2020
Carol Lefevre has shown herself adept at exploring connection and alienation in different genres. In The Happiness Glass (2018), the ambiguous zone between fiction and memoir forms a creative space within which Lefevre plumbs the intricacies of motherhood and loss; home and exile. Murmurations is imbued with similar tropes, the slight heft of the book belying its ethical density and the scope of i ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Lucky Galah' by Tracy Sorensen

May 2018, no. 401 26 April 2018
In 1969, in a quintessentially Australian town on the remote north-west coast, the locals prepare to celebrate their role in the moon landing. In 2000, as the townsfolk brace themselves for a cyclone, Lucky, this novel’s pink and grey narrator, uses transmissions from a satellite dish tuned to galah frequency to make sense of what she saw and heard from her cage in the 1960s. Quirky? Unbelievabl ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Gulf' by Anna Spargo-Ryan

September 2017, no. 394 25 August 2017
Shortly after her son, Luke, was murdered by his father, Rosie Batty spoke of the non-discriminatory nature of family violence: ‘No matter how nice your house is, how intelligent you are. It can happen to anyone, and everyone.’ If Batty’s is an example of the less easily imagined site of domestic violence, Anna Spargo-Ryan’s second novel, The Gulf, presents us with a more conventional alte ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'Where the Light Falls' by Gretchen Shirm

January–February 2017, no. 388 20 December 2016
In the midst of preparing for an important London exhibition, photographer Andrew is drawn back to Australia by the sudden disappearance of his former girlfriend, Kirsten. His compulsion to resolve this troubled relationship evolves into a desire to account for an earlier loss. As Andrew grapples with his ambivalence about a new photographic subject, and his ability to sustain the ‘small, bright ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'Our Tiny, Useless Hearts' by Toni Jordan

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
It is the morning after a husband's affair has been discovered, and the house is in chaos: the opening to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina (1877) is deliberately evoked in Toni Jordan's novel Our Tiny, Useless Hearts. Now, three couples – Caroline and Henry, Lesley and Craig, and Janice and Alec – and the marital interloper, Martha, must redefine love under new circumstances. As marriages break up and ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Bauhinia Tree' by Kankawa Nagarra Olive Knight

March 2016, no. 379 26 February 2016
Kankawa Nagarra Olive Knight is a leader in the Wangkatjungka community, south-east of Fitzroy Crossing in the Kimberley. For The Bauhinia Tree, her eventful seventy-year life story was recorded by Terri-ann White, then 'transcribed and refined' by White and Kankawa Knight. While the material has been edited to remove hesitations and interventions, the oral quality has been retained. The conversat ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Best Australian Stories 2015' edited by Amanda Lohrey

January-February 2016, no. 378 18 December 2015
In Jo Case's 'Something Wild', young single mother Kristen is tempted to rediscover 'the thrill of doing what she feels like, just to see what happens'. She could be speaking for characters in many of the pieces in The Best Australian Stories 2015, a collection that features people on the verge of transgression. As Amanda Lohrey writes in her introduction, itself a compact work of art, the stories ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'The Hands' by Stephen Orr

December 2015, no. 377 27 November 2015
The Wilkie family has farmed cattle at the edge of the desert for 130 years. When catastrophe strikes, three generations of men must wrestle with secrets from the past and the present. The decision whether or not to continue on a failing station becomes critical; definitive action no less testing. The subtitle juxtaposes elegy and irony: though some characters retain a nostalgic attachment to Bun ... (read more)

Josephine Taylor reviews 'Westerly 60.1' edited by Lucy Dougan and Paul Clifford

October 2015, no. 375 30 September 2015
Issue 59.2 marked Westerly’s sixtieth year of publication and the retirement of its co-editors. Issue 60.2 will be the first with Catherine Noske in charge. Unsurprisingly the editors describe this issue as ‘a bridge between two distinct eras’. There are links to the past in previously unpublished material: memoir from Dorothy Hewett and photographs by Randolph Stow. Concern for Aboriginal d ... (read more)