Memoir

Ceridwen Spark reviews 'Traumata' by Meera Atkinson

Ceridwen Spark
Thursday, 26 July 2018

At first glance, Traumata seems to provide an exception to the rule not to judge a book by its cover. Featuring photos of the author’s mother, a woman in her forties, alongside photos of the young Atkinson on the precipice of adolescence, the cover portrays the filial relationship that is central in this memoir ...

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The name Sisonke Msimang may be familiar because of her reported claim in 2015 that Australia was ‘more racist’ than South Africa was during the apartheid era. What she in fact criticised were Australians’ failure to deal adequately with racial difference. Their recourse, she claimed, is to treat historical and present-day practices and manifestations of racism with ‘fake kindness’ rather than ‘honesty’, promoting a monoculturalism ...

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In The Rapids: Ways of looking at mania, Sam Twyford-Moore takes a personal, exploratory, and speculative approach to the subject of mania. Because the author has been significantly governed by manic episodes on several occasions (he was diagnosed with manic depression as he ‘came into adulthood’), The Rapids offers an insider’s perspective. It also considers some of the public and cultural manifestations of the illness ...

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‘Write about what you don’t know,’ British novelist Rose Tremain advised young authors. That has been her own strategy during a long and star-studded career. It is quite a stretch from the court of England’s Charles II in Restoration (1989), or that of Christian IV of Denmark in ...

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At the centre of this book is Oscar, the son of Rozanna Lilley and her husband, Neil Maclean, and Oscar’s particular way of encountering the world. Unpredictably (by most people’s standards), he is indifferent to some things, sharply affected by others. His fears – of the outdoors, of night and the watching moon, of dogs ...

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Every era imagines its own future. We always get it wrong, of course; often comically, sometimes tragically. The year 2001 was emblematic of ‘the future’ for decades, thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s visionary film of the same name. Videophones! Robots! Spaceships elegantly ascending to a Strauss waltz! With the approach of the ...

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What charming company she is, Anna Cowen – warm, energetic, amusing, enthusiastic. And what a job that must have been: partnering Zelman Cowen when Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser appointed him governor-general of Australia in 1977. John Kerr, Cowen’s predecessor, had called the very existence of the office ...

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When German forces invaded France on 10 May 1940, the French signed an armistice that facilitated limited French sovereignty in the south, the section of the country not yet overrun by German troops. On 10 July 1940 the French Parliament elected a new, collaborationist regime under former general Philippe Pétain ...

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John Curtin may be our most extensively documented prime minister. He is the subject of many biographies (including one by the author of the volume reviewed here) and countless chapters and articles, and is necessarily a central figure in war histories of the 1940s. John Edwards ventures into a well-populated field ...

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It has already become a cliché: Kevin Rudd’s memoir, 'Not for the Faint-Hearted', is not for the faint-hearted. More than 600 densely packed pages long, it contains some 230,000 words and over 1,000 footnotes, but by the end of the volume Rudd is yet to be sworn in as the twenty-sixth prime minister of Australia ...

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