Memoir

Rachel Robertson reviews 'The Twelfth Raven' by Doris Brett

Rachel Robertson
12 March 2014

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 More

Kári Gíslason reviews 'His Stupid Boyhood: A memoir' by Peter Goldsworthy

Kári Gíslason
13 November 2013

Italo Calvino once observed that the ideal condition for a writer is ‘close to anonymity’, adding that ‘the more the author’s figure invades the field, the more the world he portra More

Bernadette Brennan reviews 'Wild Card' by Dorothy Hewett

Bernadette Brennan
30 August 2012

Dorothy Hewett’s Wild Card: An Autobiography 1923–1958 was first published by McPhee Gribble in 1990. Now, a decade after Hewett’s death, UWA Publishing has reissued this extraordinary autobiography in a beautifully packaged, reader-friendly format. Reviewing Wild Card for ABR in October 1990, Chris Wallace-Crabbe drew attention to H ... More

Adam Rivett reviews 'A History of Books' by Gerald Murnane

Adam Rivett
28 May 2012

The autobiography, that seemingly inevitable act of self-revelation, is frequently a work tricked out with very little art. For the novelist, unlike the anecdote-disposing musician or painter, the problem is doubled: they are making a home with the same tools. Rare is the autobiography that, like Nabokov’s Speak, Memory (1951) or Martin Amis’s Experience (2001), speaks in ... More

Tony Taylor: Fishing the River of Time

Carol Middleton
21 March 2012

Modest and Remarkable

Carol Middleton

 

Fishing the River of Time
by Tony Taylor
Text Publishing, $29.95 hb, 224 pp, 9781921922015

 

This is the modest memoir of a remarkable man. At the age of eighty, geologist Tony Taylor travels from Sydney to Vanco ... More

'Pushing against the dark: Writing about the hidden self' by Robert Dessaix (2011 Seymour Biography Lecture)

Robert Dessaix
20 March 2012

If you’re a theatregoer, then somewhere along the line you’re bound to have seen The Government Inspector, Nikolai Gogol’s comedy about a rapacious nobody being mistaken for a government official by the citizens of a nameless provincial backwater. (They too are nobodies, greedy to be somebodies.) You might remember (since it’s a line that will ... More

Robert Dessaix: As I Was Saying

Jane Goodall
27 February 2012

Grand illusion

Jane Goodall

 

AS I WAS SAYING: A COLLECTION OF MUSINGS
by Robert Dessaix
Vintage, $27.95 pb, 224 pp, 9781742753072

 

‘I’m sitting in my tower, cogitating.’ Well, Dessaix admits, it’s not a real tower, though he likes to think of ... More

Rachel Robertson: Reaching One Thousand

Carmel Bird
22 February 2012

Dancing on his own

Carmel Bird

 

Reaching One Thousand: A Story of Love, Motherhood and Autism
by Rachel Robertson
Black Inc., $29.95 pb, 240 pp, 9781836955553

 

At some stage in every workshop on the art of memoir somebody raises the question of ethic ... More

Donata Carrazza reviews 'Bite Your Tongue' by Francesca Rendle-Short

Donata Carrazza
20 January 2012

In writing Bite Your Tongue, Francesca Rendle-Short, who is director of Creative Writing at RMIT University, has chosen a thorny tale. She dedicates the book to her mother, Angel, who is clearly a formidable personality: Northern Irish; medical doctor; mother of six daughters; Christian activist; ‘book burner’. Early on, we are told that ‘some stories are hard to tell, they bite ... More

Kate Holden reviews 'The Last Thread' by Michael Sala

Kate Holden
20 January 2012

Memoir, it seems, is proliferating ever more furiously in Australia, filling bookshelves and review pages like bacteria in still water. We are insatiable in our appetite to read and write memoir, to feel the ‘real’. As a memoirist myself, I am all too aware of my hypocrisy in feeling uneasy about this rage for introspection. But memoir is most successfu ... More

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