Tales from the Political Trenches by Maxine McKew
When Gore Vidal died a few weeks ago, his publisher issued a statement calling him the last survivor of a postwar crop of American literary giants. ‘It is hard to think of another … who cut as dashing and visible a figure in various public realms,’ said Vidal’s Doubleday editor, Gerald Howard. Less than a week later the obituary columns were taken over by ju ...
The Novels of Alex Miller: An Introduction
edited by Robert Dixon
Allen & Unwin, $39.99 pb, 268 pp, 9781742378640
As creative writing programs continue to surge in popularity, it has become something of an uphill battle to recruit students fo ...
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 ...
Address to the reader is one of the conventions of the modern essay form, going back to Montaigne, who includes a statement of address by way of an introduction to his collected writings. A question or series of questions refreshes the direct address along the way, accentuates the sense of voice, and vitalises the connection by supposing the reader as an interlocuto ...
Delights and jolts
ABR is always engaging, even when one disagrees with the thrust or standpoint of particular reviews, but surely the May issue is the most brilliant ever. An edition which has a poet (Peter Rose) reviewing David Malouf’s new novel, Brian Matthews on Henry Lawson, Elizabeth Webby on Xavier Herbert, and Robert Phiddian on Penny Gay’s monograph about Shakespearean comedies, has to be special, thoroughly deserving of the endorsements of literary luminaries with which ABR has promoted itself over the years. In fact, a writer who, as Dr Phiddian did, can use the phrase ‘industrial-strength literary-criticism’ in his first paragraph and one of my favourite words, ‘rebarbative’, in his second, has my unremitting admiration. And I haven’t yet mentioned the appearance of John Burnheim and Ian Britain on the Letters page.... (read more)