Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Kate McFadyen

Kate McFadyen

Kate McFadyen lives in Melbourne where she works as a bookseller. She has been a contributor to Australian Book Review since 2007.

Kate McFadyen reviews ‘Sing, and Don’t Cry: A Mexican journal’ by Cate Kennedy

September 2005, no. 274 01 September 2005
‘There is no pleasure in travelling,’ Albert Camus jotted in his notebook while in the Balearic Isles one summer. ‘It is more an occasion for spiritual testing.’ Pleasure, he argued, leads us away from ourselves; travel, which he considered part of the eternal search for ‘culture’, always brings us back to ourselves. When Cate Kennedy left rural Victoria for an extended posting in Mex ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews ‘The Grasshopper Shoe’ by Carolyn Leach-Paholski and ‘A New Map of the Universe’ by Annabel Smith

December 2005–January 2006, no. 277 01 December 2005
Early in Carolyn Leach-Paholski’s The Grasshopper Shoe, a maverick artisan named Wei argues that ‘all form strives to the enclosed and therefore piques our curiosity. What lies open or does not have a hidden side could be counted as formless. All that remains unjoined, the line which does not seek the satisfaction of unity in the circle, all this to aesthetics is dead.’ These words could be ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'Southerly, Vol. 66, No. 1, Health Lines' edited by David Brooks and Noel Rowe and 'Griffith Review 13: The next best thing' edited by Julianne Schultz with Marni Cordell

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
One of the best essays in the excellent spring issue of Griffith Review: The Next Big Thing, is a sustained attack by Griffith University academic Mark Bahnisch on the lazy clichés of ‘generation-journalism’. In an issue devoted to an examination of generational similarities and conflicts, Bahnisch calmly reminds us that not everyone living in the 1960s was a hell-raising radical, just as not ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'The Good Parents' by Joan London

May 2008, no. 301 05 December 2023
The Good Parents, Joan London’s second novel, begins with the seduction and disappearance of Maya de Jong, an eighteen-year-old who has recently moved to Melbourne from a small Western Australian town. Maya’s worried parents, Jacob and Toni, travel to Melbourne, set themselves up in her Richmond share house, and begin to search for clues to explain her absence. We know that Maya’s affair wit ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'The Australian Long Story' edited by Mandy Sayer

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
Literary definitions often have an indeterminate quality. To state the precise formal characteristics of the novel or the short story is almost impossible. There are some basic tenets, but these forms are fluid; open to interpretation and experimentation. Is there, then, any grounds for conceiving of the ‘long story’ as a distinct entity? Caught somewhere between two already amorphous forms, i ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'Tender Morsels' by Margo Lanagan

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
In the introduction to her Virago Book of Fairy Tales (1990), Angela Carter considers the contrary nature of the fairy-tale form. Born of a lively oral tradition, fairy tales are not beholden to veracity, and Carter celebrates the complete lack of desire for verisimilitude in Andersen, Grimm and Perrault: ‘Once upon a time is both utterly precise and absolutely mysterious: there was a time and n ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'Safety' by Tegan Bennett Daylight and 'The Corner of Your Eye' by Kate Lyons

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
There is a scene in Kate Lyons’s The Corner of Your Eye in which the narrator, Lucy, watches her daughter, Flo, being comforted over the death of a bird by their kind but bumbling friend, Archie. As Archie soothes Flo, hugging her and talking to her about what they will do next, Lucy stands apart, not knowing how to act. She feels negligent and guilty: ‘I felt like a pretend mother,’ she say ... (read more)

Kate McFayden reviews Meanjin 66 and Island 109

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
The latest issue of Meanjin (Vol. 66, No. 3, 2007: On Crime and Law, edited by Ian Britain $24.95 pb, 233 pp) is excellent. Ian Britain and his co-editor, Jennifer Digby, have assembled a group of learned contributors to address the theme of ‘Crime and Law’. The interaction between their wide range of experiences and orientations – professional, personal, poetic – makes the journ ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews '700 Days in El Salvador' by Michele Gierck

April 2007, no. 290 01 April 2007
Michele Gierck’s account of her years spent working as a human rights advocate in El Salvador raises the problem of how to understand other people’s lives. Early in 700 Days in El Salvador, she distinguishes between the two Spanish infinitives for the verb ‘to know’. Saber means to gain an understanding intellectually, through books or art, through a representation. Conocer is to understan ... (read more)

Kate McFadyen reviews 'Fields of Gold' by Fiona McIntosh

April 2010, no. 320 01 April 2010
One of the things I am often called on to do as a bookseller is to make recommendations, particularly when it comes to fiction. This involves making a judgement about what a customer wants from a book, rather than what a book may want from its reader. Many readers declare from the outset that all they want from a novel is a good story they can escape into. They happily admit that they don’t want ... (read more)
Page 1 of 2