ABR Previews

Some of the wildly successful historical novels of Richard Harris are counter-factual, like Fatherland (1992), which assumes a successful Nazi invasion of Britain. By contrast, his most recent work, An Officer and a Spy (2013), builds on a highly detailed account of the Dreyfus affair, which convulsed France in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ...

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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 portrays empties’. These comments about anonymity were made during an interview on Swiss television, no less. Calvino must have felt his imaginary worlds slipping away as he spoke ...

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Even the most seasoned political observers would have been surprised at the Palmer United Party’s triumph at the federal election, which saw it claim three seats in the Senate. Was it a stroke of luck or the work of a remarkable political strategist? In any case, the political fate of the PUP’s founder remains undecided ...

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In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), novelist Dave Eggers recounts the horror of losing both his parents within one year, leaving him and his sister as sole carers of their young brother. Eggers recalls the intense pain of being orphaned at the age of twenty-one, but also the frustration and acute resentment at having to grow up too fast ...

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Virginia Lloyd reviews 'Profits of Doom' by Antony Loewenstein

Virginia Lloyd
Wednesday, 02 October 2013

One of the literary legacies of the financial crisis is a type of travel writing focused on the local social, economic, and environmental effects of unfettered global capitalism. There are two types of such books. Michael Lewis is perhaps the best known and most widely read author of the first kind ...

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Kári Gíslason reviews 'A History of Silence' by Lloyd Jones

Kári Gíslason
Wednesday, 25 September 2013

When Mark Twain arrived in Watsons Bay in 1895, he called out from his ship that he was going to write a book about Australia. ‘I think I ought to start now. You know so much more of a country when you haven’t seen it than when you have. Besides, you don’t get your mind strengthened by contact with ...

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Gillian Terzis reviews 'The New Front Page' by Tim Dunlop

Gillian Terzis
Thursday, 19 September 2013

Ten years ago, if you moved in certain journalistic circles, calling yourself a blogger was about as popular as leprosy. Few in the industry had respect for the platform, and fewer still would have read your work. Print journalists seemed divided on whether blogging was a joke or a threat ...

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Jen Webb reviews 'The Swan Book' by Alexis Wright

Jen Webb
Wednesday, 21 August 2013

‘Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil,’ wrote Miles Franklin, initiator of an Australian literary prize that has been awarded to just two Aboriginal writers: Kim Scott for Benang in 2000 and That Deadman Dance in 2011; and Alexis Wright for Carpentaria in 2007. Franklin, of course, didn’t mean I ...

In many ways, Steven Soderbergh could be described as an exemplary postmodern film-maker: smart, prolific, and pragmatic, at ease with Hollywood blockbusters and low-budget experiments alike. He knows enough about the nuts and bolts of technique to serve as his own cinematographer ...

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Bigger than Bradman and Phar Lap combined, no Australian legend has endured the ages quite like the ‘fair go’. Egalitarianism is as central to Australian identity as exceptionalism is to the United States. The promises that underpin these mythologies are as contentious as they are seductive ...

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