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Kate Holden

Kate Holden

Kate Holden is the author of In My Skin (2005) and The Romantic (2010), both published by Text. She writes a regular column for The Age, as well as widely published essays, short stories, and literary criticism.

Kate Holden reviews 'Smoke in the Room' by Emily Maguire

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
It takes nerve to create three self-absorbed characters, set them in dingy inner-urban Sydney over one summer, give them booze, cigarettes and tattoos, and locate the drama in a share house without resorting to a He Died with a Falafel in His Hand fiasco of bad manners. But with this scenario Emily Maguire, in her surreptitiously brilliant third novel, has instead created a riveting emotional comp ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'My Dirty Shiny Life' by Lily Bragge

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
Lily Bragge, performer and arts writer, has had what you might call a dramatic life, the sort that makes people say, ‘You should write a book’. It involves almost every kind of catastrophe that may befall a young woman in suburban Australia: sexual abuse, parental violence, emotional instability, depression, drug addiction, ill-fated romances, unexpected pregnancy, cancer, bereavement, domesti ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'The Inconvenient Child' by Sharyn Killens and Lindsay Lewis

September 2010, no. 324 01 September 2010
Sharyn Killens is no stranger to the spotlight. After a long career as an entertainer, she is used to appearing in make-up and gown, pouring out a song. She is also a veteran of interviews and media stories, with a different song: that of her own extraordinary life. In The Inconvenient Child, written with her friend Lindsay Lewis, Killens (known on the stage as Sharyn Crystal) relates a wrenching ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'A Loving, Faithful Animal' by Josephine Rowe

May 2016, no. 381 27 April 2016
'That was the summer ...' begins Josephine Rowe's début novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal, and with this classic overture she evokes that most common of literary tropes, the summer in adolescence that changes everything. But this is the summer, she continues, when a sperm whale washes up dead at Mount Martha, and all the best cartoons go off the air, replaced by broadcasts of the first Gulf War, a ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'The Empress Lover' by Linda Jaivin

April 2014, no. 360 26 March 2014
There is probably a subtle, composite word in Mandarin for it: the mixed elation and outrage of finding that something – a book, an artist, a secret holiday destination – which you privately cherished for its obscurity has been discovered by someone else. There must be a word for the chagrin attached to recognising that the intruder has possessed it more thoroughly; knew it first; has broken t ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'The Last Thread' by Michael Sala

February 2012, no. 338 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 successful when it portrays an extraordinary indiv ... (read more)

Kate Holden reviews 'I Hate Martin Amis Et Al.' by Peter Barry

June 2011, no. 332 24 May 2011
Milan Zorec, protagonist of I Hate Martin Amis Et Al., walks into the London office of a literary agency that has rejected his novel and terrorises the agent before going to jail, where he decides to travel to besieged Sarajevo in order to vent his spleen by assassinating innocent civilians. In the light of this, and for other reasons, a reviewer of this disquieting, artful novel must be careful. ... (read more)