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Carol Middleton

Carol Middleton is a journalist, arts critic and author, based in Melbourne. Her short story awards include second place in The Age competition 2010. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in the anthologies Melbourne Subjective, Ink3 and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is working on a memoir in essays.

Carol Middleton reviews ‘The Virtuoso’ by Sonia Orchard

March 2009, no. 309 01 March 2009
This novel is Sonia Orchard’s second book, published six years after her first, the compelling and intimate memoir Something More Wonderful (2003). For those who read the memoir – the harrowing story of her thirty-one-year-old friend’s battle with cancer – The Virtuoso may come as a surprise. Orchard has abandoned her own assured voice for that of a fictional and unreliable narrator, a you ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews ‘Black Widow’ by Sandy McCutcheon

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
‘Black Widow’ is the name given to the female Chechen rebels, who were widows of insurgents killed by the Russian army in Chechnya. They went on to serve under Shamil Basayev, leader of the Beslan school siege in September 2004. Sandy McCutcheon has set his latest political thriller two years later, in a story of revenge orchestrated by six female teachers at Beslan, who take on the guise of b ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews ‘Left Bank Waltz: The Australian bookshop in Paris’ by Elaine Lewis

June-July 2006, no. 282 01 June 2006
Elaine Lewis established and ran the Australian Bookshop in Paris from 1996 to 1998. It acted as an outlet in France for Australian books, a nexus for travelling Australian writers and a cultural hub in the Parisian arts scene. This is the story of the bookshop in its heyday, before Lewis returned to Australia and the bookshop retired to an online existence. ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews ‘Shakespeare: The man who pays the rent’ by Judi Dench with Brendan O’Hea

January-February 2024, no. 461 18 December 2023
In 1957, Michael Benthall, a director at the Old Vic, took a chance on a young woman straight out of drama school, casting her as Ophelia in a production of Hamlet starring John Neville and Coral Browne. I was lucky enough to be in the audience with my mother when Judi Dench, a velvet-voiced cherub in virginal white, made her début. An infinite variety of stage and film performances have gone by ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Landscape of Desire' by Kevin Rabalais

April 2008, no. 300 01 April 2008
For many Australians, the Burke and Wills odyssey is a sketchy episode in our history. For Kevin Rabalais, a recent immigrant to this country from New Orleans, the fragments of the story were obviously an intriguing premise for a novel. His first novel, The Landscape of Desire, retraces this expedition and the later one led by Howitt that set out to find the missing explorers. The strange thing is ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'The View from Connor's Hill: A Memoir' by Barry Heard

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2008
‘I want to be buried on top of Connor’s Hill, the mountain at the head of the Tambo Valley in East Gippsland.’ These were the words that came into Barry Heard’s mind as he faced death in the jungle in Vietnam in August 1967, an episode recounted in his first memoir, Well Done, Those Men (2005). Later in that book, Heard recalled another near-death experience, when his mind turned again to ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'Alien Roots: A German Jewish girlhood: from belonging to exile' by Anne Jacobs

May 2007, no. 291 01 May 2007
Alien Roots is a remarkable memoir of pre-war Germany, written in Melbourne by Anne Jacobs (born Annemarie Meyer). Jacobs wrote it in the 1960s, at a time when the Holocaust was rarely mentioned in Australia. Charles Jacobs collated his wife’s memoir for the family, and her children arranged for its publication in late 2006, twenty-four years after her death. The Melbourne-based Makor Jewish Com ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'Princess Masako: Prisoner of the Chrysanthemum Throne by Ben Hills

February 2007, no. 288 30 March 2022
Ben Hills’s biography of Princess Masako has a second subtitle: The Tragic True Story of Japan’s Crown Princess. It is a taste of the work to come, of both the hyperbole and the author’s tendency to explain everything to the reader. But then, the book is promoted not as a serious biography but as a ‘romance gone wrong’. Written by a Fairfax investigative reporter, it reads like an extend ... (read more)
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