Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Memory Artist' by Katherine Brabon

Felicity Plunkett reviews 'The Memory Artist' by Katherine Brabon

The Memory Artist

by Katherine Brabon

Allen & Unwin $29.99 pb, 300 pp, 9781760292867

For Pasha Ivanov, memory is 'a warped wound, with a welt or bruise that had arrived inexplicably late'. As the son of political dissidents in Moscow during Brezhnev's rule, his childhood memories wend between impressions of his mother leaning over the typewriter, her back's incline 'like a mountain, severe and strong', and the activists who gather in their small flat copying banned poems and articles. Among them is the trace of Pasha's absent father and the silence surrounding that absence. As Pasha reaches adulthood, just as Gorbachev with his glasnost or openness arrives, the inheritance of lost history begins to reveal its injuries.

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Published in August 2016, no. 383
Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point (UQP, 2009) won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. She has a chapbook Seastrands (2011) in Vagabond Press’ Rare Objects series. Her new collection A Kinder Sea is forthcoming. Felicity was Poetry Editor for University of Queensland Press and edited Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She has a PhD from the University of Sydney and her reviews and essays have been widely published in The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books etc. Her essay ‘Sound Bridge’, a portrait of Indigenous Australian musician Dr G. Yunupingu, was first published in Australian Book Review and anthologised in Best Australian Essays 2015 (Black Inc, ed. Geordie Williamson).

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