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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Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett

Felicity Plunkett is a poet and critic. She has a PhD from the University of Sydney. Her first collection of poetry Vanishing Point won the Arts Queensland Thomas Shapcott Prize and was shortlisted for several other awards. Felicity’s chapbook Seastrands was published in Vagabond Press’s Rare Objects series in 2011, and she is the editor of Thirty Australian Poets (UQP, 2011). She is Poetry Editor with University of Queensland Press and a widely published reviewer.

Published in August 2016, no. 383

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