It is a colourful and turbulent life Alice Waters leads. Thankfully, it is turbulent in the fruitful sense, a process of regeneration and creation so nimbly edited into her autobiography ...... (read more)
Mike Willesee has been one of the giants of the Australian media for over half a century. He was a major force in television for most of those years; but he began his life in print journalism and made a small fortune as the joint owner of 2Day FM when it was sold to the Lamb family. The memoir of such an important figure ...... (read more)
When a biographer tells her own story, the rules change. Because the subject is the self, the problem is not so much a search for the unknown, but what to tell about the known and how to tell it. One of Britain’s finest biographers, Claire Tomalin, has spoken of her pleasure in ‘investigating’ other people’s lives. What happens ...... (read more)
James McNamara reviews 'How Not To Be A Boy' by Robert Webb and 'This Is Going To Hurt: Secret diaries of a junior doctor' by Adam Kay
The literary world too often disdains comedy writing as unserious. It rarely features in our grander prizes, and is usually relegated to literature’s cheap seats. This is, of course, silly. Great comedy can make as many grave points about humanity as realist fiction. You just get to laugh along the way ...... (read more)
Every Saturday around Australia, the suburbs hum with the sound of lawnmowers. While cutting grass, the mowers simultaneously decapitate the milk thistles (also known as sow thistles) that sprout in most gardens around the country. But this rude beheading is little more than an inconvenience from which these hardy plants soon recover. Perhaps this is ...... (read more)
In the first chapter of her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy writes, ‘Daring to think that the rules do not apply is the mark of a visionary. It’s also a symptom of narcissism.’ Born in New York during the Reagan era, she is describing the world she grew up in, one in which you were told that you were in control of your ...... (read more)
When some years ago I read Jim Davidson’s outstanding biography, Lyrebird Rising (1994), I was initially concerned by what seemed to be his potentially distorting fascination with the scene-stealing Louise Hanson-Dyer. But I soon discovered I needn’t have worried. Jim Davidson is not the sort of biographer whose obsession with his subject overcomes prop ...
As Nadine Gordimer once mused, ‘Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.’ Sheila Kohler’s site of personal haunting is the murder of her sister Maxine in South Africa more than three decades ago ...... (read more)
‘Coming out’ stories remain one of the most potent sources for young people to understand their own relationship to sex, gender, and sexuality. Living in a largely heteronormative society, many young people find a place in these stories to validate and challenge their thoughts and experiences. Nevo Zisin’s memoir, written at the age of twenty, covers these areas but also speaks to those l ...
'Our parents intimately link us, closeted as we are in our lives, to a thing we’re not, forging a joined separateness and a useful mystery, so that even together with them we are also alone,’ writes Richard Ford early in ‘My Mother, In Memory’, the first of the two memoirs that comprise Between Them, the Pulitzer Prize winner’s bewitching first bo ...