Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Unwomanly Face of War' by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in 2015, the response in the Anglophone world was general bewilderment. Who was she? The response in Russia was the opposite: intense, personal, targeted. Alexievich wasn’t a real writer, detractors said; she had only won the Nobel because the West loves critics of Putin ...... (read more)
A rich vein of political writing runs through Australian fiction. From the early days of socialist realism, through the anti-colonialism of both black and white writers, to tough explorations of identity politics today, we have struggled with concepts of justice and equality since Federation ...... (read more)
Miriam Cosic reviews 'A Perfidious Distortion of History: The Versailles Peace Treaty and the success of the Nazis' by Jürgen Tampke
It has been widely accepted that the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles led directly to the rise of National Socialism in Germany and to the horrors of World War II. The punitive effects on the German economy, the affront to German honour, and the unleashing of decadence and nihilism in its wake led to the appeal of extreme nationalism and the call for revenge. ...
Originally published in German, Albrecht Dümling’s The Vanished Musicians: Jewish refugees in Australia (Peter Lang), a fascinating compendium of Jewish musicians who found refuge in Australia in the 1930s and 1940s, is now available in Australian Diana K. Weekes’s excellent translation ...... (read more)
Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Art of Rivalry: Four friendships, betrayals, and breakthroughs in modern art' by Sebastian Smee
It seems a particularly masculine take on the processes of art to examine the way rivalry spurs on creativity and conceptual development. Yet this is not the book the Boston Globe’s ...... (read more)
Miriam Cosic reviews 'Hitler: A biography, volume I: Ascent, 1889–1939' by Volker Ullrich and translated by Jefferson Chase
There is a point of view that says we shouldn't humanise a tyrant such as Adolf Hitler since that reduces the symbolism, the power of his name as a synonym for pure evil, and can lead to ...... (read more)
Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines... (read more)
When Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch was published in 1970, it created a sensation. Within six months, it had almost sold out its second print run and had been translated into eight languages. Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, the influence of which critics see in Greer’s book, had come out in France in 1949. The Feminine Mystique, b ...
Book reviewing and its provocateurs: 'What single development would most improve the Australian critical culture?'
Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers (especially youn ...
In the current fad for omnibus histories of absolutely everything, designed to replace ancient metaphysics, perhaps, or answer some marketing brainwave, no one has succeeded in quite the way Christine Kenneally has. She approaches her task with a very specific enquiry: what is the interplay between genetics and human history? Searching for an answer, she uncovers wo ...