The realisation that our parents are not exactly who we understood them to be can be a profound rite of passage. For some it comes with no forewarning: a random event leads to an accidental disclosure, or substantiates an old rumour. For others this realisation takes shape in a less acute though no less transformative manner. With The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets, Betty O’Neill pieces together her family history in an effort to learn more about her father, a stranger she briefly encountered when she was nineteen. What began as an innocuous exercise at a writers’ retreat would evolve into a three-year research project through which the author uncovers the riveting story of Antoni Jagielski – resistance fighter, Holocaust survivor, unsettled postwar migrant, and absent father.... (read more)
Iva Glisic reviews 'The Great Cauldron: A history of southeastern Europe' by Marie-Janine Calic, translated by Elizabeth Janik
South-eastern Europe is a region defined by ambiguity: with few clear geographic boundaries or consensus over its correct appellation, it is a palimpsest bearing the marks of Balkan, Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, Ottoman, and central European cultures. As the identities of the region’s inhabitants have shifted across the centuries, their position within the European ...
A Window on Italy – The Corsini Collection: Masterpieces from Florence (Art Gallery of Western Australia)
The final week of February in Australia means, among other things, that another summer is almost over. Yet in contrast to the fleeting nature of lived experience, a new exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia calls attention to the enduring power of art to capture and convey human passions ...... (read more)
Donald Trump’s rise to the presidency has redefined many features of US politics, not the least of which has been the nation’s relationship with its former Cold War nemesis. ‘Wouldn’t it be nice,’ Trump asked while campaigning, ‘if we actually got along with Russia?’... (read more)