Patrick Allington

Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.
Monday, 23 November 2015

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

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Patrick Allington reviews 'That Deadman Dance' by Kim Scott

Patrick Allington
Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Kim Scott noted in 2001 that the biographical notes accompanying his first two novels (True Country, 1993, and Benang: From the Heart, 1999) changed ...

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Reading Australia: 'That Deadman Dance' by Kim Scott

Patrick Allington
Wednesday, 27 May 2015

The shortlist for the 2011 Miles Franklin Literary Award, which included Kim Scott’s That Deadman Dance, was controversial because it consisted of only three novels, all w ...

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 ...

Patrick Allington reviews 'The Writing Life' by David Malouf

Patrick Allington
Thursday, 26 February 2015

In appraising the poet Peter Porter, David Malouf writes that ‘the world we inhabit is a vast museum – call it History, or Art, or the History of Art. For Porter, the exhibits were still alive and active.’ So it is with Malouf himself: his world includes Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the awful and bloody twentieth century, a Brisba ...

Patrick Allington reviews Peter Carey's 'Amnesia'

Patrick Allington
Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Peter Carey’s new novel, Amnesia, is an odd-shaped – but not misshaped – tale about power and, more particularly, resistance to power. When the veteran leftist journalist Felix Moore writes the story of Gaby Baillieux, a young Australian cyber-activist, he finds himself, like Gaby, a fugitive. As if by magic, Gaby has unlocked Australian and US prison d ...

An old woman, caught between the present and her troubled past in another hemisphere, picks herself out of a puddle of water: ‘Her head is tender, and the left side of her body still feels strange: as if she has lost half of herself. Nevertheless, she understands things again.’ The characters in Maria Takolander’s collection of short stories, The Doub ...

As a woman and her daughter prepare to attend a memorial service for their husband and father, a railwayman, the girl offers the woman her kaleidoscope: ‘You could borrow this, Mum [...] You said it was good for seeing things differently.’ It is a resonant moment, the promise of a magical but fleeting distortion of reality both lovely and desperately sad. The sc ...

Patrick Allington reviews 'Konkretion' by Marion May Campbell

Patrick Allington
Monday, 25 March 2013

Whereas many twenty-first-century novels seem way too long, konkretion is a distilled, complex gem. It is a novella full of questions and questing, most of which riff from this observation made in the context of Germany’s militant Red Army Faction: ‘what triggers the conversion from resistance to terror, flick-knife or otherwise, the jump into illeg ...

As I read the early pages of Anthony Macris’s Great Western Highway, I began to wonder if the whole novel might consist of a single central character walking along a city road (for the record, it doesn’t). I couldn’t decide whether I found such a prospect exciting or deflating. As I continued reading, and as Great Western Highway took flight from ...

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