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Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong

Judith Armstrong’s most recent book, War & Peace and Sonya, has just been republished in London by the Unicorn Press.

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Otherland: A journey with my daughter' by Maria Tumarkin

April 2010, no. 320 01 April 2010
Let no one say that all travel memoirs fall into the same predictable box. Otherland and Mother Land, two such works from Melbourne writers, may enjoy rhyming titles and pluck similar strings, but their styles could hardly be more dissimilar. The first, a new book from Maria Tumarkin, describes a journey to her Ukrainian/ Russian country of birth with her twelve-year-old daughter in tow; the secon ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong on 'Courage: Guts, grit, spine, heart, balls, verve' by Maria Tumarkin

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
From the horror of ‘traumascapes’ – the eponymous subject of Tumarkin’s first book (2005) – to the noble quality we call courage is one of those small steps that equate to giant leaps. Having spent a long time thinking and writing about the devastation caused to particular sites during the harsher episodes of recent history, Tumarkin has moved on to the human sentiments associated w ... (read more)

'A curious night at the Wheeler Centre' by Judith Armstrong

October 2011, no. 335 01 October 2011
The Wheeler Centre recently hosted ‘four provocative nights’ based on the assertion that Australian criticism of film, theatre, books and the visual arts is, in its own words, ‘failing us all’. The series was entitled ‘Critical Failure’. For ABR readers unable to attend, here is one person’s account of the books-related panel. There was certainly a sense of failure in the room at th ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Reading Madame Bovary' by Amanda Lohrey

October 2010, no. 325 01 October 2010
From a clutch of novels including the award-winning Camille’s Bread (1996), Amanda Lohrey has now turned to shorter literary forms, notably two Quarterly Essays (2002, 2006), a novella (Vertigo, 2008) and this new collection of short stories. At the 2009 Sydney Writers’ Festival she publicly confessed her new leaning, arguing the benefits of genres more easily completed by both writer and read ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Anastasia: A novel' by Colin Falconer

April 2004, no. 260 01 April 2004
What’s a nice girl called Anastasia doing in the Whangpoa River? Maybe she’s the daughter of the last tsar who everyone thought was dead, or maybe it’s just a girl who looks like a Russian princess and happens to have the same name. If the proposition sounds familiar, be assured by Colin Falconer that Anastasia Romanovs were thick on the streets of Shanghai after the White Russian diaspora o ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Reunion' by Andrea Goldsmith

May 2009, no. 311 01 May 2009
What’s the use,’ asks Alice before wandering away from her uncommunicative sister, ‘of a book without pictures or conversations?’ Grown-up readers can probably manage without the former, but it is unusual to find a novel with as little dialogue in it as Andrea Goldsmith’s Reunion, or one that so deliberately ignores the common injunction ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Yet Goldsmith has sever ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Grace' by Robert Drewe

August 2005, no. 273 01 August 2005
The scope of this novel could hardly be more ambitious. It ranges from the landing ten thousand years ago of prehistoric men in primitive rafts on the shores of what would one day be known as the Kimberley, to the apparition of a young asylum seeker off a leaky, sinking boat in roughly the same locality during the present inhospitable times. In other words, it meets the challenge of major issues b ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Lovesong' by Alex Miller

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
Alex Miller has been named as a finalist in the 2009 Melbourne Prize for Literature, a rich award given triennially to a Victorian author for a body of work. It is hardly surprising that a writer who has twice won the Miles Franklin Award and frequently been the recipient of, or short-listed for, other prizes should be among this group of contenders; Lovesong is Miller’s ninth novel since the pu ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Ransacking Paris' by Patti Miller

June-July 2015, no. 372 29 May 2015
Patti Miller has written four books of or about memoir, one of which, The Mind of a Thief (UQP, 2012) won the New South Wales Premier’s History Award, and she has taught life writing for more than twenty years. Yet her most recent publication, Ransacking Paris, while enjoyable at one level, is disappointing at another. There is a serious mismatch between form and content, the jarring discrepancy ... (read more)

Judith Armstrong reviews 'Goodbye Sweetheart' by Marion Halligan

April 2015, no. 370 26 March 2015
Marion Halligan is a prolific writer, and this is not the first time I have reviewed one of her books. Once, when she branched out into the genre of lightweight crime – The Apricot Colonel (2006) and Murder on the Apricot Coast (2008) – I commented on the problem faced by Cassandra, the novel’s narrator. An editor-turned-author, she turns out books less highbrow than those she is used to edi ... (read more)
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