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December 2019, no. 417

December 2019, no. 417

Welcome to the December issue of ABR – always our most anticipated edition of the year because of the inclusion of Books of the Year. Thirty-three leading critics and writers nominate their favourite publications of the year. Find out what people like Beejay Silcox, James Ley, Susan Wyndham, Andrea Goldsmith, and Bronwyn Lea most enjoyed reading in 2019. Other highlights include Peter Rose on Helen Garner’s brilliant and defiant diaries; Zora Simic on the legacies of sexual harassment; Angela Woollacott on Margaret Simons’s biography of Penny Wong; and Chris Flynn on Elliot Perlman’s new novel. Elsewhere, legendary journalist Brian Toohey reviews Edward Snowden’s memoirs, Monash historian Christina Twomey laments the ‘terror in extraterritoriality’, and the poet Michael Hofmann contributes a brilliant satire on Donal Dump (aka Donald Trump).


Full Contents

Essay Collection

George Seddon: Selected Writings edited by Andrea Gaynor

The Innocent Reader by Debra Adelaide & Wild About Books by Michael Wilding


Serotonin by Michel Houellebecq, translated by Shaun Whiteside


The Bee and the Orange Tree by Melissa Ashley

Short Stories

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

Books of the Year

Books of the Year 2019


How to Democratize Europe by Stéphanie Hennette et al.


The Shelf Life of Zora Cross by Cathy Perkins


Penny Wong: Passion and principle by Margaret Simons

Essay Collection

Coventry: Essays by Rachel Cusk


She Said by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey & The Education of Brett Kavanaugh by Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly


Maybe the Horse Will Talk by Elliot Perlman


Permanent Record by Edward Snowden


Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann