Alison Croggon

Monsters by Alison Croggon

by
April 2021, no. 430

Alison Croggon has written poetry, fantasy novels, and whip-smart arts criticism for decades, but Monsters is her first book-length work of non-fiction. In this deeply wounded book, Croggon unpacks her shattered relationship with her younger sister (not named in the book), a dynamic that bristles with accusations and resentments. In attempting to understand the wreckage of this relationship, Croggon finds herself going back to the roots of Western patriarchy and colonialism, seeking to frame this fractured relationship as the inexorable consequence of empire.

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This month’s survey features three bewitching novels from authors intent on transporting younger readers to other worlds. In Alison Croggon’s latest fantasy novel, The Threads of Magic (Walker Books, $19.95 pb, 380 pp), Pip and his sister El are living in a poor but snug apartment in the city of Clarel, bequeathed to them by Missus Pledge. Pip, always on the lookout for opportunities, scoops up a silver box from the sidelines during a street brawl. The opening of this box burdens Pip with an ancient and grisly relic: the shrivelled black heart of a child.

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In the beginning there is the sound of deep breathing and heartbeat. Woman, the electric Jennifer Vuletic, lies writhing on a rock, splayed as if for sacrifice. Is she in a state of anguish or ecstasy? My Dearworthy Darling ushers us into a space fraught with uncertainty, the kind where questions beget more questions ...

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When Alison Croggon’s theatre review blog Theatre Notes closed in late 2012 after eight years in existence, its demise was met with a response akin to grief. The first blog of its kind in Australia, and one of the most enduring anywhere, TN became essential reading for anyone interested in Australian performance ...

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Strindberg. How do you solve a problem like August? In his own time he was considered extreme. When Strindberg (1849–1912) gave Miss Julie to his publisher, Joseph Seligmann, in 1888, Seligmann insisted it be cut to make it more palatable for the Swedish public. The play wasn't published ...

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As a not-quite-indefatigable cultural itinerant, my memories of Perth are all of festival time. Usually, my arrival is the signal for the temperature to leap into the mid-forties, imbuing the experience with a patina of sweat and a dose of climatic paranoia. PIAF 2016, artistic director Wendy ...

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To highlight Australian Book Review's arts coverage and to celebrate some of the year's memorable concerts, operas, films, ballets, plays, and exhibitions, we invited a group of critics and arts professionals to nominate their favourites – and to nominate one production they are looking forward to in 2016. (We indicate which works were reviewed in Arts Up ...

I mostly review theatre, and yes, I am selective, mostly from a sense of self-preservation. I have cut back my theatre-going to once or twice a week, and Melbourne’s performance arts culture produces much more work than that. I feel a bit guilty, since I am less in touch with emerging work than I once was, but a girl can only do so much.

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Here is a fine new Australian opera from Victorian Opera. Composer Iain Grandage and librettist Alison Croggon have taken Tim Winton’s Booker-shortlisted novel The Riders (1994) and created a highly expressive work. Marion Potts directs it on a wide but stark stage furnished only with wooden saw horses. There is a balcony and a revolve, but mostly Potts chooses to observe her anguished and introspective characters through a series of fairly static groupings.

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Lina is part witch, part royalty. Her existence is scorned by both the king and the powerful wizards that all but rule the bitter lands of the North. The story of her heady romance and tragic fate is the centrepiece for Alison Croggon’s latest fiction, a Gothic fantasy inspired by Wuthering Heights.

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