Scribe

It’s a challenge to navigate the maze of books published after an election as winners and losers pore over the entrails of victory and defeat. It’s even more challenging when that election delivers a result almost nobody expected. Who’s telling the truth? Who’s lying to protect their legacy?

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Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt is renowned as the woman who defeated David Irving in court after he sued her for describing him as a Holocaust denier. Her portrayal by Rachel Weisz in the film Denial (2016) ensured that Lipstadt and her landmark victory achieved even wider celebrity ...

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There have been at least half a dozen previous biographies of Robert Menzies, but Troy Bramston’s new life of Australia’s longest-serving prime minister is arguably the most attractive combination of research and readability ... ... (read more)

The name of Julia Sorell – the granddaughter of an early governor – never quite died in Tasmania. A faint memory survived of a high-spirited young woman who was the belle of Hobart, a woman who broke hearts and engagements, including one with the current governor’s son. (It was also rumoured – with political intent – that she seduced his father, Sir John Eardley-Wilmot.) An element of scandal arose all the more readily because her own mother had deserted her father for a military man, and had run off with him when he returned to his regiment in India.

 

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Chris Flynn reviews four new crime novels

Chris Flynn
Sunday, 21 April 2019

The plethora of crime stories is such that, in order to succeed, they must either follow a well-trodden narrative path and do so extremely well, or run with a high concept and hope for the best. Having the word ‘girl’ in the title doesn’t hurt. Readers are familiar with genre tropes ...

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Francesca Sasnaitis reviews Invented Lives by Andrea Goldsmith

Francesca Sasnaitis
Monday, 25 March 2019

John Berger describes emigration as ‘the quintessential experience of our time’ (And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos, 1984), and gives credence to the concept that geographic and psychological exile is pervasive to the human condition. ‘No one willingly chooses exile – exile is the option when choice has run out,’ says the ...

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Whatever benefits it has brought, aggressive globalisation has also dislocated industries, wrecked communities, and fostered social alienation. Large numbers of working-class, blue-collar, and rural voters (these categories overlap) feel abandoned, anxious, and economically insecure, even when they have ...

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Jack Callil reviews Hare's Fur by Trevor Shearston

Jack Callil
Monday, 25 February 2019

Hare’s Fur is about what follows grief. Russell Bass, a seventy-two-year-old potter, lives alone in Katoomba. Adele and Michael, his wife and child, have both died. Time still passes. He wakes early, drinks coffee, visits friends, throws clay ...

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Almost before drawing breath, we meet two troupes of Indian magicians. One appears in the court of the Emperor Jahangir, early seventeenth-century Mughal ruler and aficionado of magic. In the first of twenty-eight tricks, this troupe of seven performers sprout trees from a cluster of plant pots before the emperor’s eyes ...

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Tali Lavi reviews 'Insomnia' by Marina Benjamin

Tali Lavi
Tuesday, 18 December 2018

The morning I begin to read Insomnia, a darkly thrilling beauty of a book, the sky turns a duckblue albumen. Domestic hush and personal restlessness coexist. This tension of dualities recurs within Marina Benjamin’s philosophical and poetic reckoning with the state of insomnia ...

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