Tali Lavi

Anne Frank: Parallel Stories 

Tali Lavi
Friday, 11 October 2019

Earlier this year, not being able to find my childhood copy of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl for my eldest daughter, I bought another one. It seemed bigger than I had remembered, but the cover had the same recognisable photo of the demurely smiling Anne gazing somewhere into the distance – a wisp of a girl with distinctive dark features that would have made it highly unlikely for her to ‘pass’ as anything other than Jewish. The book bore a label that seemed to be making a dubious claim: ‘The Definitive Edition’. Was it more definitive than the journal I had read when I was a similar age to the girl who wrote it, as my daughter is now?

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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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A marble statue of a crouching Venus disfigured by age and circumstance appears on the cover of Lee Kofman’s Imperfect. The goddess of love and beauty is a ruin, although one capable of radiating an uncertain allure. Through a deft trick of typography, the emblazoned title can be read as either ‘Imperfect’ or ‘I’m Perfect’ ...

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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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In my childhood home, Yiddish prompted a frisson of the suppressed. This was a direct consequence of adults speaking it whenever they did not want us children to understand. Yiddish was the language in which jokes, clever and sometimes ribald, worked. When attempting to translate, inevitably my grandmother would shrug ...

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When I look at certain images of German-born photographer Roman Vishniac, the accompanying pain is acute, for his mesmerising monochromatic portraits of Eastern European Jews before their devastation in the Holocaust are not mere ethnological studies. Elie Wiesel refers ...

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Strange and terrible events unfold around us. Conflicts erupt; catastrophes occur; a billionaire reality television performer reminiscent of a snake oil merchant is elected president of the United States. Following these destabilising forces, a chorus comprised of dissonant tones of reproach and plea often emerges ...

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Foxtrot ★★★★★

Tali Lavi
Thursday, 21 June 2018

A doorbell rings. Along with the Feldman family, we are catapulted into Samuel Maoz’s mesmerising drama, one worthy of its Greek tragedian and European absurdist antecedents. Deeply shocked, a woman faints and fits; a man is frozen. Their son Yonatan, a soldier, has been killed ...

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Early on in this book, the fictional Lale Sokolov, based on the real man of that name who survived Auschwitz and its horrors to eventually live in suburban Melbourne, has his arm tattooed. Aghast, he laments, ‘How can someone do this to another human being?’ He wonders if, ‘for the rest ...

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Hir (Red Stitch Actors' Theatre) ★★★★

Tali Lavi
Tuesday, 06 February 2018

A soldier comes home from war only to find that home is not what it once was. This premise, fertile with dramatic possibilities, has inspired storytellers from Homer and Sophocles to contemporary writers like Ben Fountain. In Taylor Mac’s Hir, the foreign war zone and the rainbow-splattered domestic space act as minefields ...

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