WA contributor

Bruce Pascoe’s Salt is a wonderfully eclectic collection of new works and earlier short fiction, literary non-fiction, and essays written over twenty years. Structured thematically across six themes – Country, Lament, Seawolves, Embrasure, Tracks, and Culture Lines – Salt moves between the past and the present with Pascoe’s distinctively poetic voice. Readers of Dark Emu (2014) and Convincing Ground (2007) will be familiar with the style and subject matter but will discover newly released or reworked gems.

The title speaks to memories and ghosts triggered by the smell of salt; its ability to clean, to render flesh and skin from bone, to preserve evidence, to signal cumulative impacts on Country. The prevalence of salt speaks to the power and closeness of sea Country and our dwindling salty river systems, increasingly threatened by human intervention. Pascoe’s characters are richly drawn from this salted earth and exposed to the light and the elements. Whether presented as fiction or the voices of shared histories, his characters are grounded within the seasons and Country. So, too, in Pascoe’s view, are their possibilities of reviving this salted earth through heeding Indigenous knowledge and experience.

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Publisher of the Month with Rachel Bin Salleh

Australian Book Review
Monday, 22 July 2019

I do think that concentrating on getting good stories from literate peoples may be a narrow way of looking at the world. Statements by some non-Indigenous publishers that they have ‘standards’ when it comes to First Nations writing are also extraordinarily limiting. Honestly, you mob seriously need to think outside the box and open up to different ways of thinking.

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'Walgajunmanha All Time', a new poem by Charmaine Papertalk Green

Charmaine Papertalk Green
Monday, 22 July 2019

We write about our existence pre-invasion / And that has made us visible
We write about our existence during invasion / And that keeps us visible

       walgajunmanha

                          walgajunmanha

                                                walgajunmanha

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Tired of Winning: A chronicle of American decline by journalist and essayist Richard Cooke begins with the shock of Donald Trump’s election on 8 November 2016. In New York’s Lincoln Square, thousands of Clinton supporters were ‘stunned into silence’ while ‘a posse of drunk frat boys in MAGA caps announced themselves ...

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Stephen Dedman reviews Eight Lives by Susan Hurley

Stephen Dedman
Thursday, 23 May 2019
Eight Lives is a meticulously crafted first novel by Susan Hurley, a 2017 Peter Carey Short Story Award nominee and a medical researcher with more than thirty years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. It’s an intricate thriller told in a multiple first-person style by friends, family, and associates of the late Dr David Tran, all of whom feel some responsibility for his horrific death ... ... (read more)

Alan Atkinson reviews Bedlam at Botany Bay by James Dunk

Alan Atkinson
Thursday, 23 May 2019

James Dunk is not the first Australian historian to notice that mental breakdown was surprisingly common during the first two European generations in New South Wales. Malcolm Ellis linked the ‘Botany Bay disease’ to rheumatic fever, rife on shipboard, which ‘ruined the lives or unbalanced the minds of … many pioneers’. Manning Clark spoke of ...

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'This is the way the world ends' by Beejay Silcox

Beejay Silcox
Sunday, 12 May 2019

When truth is stranger than fiction, fiction is a potent source of truth. In the first week of the Trump administration, sales of 1984 increased by 9,500 per cent, catapulting George Orwell’s sexagenarian novel to the top of global bestseller charts. As Kellyanne Conway recast White House lies as ‘alternative facts’ ...

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In Driving Into the Sun, Marcella Polain – winner of the Anne Elder Award, the Patricia Hackett Prize, and more – has done an excellent job of capturing the inner emotional landscape of a young girl growing up fatherless in Perth’s outer suburbia in the 1960s ...

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The first thing one notices about Jaclyn Moriarty’s Gravity Is the Thing is its narrative voice: distinctive, almost stylised. Exclamation marks, emphasised words in italics, a staccato rhythm, and clever comments in parentheses add up to a writing style sometimes deemed quirky ...

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What does it mean to live in a place but never to fully belong to it? How does our capacity for intimacy alter when we are in exile? How do we forge an identity among haphazard collisions of cultures and histories? These are the questions that Melanie Cheng ...

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