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Naama Grey-Smith

Naama Grey-Smith

Naama Grey-Smith is an editor, publisher, writer, and critic based in Fremantle/Walyalup, Western Australia. She holds degrees in communications and publishing and has edited award-winning fiction and non-fiction. Her enduring interests are language, memory, and place.

Naama Grey-Smith reviews ‘Bright Objects’ by Ruby Todd

June 2024, no. 465 22 May 2024
One of the joys of reading – and a point of difference from narratives told on the various screens we turn to for leisure – is imagining a story’s mise en scène. Our mental pictures (termed phantasia by a group of British neurologists) are a strange alchemy of images from our memories, thoughts, and dreams. Though visualisation is not a universal experience, many readers may comment that a ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Women and Children' by Tony Birch

December 2023, no. 460 27 November 2023
In conversation with the Guardian’s Paul Daley in the final days of 2021, Tony Birch addressed the recurring presence of both strong women and violent men in his work. Citing the Sydney writer Ross Gibson, Birch said he likes to think of the common themes that a writer revisits across his or her body of work as ‘reiterations’. In Birch’s oeuvre, perhaps chief among these reiterations is th ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews three novels about artists and their subjects

September 2023, no. 457 25 August 2023
The relationship between artists and their sitters has long been a topic of fascination and enquiry – not least for artists themselves. The study of portraiture is often informed by investigations of this relationship as well as that with a third party: the viewer. In The Sitter (University of Queensland Press, $29.99 pb, 180 pp), Angela O’Keeffe explores this tripartite relationship – arti ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'The Fire and the Rose' by Robyn Cadwallader

July 2023, no. 455 27 June 2023
Centuries before the Kremlin had a digital presence and long before Ivermectin was trending on Twitter, an early form of disinformation campaigning emerged in medieval Europe: blood libel. These anti-Semitic accusations claimed that Christian children were being killed as part of Jewish religious ritual, a lie used to justify violence against Jewish communities. A notable historical instance of b ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Children of Tomorrow' by J.R. Burgmann

May 2023, no. 453 24 April 2023
James Burgmann-Milner (writing under the suitably sci-fi alias J.R. Burgmann) knows his cli-fi, or climate fiction. A teaching associate at the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, he received his PhD for research on the representation and communication of anthropogenic climate change in literature and other popular media. He is the co-author of Science Fiction and Climate Change: A s ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Tiny Uncertain Miracles' by Michelle Johnston

March 2023, no. 451 28 December 2022
'The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.’ Albert Einstein wrote these words, originally in German, in his book The World As I See It (1934). He went on to describe the ‘knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate’ as constituting ‘the truly religious attitude’, addin ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'The Signal Line' by Brendan Colley

June 2022, no. 443 23 May 2022
Winner of the University of Tasmania Prize for best new unpublished work in the 2019 Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes, The Signal Line is Brendan Colley’s first book. As it happens, my review copy arrived just as I launched into Rhett Davis’s Hovering (2022). Although fundamentally different, both novels open with a fraught return to a family home and a resident resentful sibling. Both pr ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'Where We Swim: Explorations of nature, travel and family' by Ingrid Horrocks

August 2021, no. 434 22 July 2021
Where We Swim takes the broad view on each component of its title: the ‘where’, the ‘we’, the ‘swim’. Wellington-based author Ingrid Horrocks explains that her original idea – to record a series of solo swims – was transformed when she realised such deliberate solitary excursions were ‘bracketed moments held deep within lives’ and that their contrivance ‘felt too close to the ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'The Believer: Encounters with love, death and faith' by Sarah Krasnostein

April 2021, no. 430 23 March 2021
Subtitled ‘Encounters with love, death and faith’, Sarah Krasnostein’s The Believer takes on big themes. In this work of creative non-fiction that combines memoir, journalism, and philosophical inquiry, Krasnostein details her meetings with people whose beliefs she finds unfathomable but whom she is driven to understand. Her own guiding faith on this journey is that ‘we are united in the e ... (read more)

Naama Grey-Smith reviews 'At the Edge of the Solid World' by Daniel Davis Wood

January–February 2021, no. 428 17 December 2020
‘Every last word that follows from here is a word I have tortured out of myself. If what I have written sometimes warbles towards the inarticulate, that is the price exacted by torture and the price of articulating ... at all.’ So warns the narrator of Daniel Davis Wood’s first novel, Blood and Bone (2014). He may well be describing Davis Wood’s second novel, At the Edge of the Solid World ... (read more)
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