Brenda Walker

Brenda Walker is Emerita Professor of English and Literary Studies at the University of Western Australia. Her book Reading by Moonlight is a study of reading during illness.

Brenda Walker reviews 'A Lovely and Terrible Thing' by Chris Womersley

May 2019, no. 411 21 April 2019
Brenda Walker reviews 'A Lovely and Terrible Thing' by Chris Womersley
In Chris Womersley’s collection of short fiction, A Lovely and Terrible Thing, a man is caught in a fugue moment. Just after unexpectedly discharging a gun into the body of a stranger, he gazes at his reflection in a darkened window pane: ‘I saw someone outside looking in, before realising it was, in fact, my own reflection hovering like a small, sallow moon in the darkness.’ He stands for s ... (read more)

Brenda Walker reviews 'The Year of the Farmer' by Rosalie Ham

October 2018, no. 405 25 September 2018
Brenda Walker reviews 'The Year of the Farmer' by Rosalie Ham
‘In time and with water, everything changes,’ according to Leonardo da Vinci, who worked with Machiavelli on a strategic and ultimately doomed attempt to channel the flow of the Arno. Large-scale water management has had some notable successes in parts of Australia, but as poor practices and climate change put river systems under near-terminal stress, we face irreversible and potentially catas ... (read more)

Brenda Walker reviews 'Old Growth' by John Kinsella

April 2017, no. 390 24 March 2017
Brenda Walker reviews 'Old Growth' by John Kinsella
John Kinsella’s short stories are the closest thing Australians have to Ron Rash’s tales of washed-out rural America, where weakened and solitary men stand guard over their sad patch of compromised integrity in a world of inescapable poverty, trailer homes, uninsured sickness, and amphetamine wastage. Poe’s adventure stories and internally collapsing characters lightly haunt the short fictio ... (read more)

Brenda Walker reviews 'The Simplest Words' by Alex Miller

March 2016, no. 379 26 February 2016
Brenda Walker reviews 'The Simplest Words' by Alex Miller
In The Simplest Words, Alex Miller's recently published work on his own journey through country, writing, love, friendship, and fatherhood, there is a remarkable scene of levitation. Miller describes his young daughter soaring up his own bookshelves, past the spines of The Heart of Europe, The Cambridge History of English Literature, A Dream of Red Mansions, Voss. This is not magic realism; his ch ... (read more)

Brenda Walker reviews 'Shirley Hazzard' edited by Brigitta Olubas

April 2015, no. 370 26 March 2015
Brenda Walker reviews 'Shirley Hazzard' edited by Brigitta Olubas
Shirley Hazzard is probably the most elegantly polished writer in the Australian canon: her novels and stories use traditional structures with great assurance, she writes from a thoughtful moral position, she is outspokenly engaged with the fine and the less fine elements of the Australia she once lived in, and she can be dry and funny. She spent most of her life in New York and Italy. This remind ... (read more)

Brenda Walker reviews 'Alex Miller: The ruin of time' by Robert Dixon

December 2014, no. 367 01 December 2014
Brenda Walker reviews 'Alex Miller: The ruin of time' by Robert Dixon
We do nothing alone,’ writes Alex Miller, in his brief memoir ‘The Mask of Fiction’, where he gives an account of the generative processes of his writing. Art, according to Miller, comes from the capacity of the writer to ‘see ourselves as the other’. Early in his career, Miller’s friend Max Blatt woke him, in his farmhouse at Araluen, in order to dismiss the weighty and unsuccessful m ... (read more)
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