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Victoria Hannan

Marshmallow by Victoria Hannan & Higher Education by Kira McPherson

March 2023, no. 451

A marshmallow is a common confectionery, white and pink, made of gelatin, sugar, and water. We put them in hot chocolate, toast them over campfires. Marshmallow is also a plant, Althea officinalis, containing a jelly-like substance which has been used for medicinal purposes as far back as the time of Ancient Egypt. A marshmallow can also describe someone who is soft to a fault, even vulnerable. That there might be anything approaching complexity linked to this word is unlikely, but by the end of Victoria Hannan’s second novel, Marshmallow (Hachette, $29.99 pb, 292 pp), it is obvious that something as apparently innocuous as that confectionery and medicinal ingredient can have many implications; the intriguing title is an early indication that much will be going on, none of it straightforward. 

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Kokomo by Victoria Hannan

August 2020, no. 423

Kokomo has a startling beginning. ‘Mina knew in that moment what love is’, goes the first sentence. She is looking at Jack’s penis, which is compared to a soldier, a ballerina, a lighthouse, and a cooee. It is also the nicest penis she has ever seen.

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