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December 2020, no. 427

December 2020, no. 427

Welcome to our last issue for 2020. What a turbulent year it’s been – but also a rousing one for ABR, as the Editor reports in Advances. Highlights of the issue include our perennial favourite, Books of the Year: 33 ABR critics nominate some of their favourite books. The list forms a testament to the resilience of great writing even during a pandemic. Meanwhile, Morag Fraser, reviewing two new edited volumes, imagines what Australia might look like after Covid-19. Nicholas Jose reviews the second volume of Helen Garner’s inimitable diaries, and Frank Bongiorno reviews the new collection of writings from Don Watson. Anna MacDonald finds much to admire in Josephine Rowe’s short tribute to the late Beverley Farmer, and Brenda Niall relishes the task of revisiting the short stories of one of Australia’s greatest writers, Shirley Hazzard. Paul Giles – our Critic of the Month – writes about William Faulkner. 



Full Contents

United States

The Romance of American Communism by Vivian Gornick


Statelessness: A modern history by Mira L. Siegelberg


More Than Mere Words edited by Paul Monaghan and Michael Walsh & Ethnographer and Contrarian edited by Julie D. Finlayson and Frances Morphy


Napoleon and de Gaulle: Heroes and history by Patrice Gueniffey, translated by Steven Rendall




The Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry edited by Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington


Reaching Light: Selected poems by Robert Adamson


Beautiful Objects: Selected poems by Martin Johnston


The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall


Jack by Marilynne Robinson


The Silence: A novel by Don DeLillo


Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason


The Fifth Season by Philip Salom


The Wreck by Meg Keneally

Critic of the Month

Paul Giles is Critic of the Month

Books of the Year

Books of the Year 2020

by Sarah Holland-Batt et al.

Tom Stoppard: A life by Hermione Lee


The Tyranny of Merit by Michael J. Sandel & Philanthropy by Paul Vallely

Essay Collection

Watsonia: A writing life by Don Watson


What Happens Next? edited by Emma Dawson and Janet McCalman & Upturn by Tanya Plibersek

Literary Studies

On Beverley Farmer: Writers on Writers by Josephine Rowe

ABR News

by Australian Book Review

Letters to the Editor

by Lindy Warrell, Liana Joy Christensen, Clare Rhoden, Luke Stegemann, Johanna Leggatt, Clint Caward, Declan Fry, Randall Doyle