Gillian Dooley

Until 2015, Australian Literary Studies was still a printed artefact. It appeared in the mildly erratic pattern endemic to Australian humanities journals, which depend on busy people finding time for the rewarding but often unrewarded task of editing. Nevertheless, despite rising production costs and increasing competition from the online world, it remained ...

Some ‘only’ children have revelled in that status. Iris Murdoch called her family unit ‘a perfect trinity of love’. Caroline Baum sees her family less happily as a triangle: ‘There’s something uncomfortable about a triangle: it’s all elbows, suggesting awkward unease.’ We find out in the following 380-odd pages the whats and whys of this discomfort. ...

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Extinctions' by Josephine Wilson

Gillian Dooley
Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Extinctions takes its time giving up its secrets, and there are some we will never know. One of its most persistent enigmas is what kind of book it is. I wondered ...

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Memoirs of Eastern European children of the 1920s could hardly be more different than this pair. The old age Marcel Weyland describes in The Boy on the Tricycle ...

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In Places Women Make, Jane Jose writes that she is ‘not proving a theory about the skills of men versus those of women’, but celebrating ‘the places in cities we know women have given us’.

Jose moves with sometimes disorienting rapidity from place to place, from female lord mayor to colonial matron to feisty 1970s female activist. We learn that the female perspective is ...

Let's start with the title. The act of reading is anything but simple, as Fiona McFarlane and Gabrielle Carey both point out. Eyes, brain, and mind cooperate to create from a series of symbols with no intrinsic representative value a coherent message, or some amusing nonsense, or a persuasive argument, or a boring anecdote, or a parade of transparent lies.

D ...

Gillian Dooley reviews 'Settling Day' by Kate Howarth

Gillian Dooley
Monday, 30 November 2015

Kate Howarth is the child of a single mother, father uncertain, brought up by her Aboriginal grandmother. She in turn becomes pregnant at sixteen. Determined to keep her son despite the pressure to give him up for adoption, she marries the father. The marriage doesn't go well and Kate leaves without her son, hoping to come back for him when she is settled, but thing ...

In 1977, before personal computers and the Internet, Umberto Eco published How to Write a Thesis. It has remained in print ever since, but only now is it available in English. The book hasn’t been updated and makes no concessions to technological change. Space is devoted to card indexes and manual typewrit ...

Gillian Dooley reviews 'A Guide to Berlin' by Gail Jones

Gillian Dooley
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

I sit in a safe room with the winter sun on my back and read of violence and menace in an icy city. Gail Jones’s Berlin is so bleak and the novel’s dénouement so shattering that I need that brief benign warmth. This is not, I hasten to protest, a spoiler: the book begins by foreshadowing a scene of guilt, shoc ...

In 1977 the aspiring poet Alan Gould travelled through Europe with his friend Kevin Hart. Just such a tour forms the narrative thread for Gould’s latest novel, The Poets’ Stairwell. This is a roman à clef and those in the know will enjoy the identification game.

More interesting, though, is the intellectual journey; Gould’s virginal twenty-seve ...

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