Besides a capacity to write well, critics need to be well-informed. I sometimes get exasperated by reviewers without sufficient expertise in the topics they are considering. On the other hand, academic pedantry can also be off-putting, particularly when couched in a clunky style. In general, I’ve found the most memorable pieces to be those which say something about the reviewer as well as the author under review, like portraits which work through a kind of double vision, offering insights into the painter as well as the sitter. There was a very good essay on Les Murray by J.M. Coetzee in the New York Review of Books a few years ago which had this double-edged quality.... (read more)
Here Until August: Stories by Josephine Rowe & This Taste for Silence: Stories by Amanda O’Callaghan
Certain days: it is easy to imagine this small, once-prosperous river town (barely distinct from many other small, once prosperous river towns) as if you are only passing through it, shunpiking the thruways in favour of the scenic rural two-lanes on a road trip in your better, your best life. The life in which your formidable boxer-turned-human-rights-lawyer wife has simply pointed to this town on a much misfolded map and declared: Here, lunch.... (read more)
The 2016 Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize ceremony was held at the Melbourne Writers Festival on 27 August. The event was compèred by ABR Deputy Editor, Amy Baillieu, with opening remarks from poet and author Maxine Beneba Clarke.
We are wading out, the five of us. I remember this. The sun an hour or two from melting into the ocean, the slick trail of its gold showing the way we will take ...... (read more)
The Rest is Weight by Jennifer Mills & Tarcutta Wake by Josephine Rowe
I got the call when I was too far away to do anything about it. There was a pile of marking to get through, but that had been the case even before the call....