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Paul Dalgarno

Paul Dalgarno

Paul Dalgarno is the author of And You May Find Yourself and Poly. His latest novel, A Country of Eternal Light, will be published in February 2023, followed by Prudish Nation in June.  He has written for The Guardian, Australian Book Review and many others. He posts about books on Instagram as @narrativefriction.

Paul Dalgarno reviews 'The Women of Little Lon: Sex workers in nineteenth-century Melbourne' by Barbara Minchinton

December 2021, no. 438 25 October 2021
We routinely think of the past as a subtext of the present, but in The Women of Little Lon Barbara Minchinton flips this around. She aims not only to ‘dismantle the myths and counter misinformation and deliberate distortions’ about sex workers in nineteenth-century Melbourne, but – in an explicitly #MeToo context – to ‘reduce the stigma attached to the work today’ while heightening our ... (read more)

Paul Dalgarno reviews 'Permafrost' by S.J. Norman

November 2021, no. 437 28 September 2021
Ambiguity, done well, has a bifurcating momentum that can floor you. The late Argentinian writer Julio Cortázar, a master of unsettling short stories shot through with ambiguity, knew this and used it to pugilistic advantage, declaring that ‘the novel wins by points, the short story by knockout’. Ambiguity is likewise central to S.J. Norman’s début collection, Permafrost, seven eerily affe ... (read more)

Paul Dalgarno reviews 'Imaginative Possession: Learning to live in the Antipodes' by Belinda Probert

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Wanting to belong forms the root system of Belinda Probert’s Imaginative Possession, marking the terrain – how can she, as an immigrant, ever feel at home in Australia? – and producing shoots of longing for the landscapes of her English childhood. Even now, forty-five years after arriving in Perth to take up a teaching position at Murdoch University, after which she lived briefly in Adelaide ... (read more)

Paul Dalgarno reviews 'My Year of Living Vulnerably: A rediscovery of love' by Rick Morton

May 2021, no. 431 22 April 2021
In Creating a Character (1990), acting coach Moni Yakim urges students to explore their vulnerability, arguing that, while we admire Superman for lifting buildings, we become emotionally invested only when he’s faced with Kryptonite. It’s ironic, Yakim writes, that vulnerability is simultaneously ‘the one quality a person is most likely to conceal’ and the one that ‘most allows an audien ... (read more)

Paul Dalgarno reviews 'Women, Men and the Whole Damn Thing' by David Leser

September 2019, no. 414 09 August 2019
Australian journalist and author David Leser’s 2018 Good Weekend article, ‘Women, men and the whole damn thing’, sparked a wildfire of commentary, confession, and praise. Written in the early white heat of the #MeToo movement, the Harvey Weinstein exposé, and Oprah Winfrey’s 2018 Golden Globes speech in which she spoke out on behalf of the Time’s Up campaign, it crackled with questions ... (read more)