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Julieanne Lamond

Lohrey by Julieanne Lamond

September 2022, no. 446

The Labyrinth begins with a woman walking through her childhood home – a decommissioned asylum. In middle age she moves to a run-down house by a wild and dangerous sea, where she notes her vivid and prophetic dreams. The house is convenient because she needs to be close to her son, an imprisoned artist. She befriends a stonemason who offers to carve her a gargoyle (which she refuses). Together they design and build her version of a labyrinth, a prayer or meditation path most famously realised in the great medieval cathedral of Chartres, although Lohrey’s antipodean labyrinth is not a homage to the Chartres labyrinth, or an imitation.

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The novels of Gail Jones present a challenge to would-be critics. Jones being a formidable scholar in her own right, her eight novels to date pose sophisticated philosophical questions within their elegantly structured narratives. Her novels canvass aspects of human experience that are murky and complex: these are often forms of familial or romantic relationship shaped by loss, both personal and historical. The challenge for critics is that the novels are themselves thinking about the potential of fiction to do this kind of philosophical or ethical work. In this sense, Jones might seem to be one step ahead of the scholar who takes her work as their subject. Inner and Outer Worlds, a collection of essays edited by Anthony Uhlmann, steps up to this challenge.

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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 ...