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Jo Case

Jo Case

Jo Case is senior writer/editor for the Wheeler Centre. Her previous roles have included editor of Readings Monthly, the newsletter for Readings Books & Music, books editor of The Big Issue, co-editor of their annual fiction edition, and associate editor of Kill Your Darlings. Her reviews, essays and opinion pieces have been published in The Age, The Australian, and The Sydney Morning Herald, and her short stories have been published in the Sleepers Almanac and Best Australian Stories. Her first book, Boomer and Me: A memoir of motherhood, and Asperger’s, was published by Hardie Grant in Australia (April 2013).

Jo Case reviews 'From Under a Leaky Roof: Afghan refugees in Australia' by Phil Sparrow

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
Phil Sparrow lived and worked as a UN aid worker in pre-9/11 Afghanistan for nearly three years. Evacuated when the country was attacked by the US, he returned to Australia and worked as an interpreter for Afghan refugees in Australia. In this book, Sparrow writes about his experiences in Afghanistan and Australia, and his reading of the Australian government’s response to refugees, particularly ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Cleanskin' by Gay Lynch

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
Desperate Housewives, eat your heart out. This warm slice of smalltown gothic simmers with barely disguised marital discord, traumatic childhoods, eating disorders, bed-hopping and maternal angst – all centred around a playgroup in the South Australian town of Port Lincoln. Bitchy Madelaine, insecure Danica, sniffy Pauline, downtrodden Jo and earth-mother Nell have little in common but their chi ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Addition' by Toni Jordan

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2008
Addition is a trojan horse of a novel. It has a cutesy cover (featuring amorous toothbrushes), a kooky love story and a ‘hot’, wisecracking blonde heroine. There is a ‘hunky’ Irish love interest, Seamus O’Reilly, and a push-pull attraction of opposites between the romantic leads – whose first meeting, of course, is a witty war of words. But the heroine, Grace Vandenberg, is no ditsy Br ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'The Unexpected Elements of Love' by Kate Legge

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
The world conjured by first-time novelist and veteran journalist Kate Legge in The Unexpected Elements of Love is disturbingly familiar. It is peopled by frantic working mothers, lonely single women battling the biological clock, ageing couples ‘rowing against the tide’ of dementia and ill health, and sensitive small children swallowing pill-packed marshmallows for ADHD, all set against the ba ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews ‘Dissection’ by Jacinta Halloran

November 2008, no. 306 01 November 2008
Dissection was recently launched by Helen Garner, who described it as a novel like no other she had read. This impressive first novel is indeed astonishingly polished. Like Garner’s The Spare Room (2008), it dissects morally complex issues of life and death with a deceptively simple touch, using telling domestic detail to bring its characters and settings vividly to life on the page. The prose i ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews ‘The World Beneath’ by Cate Kennedy

September 2009, no. 314 01 September 2009
Cate Kennedy’s début collection, Dark Roots (2006), marked a change in publishers’ thinking about the commercial potential of short stories, and helped create the atmosphere in which Nam Le was signed up for his bestselling collection, The Boat (2008). Kennedy was well known in literary circles before her book was published; she has won several of Australia’s leading short story competitio ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews '88 Lines About 44 Women' by Steven Lang

October 2009, no. 315 01 October 2009
In an intriguing coincidence, three recent novels by notable male writers feature central characters who, former members of world-famous rock bands, ruminate on the mess they made of the past. The notion of faded rock stars clearly provides much scope for exploring issues of male ego, sexuality and mid-life crisis. Unlike Nick Hornby (Juliet Naked) and Nick Earls (The Story of Butterfish), Steven ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'Indelible Ink' by Fiona McGregor

June 2010, issue no. 322 01 June 2010
In the May issue of ABR, a new Australian novel was praised as being ‘a respite from the anodyne family dramas that seem to plague contemporary commercial publishing’. Of course, there are plenty of uninspiring domestic novels on bookshop shelves – just as there are uninspiring examples of every kind of novel – but when done well, contemporary family drama can be the opposite of anodyne, s ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'The House at Number 10' by Dorothy Johnston

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Canberra-based Dorothy Johnston is an accomplished writer who has twice been short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award. Her talent for spare, casually evocative prose and slyly complex characters shines through in this surprisingly elegant novel about a single mother who turns to prostitution to earn a living. ‘Trick lit’ is a popular, almost tired, genre at the moment, but The House at Numbe ... (read more)

Jo Case reviews 'The War over Work: The Future of Work and Family' by Don Edgar

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Debates about the balance between life and work are currently running hot in the media, government and the publishing world. Don Edgar, foundation director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, delivers a passionately argued and engagingly written analysis of the various issues currently affecting work culture and the family. He focuses on women juggling motherhood and work, the masculine ... (read more)
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