Bernard Cohen reviews 'horse' by Ania Walwicz

Bernard Cohen reviews 'horse' by Ania Walwicz


by Ania Walwicz

UWA Publishing, $24.99 pb, 192 pp, 9781742589893

Virtuosic performance text, palimpsest of a nineteenth-century Russian folktale, and a merciless and often very funny sectioning of the self, Ania Walwicz’s horse enacts what it names: ‘Polyphony as identity’. The narrative more or less follows the story of The Little Humpbacked Horse by Piotr Jerszow, in which a magical horse repeatedly helps Ivan, a foolish young farm boy, towards his fairy-tale ending. In Walwicz’s wilder and more fragmentary retelling, the protagonist’s identity comprises both horse and rider, tsar and groom, tyrant and the tyrannised, abused child and academic, the self of fiction and the ‘autobiographical’. The effect is almost Cubist, in that all of these facets are visible without becoming a settled, realist literary image.

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Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen

Bernard Cohen is a Sydney-based writer and director of The Writing Workshop. His latest book, the story collection When I Saw the Animal (UQP), was published in September 2018. Bernard’s last novel, The Antibiography of Robert F. Menzies, won the 2015 Russell Prize for Humour Writing. His poem 'Fruit Barn' was shortlisted for the 2018 Overland Fair Australia Poetry Prize. For Bernard’s writing, see For his teaching, please visit

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