John Hanrahan

John Hanrahan was a freelance writer and critic.

'Abbreviations' by John Hanrahan

May 1986, no. 80 08 August 2022
For part of my life I lived for many years in a monastery. Singing, particularly of plain chant, was important, and the monastery was divided, with a monastic, unworldly sense of the implication of its metaphors, into ‘the choir’ and ‘the scrubbers’. I excelled. Whatever vocation I had, it certainly included being an eternal scrubber. For many years I spent fifteen minutes a day with a pat ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'A.D. Hope' by Kevin Hart, 'James McAuley' by Lyn McCredden, 'Peter Porter' by Peter Steele, 'Reconnitres' by Margaret Harris and Elizabeth Webby, and 'Annals of Australian Literature' by Joy Hooton and Harry Heseltine

December 1992, no. 147 18 July 2022
A.D. Hope by Kevin Hart OUP, $14.95pb Oxford University Press has begun a welcome series called Australian Writers. Two further titles, Imre Salusinszky on Gerald Murnane and Ivor Indyk on David Malouf, will appear in March next year and eleven more books are in preparation. Though I find the first three uneven in quality, they make a very promising start to a series. In some ways they resemble ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'A Place in the City' by Edmund Campion

November 1994, no. 166 01 November 1994
John Hanrahan reviews 'A Place in the City' by Edmund Campion
The ‘place in the city’ of Fr Edmund Campion’s latest pilgrimage into Australian Catholic life and history is St Mary’s cathedral, Sydney. Campion spent six years here as a young-priest working in the shadow of both the cathedral and the august Normal Cardinal Gilroy. Campion sets himself to become the Victor Hugo of Australia’s Notre Dame and he keeps returning to the cathedral as a fo ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'A.D. Hope' by Kevin Hart, 'James McAuley' by Lyn McCredden, 'Peter Porter' by Peter Steele, 'Reconnoitres' edited by Margaret Harris & Elizabeth Webby, 'Annals of Australian Literature' edited by Joy Hooton & Harry Heseltine

December 1992, no. 147 01 December 1992
Oxford University Press has begun a welcome series called Australian Writers. Two further titles, Imre Salusinszky on Gerald Murnane and Ivor Indyk on David Malouf, will appear in March 1993, and eleven more books are in preparation. Though I find the first three uneven in quality, they make a very promising start to a series. In some ways they resemble Oliver and Boyd’s excellent series, Writer ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Broken Dreams' by Bill Dodd

September 1992, no. 144 01 September 1992
John Hanrahan reviews 'Broken Dreams' by Bill Dodd
In 1983, Bill Dodd was nearly eighteen when he dived into a river and nearly lost his life. Dodd warns against diving carelessly into waterholes: ‘It can give you a lot of unnecessary hassles, take it from me.’ This laconic understatement is characteristic of Dodd’s account of his life. He is now a quadriplegic confined to a wheelchair for life. Yet, without straining credibility, Dodd manag ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'The Best of Max Harris: 21 years of browsing' by Max Harris

February–March 1986, no. 78 01 February 1986
John Hanrahan reviews 'The Best of Max Harris: 21 years of browsing' by Max Harris
Max Harris must be an important cultural figure. Max Harris keeps saying he is. He also notes that Rupert Murdoch thinks he is. Now Harris has published just over two hundred pages of ‘The Best of Max Harris’, subtitled ‘21 Years of Browsing’, thirty six pieces from the Australian. I pass over in almost-silence the implication that Max is only at his best when writing for Rupert. And maybe ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Moments of Pleasure' by Julian Davies

October 1994, no. 165 01 October 1994
John Hanrahan reviews 'Moments of Pleasure' by Julian Davies
Beatrice Wood, banished by those around her to ‘the category of the aged’, is both the focus and the strength of Julian Davies’s third novel, Moments of Pleasure. Choosing to live her life as a single woman, she has been the unforgiven Magdalene of her family because for fifty years she has been the lover of Mark, a man twice married. A dapper moustache of a man, Mark drifts in and out of bo ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'Lily on the Dustbin: Slang of Australian women and families' by Nancy Keesing

December 1982–January 1983, no. 47 01 December 1982
John Hanrahan reviews 'Lily on the Dustbin: Slang of Australian women and families' by Nancy Keesing
Do you know the meaning of (or do you use?) ‘white leghorn day’, ‘five finger discount’, ‘beating the gun with an APC’? When a woman ‘chucks a bridge’ what is she doing? Have you come across ‘scarce as rocking-horse shit’, or ‘easy as pee-the-bed-awake’ or ‘tight as a fish’s bum and that’s watertight’ or ‘The streets are full of sailors and not a whore in the hous ... (read more)

John Hanrahan reviews 'The Comfort of Men' by Dennis Altman

February–March 1993, no. 148 01 February 1993
John Hanrahan reviews 'The Comfort of Men' by Dennis Altman
Where women lead, men generally have the sense to follow. Eventually. Feminist fiction, lesbian fiction have developed ahead of gay fiction in Australia. This is one of the many ideas acknowledged or explored in Dennis Altman’s welcome addition to literature about homosexual relationships. Central to the novel are the various ways in which the personal explodes in to the political. The time is ... (read more)

'Abbreviations' by John Hanrahan

February–March 1986, no. 78 01 February 1986
'Abbreviations' by John Hanrahan
Melbourne has Moomba and Melbourne Cup week. Sydney and Perth have cultural festivals. And so, pre-eminently, does Adelaide. Even from the backblocks of Melbourne, Adelaide Writers’ Week stirs up a real thrill. In this issue, Andrew Taylor has written an informative and extremely interesting account of the experiences of Writers’ Week, to which he has contributed so much over the years. Writer ... (read more)
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