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Catriona Menzies-Pike

Catriona Menzies-Pike

Catriona Menzies-Pike edited the Sydney Review of Books between 2015 and 2023. She was awarded the Pascall Prize for arts criticism in 2023.

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'Question 7' by Richard Flanagan

November 2023, no. 459 26 October 2023
When Richard Flanagan left school, he tells us early in Question 7, he worked as a chainman or surveyor’s labourer, ‘a job centuries old set to vanish only a few years later with the advent of digital technology’. Chainmen would have followed the surveyors who mapped Van Diemen’s Land and the rest of the British Empire; their task was to ‘drag the twenty-two-yard chain with its hundred ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'Identity Anecdotes: Translation and media culture' by Meaghan Morris

March 2007, no. 289 01 March 2007
In October 2006, the Australian Literary Review published a list of the forty most influential Australian intellectuals, the results of a peer survey undertaken by the Australian Public Intellectual Network. Meaghan Morris ranked seventh, sharing her berth with Tim Costello and Inga Clendinnen. Leaving aside the problems, exclusions, and biases that attend the compilation of such lists, I was hear ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'Fever of Animals' by Miles Allinson

September 2015, no. 374 26 August 2015
Where to start with Fever of Animals? The narrator of Miles Allinson’s début novel is hardly certain where to begin his story. Throughout this curious book, the difficulties of composition are paramount. ‘And what is this book I am supposed to be writing? Am I even writing a book or am I fooling myself, as I fooled myself so many times in the past, when I pretended for such a long time to be ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Life of Houses' by Lisa Gorton

June-July 2015, no. 372 27 May 2015
We meet Kit, a reticent and slightly spoilt teenager, just after her arrival at the train station of an unnamed Victorian seaside town. She has been picked up by her friendly, daggy aunt Treen and taken to the Sea House, a dilapidated nineteenth-century mansion that is a case study in antipodean gothic. Treen lives in the Sea House as a carer and companion to Kit’s grandparents, Audrey and Patr ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Last Pulse' by Anson Cameron

May 2015, no. 371 28 April 2015
‘What’s your favourite way water can be?’, eight-year-old Em asks her father Merv. Em likes waterfalls, but Merv prefers floods. A flood, he explains to Em, ‘is a type of flat waterfall you can ride on. But it’s serious too. It knows where it’s going and it’s determined to get there.’ Mervyn Rossiter, the exasperating, endearing larrikin hero of writer Anson Cameron’s fifth nove ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews 'The Ash Burner' by Kári Gíslason

April 2015, no. 370 26 March 2015
Midway through Kári Gíslason’s début novel, The Ash Burner, Ted, his dreamy, curious narrator, watches Anthony paint Claire. As she strikes angular poses for him, Ted reflects on how he would paint her: ‘I would have waited for the moments when she relaxed that pose and when her outline, the shape of her waist, was allowed to stand uncorrected by art or design.’ Ted casts himself as the ... (read more)

Catriona Menzies-Pike reviews '10:04: A novel' by Ben Lerner

December 2014, no. 367 01 December 2014
In Ben Lerner’s second novel, 10:04, weather maps that promise hurricanes deliver mere showers. The symptoms presented by an ailing human body don’t always yield a diagnosis and the night sky is a mystery. Excavated dinosaur bones can suggest that a creature as wonderful as a brontosaurus might have existed and then, on review, reveal that marvel to have been a fiction all along. It is hard to ... (read more)