Alex Cothren

Care and compassion, a fair go, freedom, honesty, trustworthiness, respect, and tolerance. These were the nine ‘Australian values’ that former Liberal Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson demanded be taught in schools, especially Islamic schools, across the nation in 2005. How? ...

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Alex Cothren reviews 'The Windy Season' by Sam Carmody

Alex Cothren
Friday, 28 October 2016

Boat, pub, boat, pub, boat, pub: in the fictitious Western Australian fishing town of Stark, residents divide their days between these two brutally masculine locales, and ...

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Jack Kerouac spent his elderly years sequestered in a crumbling Mexican hacienda that 'smelt like beer and farts'; his amphetamines replaced with antacids, his octogenarian skin 'the colour and texture of beef jerky'. Never mind that Kerouac actually drank himself to an early death in Florida, because somehow this alternate universe, the starting point of Lynnette L ...

Alex Cothren reviews 'Sing Fox to Me' by Sarah Kanake

Alex Cothren
Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Not a year passes without someone claiming to have stumbled upon the legendary Tasmanian tiger. A flash of stripes, a tawny blur, strange paw prints in the mud; are these genuine sightings or mass hallucinations suffered by a populace whose grief for the extinct icon is stuck in a state of collective denial? 'Tassie loves the tiger now ... this entire country is goi ...

Jo Riccioni's 'The Italians at Cleat's Corner Store

Alex Cothren
Thursday, 27 March 2014

During World War II, billeted Axis POWs were deemed such a threat to the morals of British women that theBritish government enacted legislation proscribing amorous fraternisation. Although these laws were rescinded in the conflict’s aftermath, Jo Riccioni’s début novel demonstrates that the appeal of the foreigner endured, as a family of Italians arrive to disr ...

Alex Cothren reviews 'An Elegant Young Man'

Alex Cothren
Sunday, 19 January 2014

Late in his first collection of anecdotal short stories, Luke Carman’s narrator, also named Luke Carman, realises that the magic in a book he loves, Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, cannot be replicated in his own life. He is stuck in Australia, and ‘Australia is not the place for ecstatic truth.’ Stuck, to be precise, in Sydney’s western suburbs, ...