Francesca Sasnaitis

Francesca Sasnaitis was recently awarded a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia.

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone' by Benjamin Stevenson

May 2022, no. 442 23 April 2022
Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone' by Benjamin Stevenson
Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven series (1949–63) was my induction into crime reading. I was smitten with the secret society of children who set out to solve mysteries and right wrongs despite adults’ disbelief and objections. As a teen, I graduated to Agatha Christie and Arthur Upfield (in the 1970s, we were still unaware how offensive his depiction of Detective Inspector Napoleon ‘Bony’ Bona ... (read more)

'The View From Here': A momentous celebration of WA art

ABR Arts 07 December 2021
'The View From Here': A momentous celebration of WA art
The opening weekend of The View from Here at the refurbished Art Gallery of Western Australia (AGWA) happened to coincide with the Perth International Jazz Festival. The city was abuzz with crowds enjoying long delayed sunny skies and free open-air jazz concerts. Scaffolding had disappeared from AGWA’s façade just in time. ... (read more)

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'She Is Haunted' by Paige Clark, 'The Kindness of Birds' by Merlinda Bobis, and 'Ferocious Animals' by Luke Johnson

December 2021, no. 438 23 November 2021
She Is Haunted by Paige ClarkAllen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 264 pp Paige Clark’s She Is Haunted opens with the story ‘Elizabeth Kübler-Ross’, a title that alludes to the five stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance – that inform the rest of her début collection. Clark doesn’t explain why the narrator feels anxious about the survival of her unborn ... (read more)

'2021 Perth International Jazz Festival': A heady weekend of jazz in WA

ABR Arts 11 November 2021
'2021 Perth International Jazz Festival': A heady weekend of jazz in WA
In 1961, Ornette Coleman was scheduled to play in Cincinnati. According to one story, the concert turned into a near-riot after patrons refused to pay, having observed the marquee out front billing the performance as ‘Free Jazz’. Whether apocryphal or not, it goes to the heart of the long-running confusion about jazz terminology. Free jazz, of course, refers to the experimental or avant-garde ... (read more)

'Animal Farm': Van Badham’s adaptation of George Orwell’s novel

ABR Arts 11 October 2021
'Animal Farm': Van Badham’s adaptation of George Orwell’s novel
The birds are twittering and tweeting (all puns intended) on Manor Farm. Industrial scaffolding leads up to a platform that cuts the minimalist set in two. The same metal barriers that are used to corral the crowds waiting for Covid-19 vaccinations criss-cross the floor of the stage. ‘Breaking News’ flashes across the cinema-sized screen that looms over what will soon be renamed ‘Animal Farm ... (read more)

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen: Travels with my grandmother’s ashes' by Krissy Kneen

May 2021, no. 431 27 April 2021
Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen: Travels with my grandmother’s ashes' by Krissy Kneen
The Three Burials of Lotty Kneen begins like a fable, the story of a poor family that wins the lotto and moves to a remote Queensland location to make fairy-tale characters for a tourist attraction called Dragonhall. There should be a happy ending, but there isn’t. The family’s undisputed matriarch is Lotty Kneen, or Dragica, as she was once known. She says the name means ‘dragon’, but Dr ... (read more)

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'No Document' by Anwen Crawford

April 2021, no. 430 23 March 2021
Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'No Document' by Anwen Crawford
I have been made by what was done, by what gets done, what I have made, and I can’t redeem one part of this. No Document begins with a description of the opening sequence of Georges Franju’s Le Sang des bêtes (Blood of the Beasts, 1949) in which a horse is led to slaughter – a significant misremembering that Anwen Crawford rectifies later. Franju’s black-and-white documentary actuall ... (read more)

Oklahoma! (Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA)

ABR Arts 07 December 2020
Oklahoma! (Black Swan State Theatre Company of WA)
Musicals remind me of watching midday movies with my grandmother in the days of black-and-white television. Years later, the revelation that many of these films were actually in colour seemed antithetical to the moral certainties they depicted. In Oklahoma!, Rogers and Hammerstein’s first Broadway collaboration (1943), virtue triumphs over villainy, the good guy gets the girl, and the girl gets ... (read more)

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Time of Our Lives: Growing older well' by Robert Dessaix

October 2020, no. 425 24 September 2020
Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'The Time of Our Lives: Growing older well' by Robert Dessaix
In the garden of a hotel twenty minutes from Yogyakarta, a group of hopeful, middle-aged Westerners gyrate anxiously to the strains of LaBelle’s greatest hit. Unlike their young Balinese instructor, they are fighting a losing battle. Why bother? Robert Dessaix wonders. Next morning, his travelling companion answers in her husky smoker’s growl, ‘It’s death they’re afraid of – or at leas ... (read more)

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Fortune' by Lenny Bartulin

October 2019, no. 415 03 September 2019
Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Fortune' by Lenny Bartulin
Fortune begins with Napoleon’s triumphant entry into Berlin on 27 October 1806. Does it matter whether the popular image of the emperor astride a magnificent white stallion is an embellishment? ‘Time sullies every truth,’ Lenny Bartulin tells us. History is as much a fiction as this tale of derring-do and dire misfortune heaped on innocent and wicked alike. Coincidence, improbable and highly ... (read more)
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