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Andrea Goldsmith

Andrea Goldsmith is a Melbourne-based novelist and reviewer. Her novels include The Prosperous Thief (2002), which was short-listed for the Miles Franklin, the acclaimed Reunion, and The Memory Trap (2013), a novel of monuments, marriage, and music, awarded the Melbourne Prize in 2015. She also writes essays and articles, many of which are posted on her website.

La Trobe University Essay | Homer and the Holocaust by Andrea Goldsmith

November 2002, no. 246 01 November 2002
I am reading Robert Fagles’s translation of the Iliad (Penguin, $26pb, 0 14 027536 3). Achilles is sulking in his ships while the Trojans and Achaeans slaughter each other. Choreographing the moves with astonishing wilfulness are the self-serving, all-powerful gods. The brilliance of the poetry keeps the brutality always in the high beam. Every spear thrust, every disembowelment, every spillage ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'A Family History of Smoking' by Andrew Riemer

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 June 2008
A Family History of Smoking, the most recent of Andrew Riemer’s memoirs, focuses on the world of his great-grandparents, his grandparents, and his parents. In so doing, it traces Hungary from the days of the Austro-Hungarian empire and its collapse at the end of the Great War, on through the brief springtime of the 1930s and the chaos of displacement and destruction of World War II. It is a rich ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'A Reader on Reading' by Alberto Manguel

May 2010, no. 321 01 May 2010
During 2007 I became enamoured of podcasting. The Canadian Broadcasting Commission’s Big Ideas and Elaine Wachtel’s Writers and Company were among my favourite programs and I would podcast these each week, irrespective of the topic or the interviewee. Thus I heard Alberto Manguel’s CBC Massey Lectures, a series of five wonderful presentations collectively titled ‘The City of Words’. It w ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'Marcel Proust' by Michael Wood

November 2023, no. 459 24 September 2023
In 1981, Terence Kilmartin’s revision of C.K. Scott Moncrieff’s 1920s English translation of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu was published. Against Kilmartin’s wishes, the new edition retained the unfortunate title of Remembrance of Things Past, but in all other respects the Kilmartin version significantly corrected and enhanced the Moncrieff translation.1 This became my Proust, an ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'Best of Friends' by Kamila Shamsie

October 2022, no. 447 27 September 2022
During the pandemic lockdowns in the world’s most locked-down city, I made a survey of the reading habits of friends and acquaintances. While nineteenth-century classics were popular – Austen and Dickens were favourites, Tolstoy too, and Middlemarch – realist fiction, in general, dominated the reading choices. Among Australian writers were Christina Stead, Jessica Anderson, and Heather Rose. ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'Burning Questions: Essays and occasional pieces, 2004–2021' by Margaret Atwood

May 2022, no. 442 23 April 2022
Earlier this year, while still much occupied with our works in progress, Drusilla Modjeska and I discussed what our next projects might be. We were both tempted to put together a collection of our shorter writings – essays, talks, reviews, articles – already written and just needing a touch up. ‘Money for nothing and your books for free,’ I said, echoing the old Dire Straits song – albei ... (read more)

National Library Australia Voices Essay | 'Flesh and blood imagination' by Andrea Goldsmith

May 1994, no. 160 01 May 1994
On a weekend when the Melbourne Age and the Australian could muster barely three book pages between them and only one review of a work of fiction, I went to an exhibition of Juan Davila’s recent work. The paintings were visceral, fierce, transgressive, shocking. Here was art disdainful of demands for beauty, art that took the notion of aesthetics into the dungeons of the mind. And it set me on e ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'The Shape of Sound' by Fiona Murphy

April 2021, no. 430 23 March 2021
More than twenty-five years ago, I wrote an essay on the work of Oliver Sacks (Island Magazine, Autumn 1993). Entitled ‘Anthropologist of Mind’, it ranged across several of Sacks’s books; but it was Seeing Voices, published in 1989, that was the main impetus for the essay. In Seeing Voices, Sacks explored American deaf communities, past and present. He exposed the stringent and often punishi ... (read more)

'A tribute to Dorothy Porter' by Andrea Goldsmith

December 2018, no. 407 27 November 2018
I heard the Egypt story countless times, but then Dorothy Porter believed that if a story was worth telling, it warranted multiple retellings. In the late 1980s, before Dot and I met, she visited Egypt to gather material for her verse novel Akhenaten (1992). In Cairo, she joined a tour group taking in the major historical sights. Dot was, by this time, steeped in the life and times of the visionar ... (read more)

Andrea Goldsmith reviews 'Elements of Surprise: Our mental limits and the satisfactions of plot' by Vera Tobin

August 2018, no. 403 26 July 2018
On the dust jacket of Elements of Surprise is the well-known picture by John Tenniel, illustrator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865), depicting Alice gazing up at the grinning Cheshire Cat perched on a branch of a tree. I felt very much like Alice while reading Vera Tobin’s book, as if I had fallen into a world in which the rules, concepts, and vocabulary were completely alien to my ow ... (read more)
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