Non Fiction

Ben Brooker reviews 'The Impulse Society' by Paul Roberts

Ben Brooker
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Paul Roberts’s The Impulse Society is the latest entry in a now familiar subtype of polemic: that of the society in decline, the symptoms of which run the gamut of Western post-industrialist ills from childhood obesity to the meltdown of global economic markets, and the syndrome of which is, at root, advanced capitalism. The lineage can be traced back throu ...

Carolyn D'Cruz reviews 'What is Veiling?' by Sahar Amer

Carolyn D'Cruz
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

As a child growing up Catholic in the late 1960s, I wore a black lacy veil over my hair to church every Sunday. After losing my religion sometime in my mid-teens, I had forgotten about this veil wearing until I found myself arguing with far too many people about the ‘burqa ban’. The general vitriol, together with the presumptions many people hold about Muslim wo ...

Dina Ross reviews 'Bert' by Graeme Blundell

Dina Ross
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In the world of Australian popular entertainment, few personalities are more prominent than Bert Newton. Since the 1950s he has been a presence on radio and television, as announcer, talk show host, compère, interviewer, and musical comedy star. Love him or loathe him, ‘Old Moonface’ has impressed as much for his ability to survive the ups and downs of showbiz ...

James McNamara reviews 'The Sopranos' by Franco Ricci

James McNamara
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

When we look back at the major cultural achievements of the early twenty-first century, The Sopranos (1999–2004) will surely prowl, thuggish, at the top of the list. Created by David Chase, the HBO drama tells the story of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss who tries to balance the violent demands of his professional life with a more quotidian existence as ...

Shakespeare was commonly regarded by his Romantic admirers as a solitary figure, whose prodigious talents were linked in some mysterious fashion to his isolation from society and from his fellow writers. ‘Shakespeare,’ wrote Coleridge in 1834, ‘is of no age – nor, I might add, of any religion, or party, or profession. The body and substance of his works came ...

Dorothy Driver reviews 'Divided Lives' by Lyndall Gordon

Dorothy Driver
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Two thirds of the way into Lyndall Gordon’s part memoir, part maternal biography, there is an episode of profound risk to the self. At the age of twenty-four, having recently moved from Cape Town to New York, Gordon is being treated for post-partum depression. This is 1966. Electro-convulsive therapy seems not to have helped, and her psychiatrist is urging longer- ...

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Wild' by Libby Hart

Peter Kenneally
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Libby Hart’s new collection is ornate and knotty in a way that the reader would never divine from its cover, which is clear and white, with ‘wild’ in plain green typescript. It is essentially a bestiary, with birds of all kinds, as well as other creatures, including humans, in wild places, blown by winds and salt spray, or bringing wildness to ‘settled’ hu ...

Bridget Vincent reviews 'Broken Hierarchies' by Geoffrey Hill

Bridget Vincent
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

In his November 2010 lecture delivered as Oxford Professor of Poetry, Geoffrey Hill tested the idea that poetry might constitute a form of perjury. He acknowledged that ‘this is a deeply pessimistic view: many would say anachronistic’. Showing that language is an imperfect and even fallen medium which presents moral hazards to its users was not, however, the ses ...

Geoff Page reviews 'Selected Poems' by Evan Jones

Geoff Page
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Evan Jones’s Selected Poems is more than timely: its author was born in 1931. In an introduction (or ‘Personal Appreciation’), fellow Melbourne poet Alex Skovroncomplains that ‘Evan’s work has not always received the attention it deserves, especially in recent years’. It is worth pausing a moment to consider why this should be so.

Jones is ...

Carolyn Holbrook reviews 'Hell-Bent' by Douglas Newton

Carolyn Holbrook
Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Reading about the ‘khaki election’ of 1914 in Douglas Newton’s Hell-Bent evokes a sense of déjà vu in 2014, as Australia embarks on another war in the Middle East. During the campaign of 1914, Prime Minister Joseph Cook and Labor leader Andrew Fisher jostled to prove their loyalty to Britain and their enthusiasm for the impending war. Fisher’s effor ...

Page 3 of 57