Non Fiction

With James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch grinning smugly on its cover, Killing Fairfax: Packer, Murdoch and the Ultimate Revenge projects a strong message that they are indeed the company’s smiling assassins. Pamela Williams mounts a case that these scions of Australia’s traditional media families ...

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In A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (2000), novelist Dave Eggers recounts the horror of losing both his parents within one year, leaving him and his sister as sole carers of their young brother. Eggers recalls the intense pain of being orphaned at the age of twenty-one, but also the frustration and acute resentment at having to grow up too fast ...

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Virginia Lloyd reviews 'Profits of Doom' by Antony Loewenstein

Virginia Lloyd
Wednesday, 02 October 2013

One of the literary legacies of the financial crisis is a type of travel writing focused on the local social, economic, and environmental effects of unfettered global capitalism. There are two types of such books. Michael Lewis is perhaps the best known and most widely read author of the first kind ...

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Susan Lever reviews 'Antipodes, Vol. 27, No.1'

Susan Lever
Monday, 30 September 2013

No matter what the state of local publishing of Australian literature and criticism, twice a year the loyal members of AAALS continue to produce the readable and enlightening Antipodes. The June 2013 issue includes some splendid poetry by Tom Shapcott, Jan Owen, and Ali Alizadeh, and several less well-known names, and a mix of stories that move beyond f ...

Jo Scanlan reviews 'The Boy Colonel' by Will Davies

Jo Scanlan
Monday, 30 September 2013

So many Australian scholars and writers stand tall alongside C.E.W. Bean that you have to wonder: is there much more that can be said about World War I? Well, no. And yes. Almost one hundred years on, writers such as battlefield historian Will Davies continue to seek illumination through unfamiliar characters and fresh angles. Such is his intention in his latest book, The Boy Colonel ...

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Carmel Macdonald Grahame on 'Westerly 58:1'

Carmel Macdonald Grahame
Monday, 30 September 2013

Westerly’s descriptive subtitle (‘the best in writing from the West’) is a modest claim given its national and international reach. A feast of poetry includes offerings by familiar locals like Kevin Gillam, Andrew Lansdown, and Shane McCauley alongside poets such as Kevin Hart and Knute Skinner.There are translations of Xi’an ...

Simon Caterson on 'Melbourne: City of Words'

Simon Caterson
Monday, 30 September 2013

To judge by John McLaren’s thought-provoking survey of 200 years of writing about Melbourne, the city’s most insidious negative feature for many observers – wrong-headed though they may be – is dullness. In George Johnston’s My Brother Jack (1964), the narrator David Meredith rails against the suburbs as ‘worse than slums. They betrayed noth ...

Gay Bilson reviews 'Cooked'

Gay Bilson
Monday, 30 September 2013

If Michael Pollan were a terminal illness, I’d be in the fourth stage of grieving. He has had a brilliant and successful run until now, producing seven books in just over twenty years, taking up a university teaching position (yes, food-related), writing long articles, mostly for the New York Times, and all the while cooking and thinking his way to se ...

Dennis Haskell reviews 'The Local Wildlife'

Dennis Haskell
Monday, 30 September 2013

Pre-teen and early teen years had me and many others enjoying Ross Campbell’s witty column in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper about the goings-on in ‘Oxalis Cottage’, a fictionalised version of his Sydney home. Robert Drewe’s often hilarious columns for The Age and The Weekend West are a kind of modern equivalent, and a selection of ...

Stephen Buckle on 'The Philosopher, the Priest, and the Painter'

Stephen Buckle
Friday, 27 September 2013

In this short and accessible book, Steven Nadler, an accomplished historian of seventeenth-century philosophy, turns his attention to René Descartes (1596–1650) and his cultural milieu in Holland in the 1630s and 1640s. His angle of approach is to take the familiar portrait of Descartes, attributed to Frans Hals – versions of which grace the covers of the ...

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