Non Fiction

Joel Deane reviews two new titles on Julia Gillard and speculates whether she, like Gough Whitlam before her, has been typecast as martyr.

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Anthony Elliott reviews 'The Life of I'

Anthony Elliott
25 August 2014

It is now approaching eighty-five years since Freud published his seminal book, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). A foundational work of psychoanalytic cultural criticism, Freud’s focus was repression and its cultural consequences. He argued that sexual repression, and its associated guilt, had become the fundamental problem of modern societies. Freu ...

Felicity Plunkett reviews Helen Garner's new book

Felicity Plunkett
25 August 2014

Felicity Plunkett reviews Helen Garner's new book about the Farquharson case and discusses the complex effect love has on human motivation.

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Cassandra Atherton reviews 'Granta 127: Japan'

Cassandra Atherton
23 July 2014

Granta’s recent offering, a special edition devoted to Japan, is a brilliant homage to Japanese wabi sabi. Editor Yuka Igarashi has selected stories and artwork that challenge the tired stereotypes of Nippon to deliver a series of powerful works exploring wabi sabi’s investment in what Andrew Juniper has identified as ‘impermanence, humility, asymmetry ...

Geoff Page reviews 'Radiance'

Geoff Page
23 July 2014

Andy Kissane’s fourth collection, Radiance, is a heartening answer to those who, like publisher Stephen Matthews, lament that ‘many modern poets choose to shroud their work in point-scoring obscurity at a time when clarity and accessibility might encourage more people to read poetry’. Kissane doesn’t address this issue directly, but his book is an imp ...

Sam Zifchak reviews 'Stone Postcard'

Sam Zifchak
23 July 2014

In ‘Painting’s Flatness’, Paul Magee ruefully observes the following: ‘If only surfaces were possible / here in the imagination / just to walk and to touch sincerely the ground.’ This, as the title of the poetry collection suggests, is the essence of Stone Postcard: a poet’s search for stability in the face of exquisite and inscrutable change.

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In Workshopping the Heart, Jeri Kroll brings us a feast of poetry: selections from her seven previous collections, poems from 2005 to 2012, and excerpts from her forthcoming verse novel, Vanishing Point. From 1982 to the present we are able to witness an evolution towards a mature poetic voice as Kroll negotiates her way through life’s various traver ...

Peter Kenneally reviews 'Devadatta’s Poems'

Peter Kenneally
23 July 2014

Seeking perfection or ‘enlightenment’ requires a monastic devotion to the life of the spirit and a rejection of material comforts. Judith Beveridge’s writings about the young Buddha and his cousin Devadatta bring out all the intricacies and contradictions inherent in such a quest.

This new volume, Devadatta’s Poems, holds up a kind of mirror t ...

Jennifer Harrison reviews 'Ecstacies and Elegies'

Jennifer Harrison
23 July 2014

It may seem strange to begin a review of Paul Carter’s extraordinary poetry collection by quoting the words of another writer, but these lines of Boris Pasternak’s – taken from his essay in The Poet’s Work (1989), a collection of writings by twentieth-century poets on their art – seem particularly pertinent:

By its inborn faculty of ...

For all their differences of subject matter and approach (not to mention style), both of these studies can be seen as belonging to the category of what might be termed archaeological history. That is, they are concerned with retrieving and bringing to the surface a gallery of characters and set of important stories and connections which have been either suppressed o ...