Essays and Commentary

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'Reason and Lovelessness: Essays, encounters, reviews 1980–2017' by Barry Hill

Patrick McCaughey
24 April 2018

Barry Hill’s collection of essays from the last four decades is commanding and impressive. Few could match his range of subjects: from Tagore to John Berger, Lucian Freud to Christina St More

Morag Fraser reviews 'What Are We Doing Here?: Essays' by Marilynne Robinson

Morag Fraser
24 April 2018

At a recent Passover Seder in Melbourne, I caught the word ‘Gilead’. ‘My favourite book!’ exclaimed the woman opposite me. I was a Catholic guest at a gracious Jewish table, so I w More

'The Oily Ratbag and the Recycled Waratah: Early Years of ABR' by Kerryn Goldsworthy

Kerryn Goldsworthy
29 March 2018

This is issue no. 250, and the twenty-fifth consecutive year, of Australian Book Review. Issue No. 1 appeared in 1978, edited by John McLaren and published by the National Book Co More

Johanna Leggatt reviews 'The Mother of all Questions: Further feminisms' by Rebecca Solnit

Johanna Leggatt
26 March 2018

So much has been written about male–female power dynamics, Trump’s grotesqueries, the public outing of protected abusers, and the growing chorus of women speaking out about sexual hara More

Patrick McCaughey reviews 'The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick' edited by Darryl Pinckney

Patrick McCaughey
26 March 2018

Elizabeth Hardwick is, unfairly, better known outside of New York as Robert Lowell’s second wife, who heroically endured twenty-three years of tumultuous and tortuous marriage. She inspi More

Sarah Holland-Batt reviews 'Feel Free: Essays' by Zadie Smith

Sarah Holland-Batt
26 March 2018

‘When I was younger even the appearance of “I” on the page made me feel a bit ill,’ Zadie Smith confesses in her new book of essays, Feel Free. Shades of this chariness ab More

ABR RAFT Fellowship: 'God and Caesar in Australia' by Paul Collins

Paul Collins
23 February 2018

Like it or lump it, Catholicism is enormously influential in Australia. This is true even just in terms of raw statistics. The Catholic Church is the largest religious body in the country, More

Susan Sheridan reviews 'Elizabeth Harrower: Critical essays' edited by Elizabeth McMahon and Brigitta Olubas

Susan Sheridan
22 February 2018

The appearance in 2014 of In Certain Circles, a new novel from Elizabeth Harrower, was an important literary event. The author, who still lives in Sydney, had published nothing si More

Lucas Thompson reviews 'The Best Australian Essays 2017' edited by Anna Goldsworthy

Lucas Thompson
22 February 2018

It takes only five months for a newt to regrow a lost limb. Skittles and Tic Tacs both made public statements denouncing Donald Trump during the 2016 Presidential race. Psychologists have More

'Picnic at Hanging Rock fifty years on' by Marguerite Johnson

Marguerite Johnson
24 November 2017

Far from being a flimsy, frilly story for women full of antique charm and middle-class manners, Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock is a novel of sharp social observations and nuanced More

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