Essays and Commentary

2017 Calibre Essay Prize (winner): 'Salt Blood'

Michael Adams
25 May 2017

It is quiet and cool and dark blue. At this depth the pressure on my body is double what it is at the surface: my heartbeat has slowed, blood has started to withdraw from my extremities an More

Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'The Legacies of Bernard Smith: Essays on Australian Art, history and cultural politics' edited by Jaynie Anderson, Christopher R. Marshall, and Andrew Yip

Andrew Fuhrmann
30 April 2017

A persistent fascination attaches to those who help break the new wood, and so it is with Bernard Smith (1916–2011). His contribution is foundational to the study of the arts in Australia. Smith was for more than sixty years the country’s leading art historian, but he was also an educator, curator, newspaper critic, collector, memoirist, and biographer. Even as ... More

David McCooey reviews 'The Pleasures of Leisure' by Robert Dessaix

David McCooey
28 April 2017

The Last Resort (1986), a photobook by Martin Parr, includes a photograph of a woman sunbaking in the English seaside resort of New Brighton. The woman is lying, facedown and topl More

Jennifer Levasseur reviews 'A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women: Essays on art, sex, and the mind' by Siri Hustvedt

Jennifer Levasseur
21 December 2016

Siri Hustvedt revels in ambiguity, the in-between places where the certainties of fact fray. In her idea-driven novels such as  ...

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Andrew Fuhrmann reviews 'Quicksilver' by Nicolas Rothwell

Andrew Fuhrmann
29 November 2016

Quicksilver begins in magniloquence, like the prophet Isaiah. It was the cold midwinter season, we are told, when Nicolas Rothwell began his days of journeying, driving west from Papunya in the Northern Territory towards Marble Bar in Western Australia. ‘The roads were empty: for the best part of a week I saw no trace of man and his works.’ As he drove, ... More

Peter Craven reviews 'The Boy Behind the Curtain' by Tim Winton

Peter Craven
23 November 2016

Everybody thinks they know about Tim Winton: the working-class hero from the West; the whale of a man who’s been writing since he was a boy; the master of one of ...

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Satendra Nandan reviews 'In other words: Forty years of essays' by Goenawan Mohamad, translated by Jennifer Lindsay

Satendra Nandan
24 August 2016

Goenawan Mohamad has been a formidable Indonesian journalist for half a century, chiefly as the founder and editor of the weekly Tempo. He is also the ...

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Patrick Allington reviews 'A Long Time Coming: Essays on old age' by Melanie Joosten

Patrick Allington
24 August 2016

Melanie Joosten begins the introduction to A Long Time Coming, her book of essays about ageing, by quoting Simone de Beauvoir: 'let us recognise ourselves ...

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Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Abundance' by Annie Dillard

Kevin Rabalais
22 August 2016

Read a few of the essays or chapter excerpts in Annie Dillard's The Abundance, and you might find yourself writing a letter to the author. Part of that letter might look like ...

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'How do we live with ourselves? The Australian national conscience' by Alan Atkinson

Alan Atkinson
22 August 2016

When Australian federation was being planned and its implications first worked through, various men and women with agendas of their own set themselves ...

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