memoir

Dilan Gunawardana reviews 'Songs of a War Boy' by Deng Thiak Adut and Ben McKelvey

Dilan Gunawardana

Songs are of great importance to the Dinka people of South Sudan. ‘They’re our avatars, and our biographies. They precede us, introduce us, and live on after we die,’ writes the refugee advocate, Archibald muse, and NSW Australian of the Year for 2017, Deng Thiak Adut. His memoir, Songs of a War Boy, serves as a profound if disturbing ballad to his tr ... More

Michael McGirr reviews 'Press Escape' by Shaun Carney

Michael McGirr

You can judge this memoir by its poignant cover. It shows a picture of the author taken in 1966 when he was eight or nine years old. Behind him is one of the accessories of the baby boomer period, a Volkswagen. The Beetle is parked near long grass, redolent of Melbourne’s outer suburban fringe, an area that features prominently in Shaun Carney’s account of his o ... More

Jan McGuinness reviews 'Bob Ellis: In his own words' by Bob Ellis, compiled by Anne Brooksbank

Jan McGuinness

In his introduction to Bob Ellis: In his own words, Bob’s son Jack says of his father that ‘writing was his reason for being ... and through his writing he saw himself in conv More

Kate Ryan reviews 'Freeing Peter: How an ordinary family fought an extraordinary battle' by Juris Greste et al.

Kate Ryan

It seems appropriate in an account of justice thwarted that the name of journalist Peter Greste’s father is Juris. In 2013, Greste, an Al Jazeera journalist, was accused with co More

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen reviews 'Saved to Remember: Raoul Wallenberg, Budapest 1944 and after' by Frank Vajda

Agnes Nieuwenhuizen

'Is the Mystery of Raoul Wallenberg's Death Finally Solved?' asked a headline in Israel's Haaretz newspaper, on 6 August 2016. The New York Times published a similar story ...

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Catherine Noske reviews 'The Hate Race: A memoir' and 'Carrying the World' by Maxine Beneba Clarke

Catherine Noske

Across two new titles, Maxine Beneba Clarke offers an unflinching portrayal of the impact of racism, and transcends form in turning a lens on Australian society ...

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Alexandra Mathew reviews 'Lonely City: Adventures in the art of being alone' by Olivia Laing

Alexandra Mathew

In her mid-thirties, British writer and critic Olivia Laing moved to New York City to live with her partner. When the relationship ended, Laing found herself alone ...

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Kári Gíslason reviews 'Farewell to the Father' by Tim Elliott

Kári Gíslason

One of the claims that is sometimes made for the memoir form is that it gives the author a degree of release from the past. Getting it down on paper can also be about ...

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Michael Winkler reviews 'Position Doubtful: Mapping landscapes and memories' by Kim Mahood

Michael Winkler

At the bottom of one of Kim Mahood's desert watercolours, she scrawled, 'In the gap between two ways of seeing, the risk is that you see nothing clearly.' A risk for ...

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Brian Matthews reviews 'Growing Wild' by Michael Wilding

Brian Matthews

Undaunted by Joseph Furphy's autodidactic complexities and indulgences, A.D. Hope proposed in his 1974 collection,  Native Companions, Essays and Comments on ...

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