memoir

Doug Wallen reviews 'Road Series' by Hugo Race

Doug Wallen

The dislocation of international travel often prompts spontaneous moments of clarity, sparking a renewed awareness of where one is at in life. Stepping out from well-established comfort zones forces us to take stock, whether we like it or not. Australian singer–songwriter Hugo Race details his own scathing scrutiny of his life choices throughout Road SeriesMore

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Boy on the Tricycle' by Marcel Weyland and 'The May Beetles' by Baba Schwartz

Gillian Dooley

Memoirs of Eastern European children of the 1920s could hardly be more different than this pair. The old age Marcel Weyland describes in The Boy on the Tricycle is a happy outcome for a boy who fled the Nazis. 'Fortunately,' he writes, 'I quite like what I am.' Before World War II, he describes 'a fairly typically, affluent, middle-European and middle-class ... More

Rachel Robertson reviews 'Dying: A memoir' by Cory Taylor

Rachel Robertson

We must all die, but many of us live as though we don't know this fact. When death comes close to us or our loved ones, we may feel totally unprepared. The distance from death many of us feel in Australia is a relatively new phenomenon, made possible by prosperity, improved health care, and the development of residential care facilities. Dying used to be accompanied ... More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Whisperings in the Blood: A memoir' by Shelley Davidow

Francesca Sasnaitis

Shelley Davidow's multi-generational memoir begins in 1913 with her Jewish great-grandfather Jacob escaping the pogroms of tsarist Lithuania for the rigours of life in the American Midwest. The English language eludes Jacob, who struggles to make a decent living in his adopted country. Poverty contributes to his wife's untimely death. Jacob's son and daughter are co ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'Enemy: A daughter's story of how her father brought the Vietnam War home' by Ruth Clare

Carol Middleton

Growing up with a violent and controlling father who served in the Vietnam War may be a familiar story, but Ruth Clare's memoir takes us deeper, into the mind of the child and her day-to-day reality, where she is constantly primed for her father's next act of cruelty. Resembling a novel in its sensory detail and riveting narrative, Enemy recreates life in R ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'The Long Run' by Catriona Menzies-Pike

Gillian Dooley

When I heard that there was a new book out on why women run, I assumed I would be reading about women fleeing domestic horrors rather than running marathons. Such a reaction might make Catriona Menzies-Pike sigh with frustration, and the cultural myopia which gave rise to my unthinking assumption is one of the reasons she wrote this book. 'I'd read a lot of books ab ... More

Daniel Juckes reviews 'H is for Hawk' by Helen Macdonald

Daniel Juckes

After fiddling with the bits of leather designed to curtail a newly bought goshawk, T.H. White grumbled that 'It has never been easy to learn life from books' (The Goshawk, 1963). Helen Macdonald says the same thing, twice: all the books in piles on her desk, designed to help her deal with grief, cannot 'taxonomise the process, order it, make it sensible'. ... More

Simon Caterson reviews 'Journey to Horseshoe Bend' by T.G.H. Strehlow

Simon Caterson

First published in 1969 and out of print for nearly forty years, Journey to Horsehoe Bend is a literary classic that envisions an Australian epic on a grand scale. That epical potential was recognised by composer Andrew Schultz and librettist Gordon Kalton Williams, whose cantata adapted from the book had its world première in 2004.

JourneyMore

Ian Britain reviews 'Worlds Apart' by David Plante

Ian Britain

How has David Plante managed to become as prolific a novelist as he has when so much of his time has been spent in flitting between gallery openings in New York, dinner parties and book launches in London, idyllic holidays in Italy and Greece, and teaching in Tulsa, Oklahoma? And those are just a few of the 'worlds apart' recounted in this so-called memoir – the b ... More

Carol Middleton reviews 'In Love and War' by Liz Byrski

Carol Middleton

Western Australian novelist and academic Liz Byrski has written a memoir that explores the reality behind a World War II myth: the ground-breaking work done by plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe to repair the disfigured faces, hands, and lives of fighter pilots and crews. Byrski grew up during the war in East Grinstead, Sussex, near the hospital where McIndoe worked, ... More

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