Memoir

Brian Matthews reviews 'A Führer for a Father: The Domestic Face of Colonialism' by Jim Davidson

Brian Matthews
30 August 2017

When some years ago I read Jim Davidson’s outstanding biography, Lyrebird Rising (1994), I was initially concerned by what seemed to be his potentially distorting fascination with the scene-stealing Louise Hanson-Dyer. But I soon discovered I needn’t have worried. Jim Davidson is not the sort of biographer whose obsession with his subject overcomes prop ... More

Tali Lavi reviews 'Once We Were Sisters' by Sheila Kocher

Tali Lavi
23 July 2017

As Nadine Gordimer once mused, ‘Writing is making sense of life. You work your whole life and perhaps you’ve made sense of one small area.’ Sheila Kohler’s site of personal hauntin More

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Finding Nevo' by Nevo Zisin

Crusader Hillis
31 May 2017

‘Coming out’ stories remain one of the most potent sources for young people to understand their own relationship to sex, gender, and sexuality. Living in a largely heteronormative society, many young people find a place in these stories to validate and challenge their thoughts and experiences. Nevo Zisin’s memoir, written at the age of twenty, covers these areas but also speaks to those l ... More

Kevin Rabalais reviews 'Between Them: Remembering my parents' by Richard Ford

Kevin Rabalais
26 May 2017

'Our parents intimately link us, closeted as we are in our lives, to a thing we’re not, forging a joined separateness and a useful mystery, so that even together with them we are also alone,’ writes Richard Ford early in ‘My Mother, In Memory’, the first of the two memoirs that comprise Between Them, the Pulitzer Prize winner’s bewitching first bo ... More

Suzy Freeman-Greene reviews 'Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and me' by Bill Hayes

Suzy Freeman-Greene
30 April 2017

When Oliver Sacks began seeing Bill Hayes in 2009, he had never been in a relationship. He wasn’t out as a gay man and hadn’t had sex for thirty-five years. Sacks, the celebrated author and neurologist, was almost thirty years older than Hayes, who had moved to New York from San Francisco after the sudden death of his partner. The two visited the Museum of Natur ... More

Dennis Altman reviews 'And Then I Found Me' by Noel Tovey

Dennis Altman
30 April 2017

Looking back on his career, Noel Tovey writes: ‘I could work in three languages. I had dined in the finest restaurants in Europe and America with pop stars and royalty and I had a career in the theatre that most Australians would envy.’ The man who wrote these words grew up an abused and neglected child. When he was seventeen, he served time in Melbourne’s Pen ... More

Katy Gerner reviews 'Beyond the Vapour Trail: The beauty, horror and humour of life: An aid worker’s story' by Brett Pierce

Katy Gerner
30 April 2017

Beyond the Vapour Trail, a memoir-cum-travel book spanning six continents, concerns the author’s experiences as an aid worker for non-government organisations such as World Vision. Brett Pierce’s work involves researching and setting up community projects, and adapting and remodelling child sponsorship programs. He describes it as ‘sitting down with t ... More

Suzy Freeman-Greene reviews 'The Political is Personal: A 20th century memoir' by Judith Buckrich

Suzy Freeman-Greene
29 March 2017

It is rare to read a memoir as joyfully insouciant about sex as Judith Buckrich’s The Political Is Personal. She describes the delicious state of discovering it, at seventeen, as ‘a sex haze’. At nineteen, she has an intense, dark-eyed boyfriend but is also sleeping with Morry, whose chief merit is his staying power in bed. ‘Once, to prove the point ... More

Alison Broinowski reviews 'Subtle Moments: Scenes on a life’s journey' by Bruce Grant

Alison Broinowski
28 March 2017

Opposite a handsome portrait of him by Louis Kahan, Bruce Grant introduces his memoir of a ‘life’s journey’ by proposing that it is also a biography of Australia, and promising to revisit that on the last page. There, he summarises the plots of ‘Love in the Asian Century’, his recent trilogy of e-books, in which affairs between older men and younger women, ... More

Gillian Dooley reviews 'After' by Nikki Gemmell

Gillian Dooley
27 March 2017

In 2015, Nikki Gemmell’s mother, Elayn, took an overdose of painkillers. Gemmell’s new book, After, chronicles the difficult process of confronting her mother’s death and resolving the anguish it brought to her and her children. It is also an impassioned appeal for changes in Australia’s laws on the right to die.

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