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Carol Middleton

Carol Middleton is a journalist, arts critic and author, based in Melbourne. Her short story awards include second place in The Age competition 2010. Her fiction and nonfiction have been published in the anthologies Melbourne Subjective, Ink3 and Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is working on a memoir in essays.

Carol Middleton reviews 'Swimming' by Enza Gandolfo

April 2010, no. 320 01 April 2010
Set in the western suburbs of Melbourne, Swimming is an impressive début novel by Melbourne academic Enza Gandalfo. Kate Wilks, a childless writer in her early sixties, is a strong swimmer, and images of the sea texture the narrative. Now happily married for a second time, Kate encounters her first husband, and the ensuing flood of memories, regret and guilt provides the driving force of the nov ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'Soar: A life freed by dance' by David McAllister with Amanda Dunn

January–February 2021, no. 428 17 December 2020
David McAllister, known affectionately as ‘Daisy’ to his fellow dancers, completed this memoir just as Covid-19 put paid to the exciting program he had devised for his final year as artistic director of the Australian Ballet. In spite of the cancelled world premières, McAllister makes no complaint about what must surely have been a disappointing finale to a stellar career, but he remains upbe ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'Headlong: A novel' by Susan Varga

June 2009, no. 312 01 June 2009
Susan Varga’s latest novel, Headlong, is set in Australia in the opening years of the twenty-first century, with the Tampa episode and detention camps as background. This setting reflects Varga’s own work with refugees and the Nazi camps of her family’s Hungarian past. Headlong relates the downward spiral that the previously indomitable Julia undergoes after the death of her husband. Her two ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Woman Who Cracked the Anxiety Code: The extraordinary life of Dr Claire Weekes' by Judith Hoare

April 2020, no. 420 20 March 2020
On Boxing Day 1962, The Australian Women’s Weekly opened with a two-page spread on a new publication, Self Help for Your Nerves, by Sydney physician Dr Claire Weekes. Her four precepts for people suffering from ‘nerves’ appeared in huge, bold type: facing, accepting, floating, and letting time pass. Positive reviews followed, including one by Max Harris in ABR’s December 1962 issue. Wary o ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'Mirka Mora: A life making art by Sabine Cotte

November 2019, no. 416 24 October 2019
A year after her death, Mirka Mora is still regarded as a ‘phenomenon’ in the Melbourne art world, not least for her vibrant personality and provocative behaviour. Now Sabine Cotte, a French-Australian painting conservator, in this modest account of her research into the artist’s methods and materials, offers a new perspective on Mora’s creative process and the significance of her work. M ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Bridge' by Enza Gandolfo

June-July 2018, no. 402 24 May 2018
‘Accidents happen.’ In the aftermath of a fatal car accident, one of two accidents that frame the narrative of The Bridge, these words are tossed up in the turbulent minds of a grieving relative. But accidents, unlike natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, droughts – don’t just happen. Whether it’s the collapse of the Westgate Bridge or a car crash, accidents are due to human error. ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'The Rules Do Not Apply: A memoir' by Ariel Levy

November 2017, no. 396 26 October 2017
In the first chapter of her memoir, The Rules Do Not Apply, Ariel Levy writes, ‘Daring to think that the rules do not apply is the mark of a visionary. It’s also a symptom of narcissism.’ Born in New York during the Reagan era, she is describing the world she grew up in, one in which you were told that you were in control of your life and could achieve anything. In suggesting that this world ... (read more)

Minnie & Liraz (Melbourne Theatre Company)

ABR Arts 19 May 2017
With unrelenting cheerfulness, bright orange lights shine on a simple set: a row of straight-backed chairs, a tall flower display, and a painting of an elderly woman, prominently displayed. Are we about to witness a funeral? Indeed we are. Slowly, painfully, the ambulant residents of Autumn Road Retirement Village, Caulfield, edge their way on to the stage. The chairs are now occupied. From the do ... (read more)

Carol Middleton reviews 'All my Januaries' by Barbara Blackman

August 2016, no. 383 25 July 2016
Amid the resurgence of the personal essay, Barbara Blackman's volume is a paragon of the genre. It reminds us how much experience, anecdote, and wisdom can be packed into this small format. All My Januaries has thirty-six pieces, darting from the shortest vignette to more digressive accounts of a barefoot Brisbane childhood, a year living in Paris, and a Sydney Olympic torch run at the age of seve ... (read more)
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