James Ley

James Ley reviews 'Zero K' by Don DeLillo

James Ley

Among Don DeLillo's sixteen previous novels, White Noise (1985) is commonly held up as the apotheosis of his satirical vision, while his postwar epic Underworld ...

More

James Ley reviews 'The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime' by Harold Bloom

James Ley

As he reminds his readers on numerous occasions in The Daemon Knows: Literary Greatness and the American Sublime, Harold Bloom is now well into his eighties. He has spent a lifetime teaching and writing about literature at Yale University, where he has long claimed to constitute a 'department of one'. The claim is part lament, part affectation, part boast. ... More

Books of the Year 2015

Robert Adamson et al.

Jennifer Maiden's The Fox Petition: New Poems (Giramondo) conjures foxes 'whose eyes were ghosts with pity' and foxes of language that transform the world's headlines

More

James Ley reviews 'The Heart Goes Last' by Margaret Atwood

James Ley

The Heart Goes Last is set in a not-so-distant future in which the economy of the United States has collapsed. In the wake of a major financial meltdown, those rich enough to flee have taken up residence in floating offshore tax havens, leaving the rest of the population to cope with a society ravaged by spiralling unemployment, drug addiction, and crime. The ... More

James Ley reviews 'J.M. Coetzee and the Life of Writing' by David Attwell

James Ley

Few, if any, contemporary authors have attracted the level of critical attention that is lavished upon J.M. Coetzee. No doubt there are many reasons for this, but a good part of the fascination with his fiction is a result of the evident rigour with which it is conceived. To read a Coetzee novel is to encounter a work that seems to have ... More

Book reviewing and its provocateurs: 'What single development would most improve the Australian critical culture?'

Patrick Allington et al.

Last month in Melbourne, a group of book reviewers and literary editors took part in a conference organised by Monash University’s Centre for the Book. There were more than thirty short papers, or ‘provocations’, as they were styled. Our Editor lamented the low or non-payment of some reviewers (especially youn ... More

James Ley: Searching for the Great American Novel

James Ley

Well, it’s Moby-Dick, obviously. Except when it’s Huckleberry Finn or Absalom, Absalom! or Invisible Man or Gravity’s Rainbow. The Great Gatsby will often do, if one is pressed for time.

There is something a bit ridiculous about the idea that a single book could become the definitive expression of an ent ... More

James Ley is Critic of the Month

James Ley

When did you first write for ABR?

It was 2003, a review of Vernon God Little by D.B.C. Pierre.

What prompted you to take up book reviewing?

An interest in literature and a break that gave me a chance to write professionally. The idea of being paid to read and think and write about books was very enticing, and stil ... More

James Ley reviews 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'

James Ley

The past two decades have seen Richard Flanagan stride confidently into the first rank of Australian writers. His novels are notable for their historical reach, the boldness of their conception, and their willingness to tackle big subjects. They have won him many admirers. But they have also tended to divide opinion, often quite sharply, and this would seem to ... More

James Ley reviews 'The Casual Vacancy'

James Ley

In the opening pages of The Casual Vacancy, a man named Barry Fairbrother collapses and dies in the car park of the Pagford Golf Club. For the next seven chapters, news of his premature demise spreads through the small English town. Reactions vary.

‘Fairbrother’s dead? … Good God … He wasn’t much past forty was he?’
‘Gavin ... More
Page 1 of 2