James Ley

James Ley reviews 'T.S. Eliot and the Dynamic Imagination' edited by Deborah Jordan

James Ley
23 August 2018

When the bloated and pocky corpse of literary studies is finally thrown from the battlements of the ivory tower in a futile attempt to appease the unappeasable forces of neoliberal corpora More

James Ley reviews 'Why Dylan Matters' by Richard F. Thomas

James Ley
26 April 2018

There was a certain predictability to the arguments that flared when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016. For the most part, they were variations of the arguments More

2017 Books of the Year

Australian Book Review
24 November 2017

To celebrate the best books of 2017 Australian Book Review invited nearly forty contributors to nominate their favourite titles. Contributors include Michelle de Kretser, Susan Wy More

James Ley reviews 'First Person' by Richard Flanagan

James Ley
25 October 2017

The literature of the modern era contains any number of stories about doppelgängers, divided selves, alter egos, obsessive relationships, and corrosive forms of mutual dependence. The end More

James Ley reviews 'The Choke' by Sofie Laguna

James Ley
24 August 2017

The Choke is full of holes. I mean that literally, which is also to say (since we are talking about a novel) symbolically. It contains any number of insinuating references to wounds, ditches, gaps, and voids. The primary implication of these can be grasped if one recalls that ‘nothing’ was Elizabethan slang for female genitalia. Sofie Laguna’s narrato ... More

James Ley reviews 'Zero K' by Don DeLillo

James Ley
23 May 2016

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 ...

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

James Ley
24 March 2016

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.
23 November 2015

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

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

James Ley
25 September 2015

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
26 August 2015

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

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