Reviewer: CG

By this author

book June 03, 2017

The Nothing

“I imagine things for a living,” remarks the narrator of The Nothing, “and the imagination is the most dangerous place on earth.” Waldo, once a famous and charismatic film director and rake, is now old and decrepit, the possessor of “most …

book May 20, 2017

New Philosopher, Issue 16

In the way of an amuse-bouche: the average Brit spends five hours a week watching television food programs but only four hours a week cooking; when noise exceeds 89 decibels, the brain has trouble discerning salty from sweet, but umami is unaffected by …

book May 13, 2017

The Only Girl in the World

The Etruscan god Orcus feasted on human flesh; his name inspired the French word “ogre”. The word makes its appearance very late in Maude Julien’s harrowing, heartbreaking, and against-all-odds uplifting memoir The Only Girl in the World, …

book April 08, 2017

The Songs of Trees

I want David George Haskell’s ears. He hears a hairy woodpecker working on green ash as “marching-band drummer, too stoned to care” and a pileated woodpecker, tapping away at the same tree, as “old man in no hurry to nail loose boards”; another …

book April 01, 2017

The White Queen: One Nation and the Politics of Race

Some people consider Pauline Hanson to be the Donald Trumpette of the Antipodes, the local queenpin of an international populist movement. Hanson herself promotes this narrative. Yet as David Marr asserts in White Queen, hers is indisputably …

book March 25, 2017

The Rules Do Not Apply

[TOC:ul In this story] With a loyal wife at home and a hot lover on the side, Ariel Levy confesses: “I thought I could be like a French man with a mistress in a movie … that I could step outside of my life for a few gleaming hours from time to time …

book March 18, 2017

Insomniac City

[TOC:ul In this story] When the writer and photographer Bill Hayes first met Oliver Sacks, the author of many much-loved books including Awakenings and The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, dubbed “the poet laureate of medicine” …

book February 18, 2017

The Disappearance of Émile Zola

[TOC:ul In this story] In 1893, Britain and the British literary world feted the visiting French novelist Émile Zola so grandly and warmly that he fantasised about one day returning to London and living there “incognito”. Five years later, in the …

book February 04, 2017


[TOC:ul In this story] Paul Auster’s new novel, 4321 opens with a story wrapped around a pun. It finishes, nearly 900 pages later, with the revelation that the pun is part of a much bigger joke. Relax – I’m not going to spoil the ending. …