Reviewer: FL

By this author

Books January 27, 2018

The Water Will Come

Reading – or even writing – a book about climate change isn’t the same as doing something about it. But surely we can take heart from the fact that books on the subject continue to be published. That must mean it’s a lucrative genre, indicative …

Books December 23, 2017

Best Books of 2017 #1

In Mirror Sydney, inspired by psychogeography, Vanessa Berry embarks on “drifts” through inauspicious Sydney – hollowed-out factory districts, heedless highways and all-but-forgotten suburban arcades. She anatomises the …

Books December 09, 2017

How to Think

Alan Jacobs barely mentions the T-word. But How to Think, a short book written in short order after the 2016 United States election, is unmistakeably a response to the Trump ascendancy and, specifically, to the bad thinking habits that helped …

Books November 04, 2017

The Book of Thistles

Noëlle Janaczewska tells us up front that she’s “interested in unaccompanied language. In collage. In reveries and writings which switch register and jump-cut across genres.” She’s not alone. Didn’t George Saunders just get Man Bookered for …

Books October 28, 2017

The Smell of Fresh Rain

Barney Shaw, as well as being a first-time author, is a retired senior civil servant. And my initial impression was that he writes like one, with lots of equivocal constructions (“some blah, while others bleh”) and a liking for lists. What won me …

Books October 21, 2017

Why Time Flies

“Where does the time go?” my mother implores. At 84, she’s certain that time gathers speed as she gets older. In Why Time Flies, Alan Burdick looks at the evidence for the widespread impression that inspired his title. It turns out that …

Books August 19, 2017

The Enigmatic Mr Deakin

When he was 22 and a mint-new member of the Victorian parliament, Alfred Deakin won wild applause with a maiden speech in which he tendered his resignation. In a political career spanning almost 40 years, Deakin would nearly always be on the verge of …

Books July 22, 2017

The Last Man in Europe

Eric Blair died for want of a typist. Self-exiled to a remote Scottish island and hollowed out by tuberculosis, he quailed at the prospect of typing a clean manuscript copy of his just-completed novel. Despite an SOS to his publishers, no typist eventuated. …

Books May 27, 2017


Even to its practitioners, there are things about anaesthesia that remain a mystery – such as, where exactly it fits on the spectrum of consciousness. A state of general anaesthesia is rendered not by a single drug, but by a lights-out cocktail comprising …