Reviewer: Linda Jaivin

By this author

Culture November 09, 2019

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister

Three sisters born to a wealthy Christian family in Shanghai towards the end of the 19th century influenced the course of modern Chinese history. The roles played by the legendary Soong sisters, however, were as different as their politics and personalities. …

Culture September 21, 2019

Don Dunstan

When I immigrated to Australia in 1986, this country was notably forward-looking compared with the United States and Britain, where Reagan’s and Thatcher’s neoliberal policies were busily dismantling civil society and social welfare. Here was universal …

Culture August 31, 2019

Wolfe Island

There is a thin line between the present and a dystopian future in Lucy Treloar’s second novel, Wolfe Island. The story opens on the eponymous island, located in the Chesapeake Bay and sinking a little more with every wild storm. Once-abundant …

Culture August 10, 2019

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl tells the story of a surrogacy from the perspectives of three different women. Meg, a married 39-year-old jeweller from Melbourne, is desperate for a child. Years of IVF treatments have left her bereft, her grief like “a wild …

Culture July 20, 2019

Disappearing Earth

Things go missing in Disappearing Earth. Children. Friends. Lovers. Dogs. Love. Life as it once was and as it seemed it always would be. We learn early on that 11-year-old Alyona, a natural storyteller, “liked, every so often, to bring her …

Culture June 29, 2019

You Will Be Safe Here

Damian Barr’s first novel, You Will Be Safe Here, grips you by the throat from its ominous prologue to its shattering conclusion. Set in South Africa, it weaves together two historically disparate narratives united not only by geography. The …

Culture June 01, 2019

Griffith Review 64: The New Disruptors

A disruptive student is a teacher’s nightmare. A disruption in normal programming can signal very bad news. But the meaning of the word “disruption”, with its traditionally negative connotations, has itself been disrupted. According to the neoliberal …

Culture May 11, 2019


When Kaya Wilson, a writer and scientist, transitioned to male, he suddenly realised he could own the streets. In his contribution to this pioneering anthology, he writes about passing a group of drunken men on a dark street, soon after transitioning. …

Culture April 20, 2019


Silence is not always golden, as the prizewinning British journalist and filmmaker Harriet Shawcross attests in Unspeakable. At the age of 13, she tells us, she lost the ability to speak more than was absolutely necessary to function. Nearly …