Reviewer: Linda Jaivin

By this author

Culture August 28, 2021

Travelling Companions

“How to be alone yet to be in company? That,” the unnamed narrator of Travelling Companions tells us, “is the conundrum.” As a train strike throws him into travel limbo with other tourists on the Spanish–French border, he observes: …

Culture July 24, 2021

Men without Country

Hear “mutiny”, think “Bounty”. The shipboard rebellion of 1789 has enjoyed a long and fertile afterlife. It has inspired three films and more than a dozen books, fiction and nonfiction alike, including several titles promising the “true …

Culture June 26, 2021


Fury begins with a young Kathryn Heyman perching precariously on a narrow and slippery boom 50 metres from the deck of a fishing trawler, over a roiling sea. It’s night and a wild storm has blown up, threatening to capsize the boat. It’s …

Culture May 29, 2021

The Winter Road

As dusk closed in on isolated Talga Lane on a cold winter’s night in 2014, Glen Turner, a compliance officer with the Office of Environment and Heritage, crouched behind his vehicle in terror. He was bleeding from bullet wounds and pleading for his …

Culture April 24, 2021

First Person Singular

As with so much of Murakami’s fiction, the narrators of the stories collected in First Person Singular tend to be going about their mundane lives when there is suddenly a hallucinatory rupture in perception, a slip sideways into unreality. …

Culture February 06, 2021


When he was finally able to return home after the catastrophic Black Summer bushfires, Jimmy visited each of the places where he and Katy used to go. His life companion had died in the fires. Barely able to eat, he lay listless on the ground, until finally …

Culture December 05, 2020

On Getting Off

If the philosopher’s premise is that everything has meaning, then there is no such thing as meaningless sex. This is true, observes the philosopher Damon Young, even if many of his fellows treat sex “as something a bit stupid”. In On Getting …

Culture November 21, 2020

What Is To Be Done

The climate crisis demands urgent action. Our democracy, with its “oligarchic” major parties – “shelf companies” with “small, ageing memberships” that serve as little more than “executive-placement agencies” – and an “infantile” …

Culture October 17, 2020

In Search of the Woman Who Sailed the World

There had been an undercurrent of speculation aboard the Étoile about smooth-faced Jean Barret, the stoic and hard-working assistant and personal valet to the ship’s naturalist-doctor, Philibert Commerson. In April 1768, after the ship moored …