Reviewer: Linda Jaivin

By this author

Culture July 04, 2020

Daddy Cool

In the 1930s, as Robert Cutter, he sold more copies of “Hawaiian Paradise” than Bing Crosby. He performed before Katharine Hepburn and Clark Gable at the Academy Awards. He hadn’t quite finished divorcing his best friend’s sister when he fell …

Culture May 23, 2020

Radio Girl

As Australia entered World War II, its all-male armed services had a problem only a woman could solve. That woman was Violet McKenzie, Australia’s first female electrical engineer, a wireless radio pioneer, one of the ABC’s first broadcasters, and …

Culture April 04, 2020

Three Brothers

Yan Lianke’s Three Brothers is a tender, frank and philosophical memoir of growing up in a rural family cursed by “constant poverty” but blessed with “boundless grace”. Yan, a novelist whose biting political satires (Serve the People!, …

Culture March 14, 2020

She I Dare Not Name

Donna Ward’s piano was stranded in the middle of her study. She’d pushed it out from one wall but couldn’t get it to the other side. Two friends, a couple, came to dinner. As they were leaving, they noticed the piano. “This is a time when you …

Culture December 14, 2019

The Best Australian Science Writing 2019

We are living on the doorstep of a new global dark age, in which superstition, conspiracy theories and distrust of scientific expertise have risen hand in hand with right-wing authoritarianism. The howls of climate crisis denialists fill the air, gleefully …

Culture December 07, 2019

Paris or Die

Jayne Tuttle’s memoir, Paris or Die, is a literary suitcase packed with sparkling friendships, startling discoveries, mad love, intriguing challenges and hot sex. Quite a bit of hot sex, in fact. There’s also mortal danger and helpless loss, …

Culture November 23, 2019

Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biography

Testosterone, we thought we knew you. All those scientific studies, and all those reports in newspapers and magazines over the years, have told us you were directly linked to violence, aggression, athleticism, libido, focus, risk-taking, power and even …

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 …