Reviewer: Linda Jaivin

By this author

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 …

Culture September 26, 2020


Bluebird, the setting of Malcolm Knox’s latest novel, is an insular little community on the coastal periphery of “Ocean City”, a wink-wink stand-in for Sydney. The problem with Bluebird, and it’s mostly a problem for the middle-aged white male …

Culture August 15, 2020

Surviving Autocracy

It used to be a given that to understand the People’s Republic of China, one had to be familiar with the workings of the Soviet Union, including Leninist organisational principles, Stalinist methods of terror and control, and the nature of propaganda. …

Culture August 08, 2020

How to Talk about Climate Change

Watching the news of the 2018 climate strike, Rebecca Huntley suddenly understood that when the young people demanded action from the older generation, they were talking to her. She had, she says, a visceral reaction to this realisation. As a lawyer and …

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 …