Reviewer: Maria Takolander

By this author

Culture November 15, 2019

Field of Poppies

The fiction of Carmel Bird, like that of Angela Carter, is known for its intermingling of fairytale and historical realism. It is also, like the early work of Peter Carey, known for destabilising the patriotic fantasies and brutal realities of Australian …

Culture October 05, 2019

The Weekend

Charlotte Wood’s new novel, The Weekend, is her best work yet. It is also one of the best novels of the year. At the same time – and I do not mean this disparagingly – it struck me as somehow old-fashioned, perhaps in part because of its …

Culture September 14, 2019

The Old Lie

An innovative tradition of First Nations science fiction has emerged around the world in recent decades. While older works in the genre imagined nightmarish scenarios of reverse colonisation featuring invading aliens – think H. G. Wells’ The …

Culture August 31, 2019

First, They Erased Our Name

First, They Erased Our Name is a work of autobiography but also testimony, bearing witness to the plight of the Rohingya, a minority Muslim ethnic group in Myanmar. After a long history of persecution, their mass exodus into Bangladesh in 2017 …

Culture July 20, 2019

From Here On, Monsters

Elizabeth Bryer’s From Here On, Monsters is a genuinely exciting debut from an Australian writer. This novel is playful, allegorical and formally ambitious, qualities that lend it a distinctly international flavour, in the way of Peter Carey’s …

Culture July 06, 2019

The Yield

The past is fraught territory, particularly when it comes to those territorial pasts marked by trauma. How can such histories be explored without proving overwhelming? It is a question raised at the beginning of Tara June Winch’s new novel, The …

Culture June 29, 2019


A woman hitchhiking alone through the Australian outback: it is a scenario that has been used as fodder for many horror stories. It is also the scenario of Kathryn Hind’s debut novel, Hitch, which introduces readers to the vulnerable Amelia, …

Culture June 08, 2019

The Subjects

Why are dystopias more popular than utopias? The growing genre of cli-fi, for instance, is almost universally pessimistic, and the TV phenomenon of The Handmaid’s Tale will continue to air its nightmares in a third series. And why, even when …

Culture March 30, 2019


Imminence is the title of a newly translated novel from the Argentinian writer Mariana Dimópulos. It is also a word that can allude to, among other things, impending danger or evil. In this tense and deeply unsettling novel, the impending event …