Reviewer: Maria Takolander

By this author

Culture June 05, 2021

A Matter of Death and Life

Anyone in a happy marriage – perhaps even more so in an unhappy one – ponders the prospect of their spouse dying. A Matter of Death and Life, co-written by a happily married couple who are coming to the end of their lives, is an extraordinary …

Culture March 20, 2021

The Soul of a Woman

I had my blood pressure taken recently, something that happens more frequently when you reach middle age. I normally have low blood pressure – to the extent that I sometimes have problems with light-headedness – so my GP was surprised by a reading …

Culture February 13, 2021

Minarets 11

Minarets is a New Zealand/Aotearoa-based journal dedicated to the publication of poetry from the Pacific region – “while sea-levels still permit”, as the journal qualifies. This latest issue is guest edited by the Australian poet Pam Brown, …

Culture November 21, 2020

The Fifth Season

When I first started reading Philip Salom’s latest novel, The Fifth Season, I thought I was in for a real treat. The set-up is engagingly noirish. Jack, a writer, moves into a holiday rental at the end of summer, with plans to write a book …

Culture October 03, 2020

The Mother Fault

The Mother Fault, Kate Mildenhall’s second novel, is a cli-fi dystopian thriller with a distinctively maternal twist. The novel envisions a totalitarian future for Australia, in which the population is microchipped with geo-locaters, a gamified …

Culture August 29, 2020


With Summer, the conclusion to the seasonal quartet of novels that began with Autumn in 2017, the Scottish author Ali Smith has completed her extraordinary goal of writing four novels in four years. Smith wrote each of the novels in …

Culture August 15, 2020

Overland, #238

Midnight Oil introduced me to radical politics in the 1980s. Their lyrics opened my eyes to how the world and its problems were greater than my teenage narcissism had allowed. By the time I was studying literature at university, my journal of choice was …

Culture May 30, 2020


It seems hard to believe that Ellen van Neerven’s debut poetry book, Comfort Food, was only published in 2016, given the remarkable evolution we see in Throat, the second collection from the young Mununjali Yugambeh poet. While the …

Culture May 23, 2020

Hurricane Season

Fernanda Melchor is a young Mexican novelist and journalist whose work has been generating some excitement. The award-winning Hurricane Season is her second novel but the first to be translated into English (superbly by Sophie Hughes). Presenting …