Reviewer: Maria Takolander

By this author

Culture February 01, 2020

Lost Words

Lost Words is an unusual book, bringing together text fragments by the French–Australian writer Xavier Hennekinne and drawings by the Australian artist Phil Day. Unlike in a picture book or graphic novel, the text and images relate to one another …

Culture December 21, 2019

Best books of 2019 #1

When it comes to Australian literature, I have already raved about Charlotte Wood’s The Weekend, but Carrie Tiffany’s Exploded View is shockingly good. It’s the kind of book that has an uncanny somatic legacy; …

Culture November 30, 2019

We Refugees

The problems of the world have become so urgent that it seems we have finally moved beyond tired arguments about whether literature should be political or apolitical. Literature and activism now go hand in glove, as evidenced by literary responses to …

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 …