Reviewer: Maria Takolander

By this author

Culture May 02, 2020

Ghost Species

While we are all currently distracted by the threat of Covid-19, the environmental crisis remains front and centre in James Bradley’s new novel, Ghost Species. Earth is “past the tipping point” and entering a phase called “the Melt”. …

Culture April 04, 2020

The Animals in That Country

The Animals in That Country, the debut novel of Laura Jean McKay, has certainly hit the jackpot for timeliness. The novel is about a virus that sweeps through Australia, leading to government lockdowns and generating widespread hysteria. That …

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 …