Reviewer: Maria Takolander

By this author

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 …

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; …