books October 12, 2019

Ducks, Newburyport

James Joyce wrote Ulysses , he suggested, as a way of making the novel safe for women and children. He meant that the stream-of-consciousness technique he developed, with its concentration on interior psychological states and mundane domestic...

books October 12, 2019

Act of Grace

Anna Krien is highly regarded for her deeply researched and incisive long-form journalism. Her books Night Games and Into the Woods , along with two Quarterly Essays, have cemented her as one of this country’s leading voices on contemporary...

books October 12, 2019

Grand Union

In the short story “Sentimental Education”, Monica, a 19-year-old university student, asks her lover to flip his language around when discussing sex. She tells him: “In a matriarchy, you’d hear women boasting to their mates: ‘I subsumed him in my...

television October 12, 2019

Fantasy bestseller Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman found fame in the 1990s with the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy. Now, the children who grew up with the heroine, Lyra, can revisit her as an adult in The Secret Commonwealth. The author talks about having his work adapted for the small screen, the dangers of single vision and the allure of dust. “We know we’re conscious, but philosophers are still struggling with what David Chalmers calls ‘the hard problem’ – how do we get from matter to consciousness? Once you accept that consciousness is a normal property of matter, and that everything is, in however dim and rudimentary way, conscious, everything becomes clearer. This is the question towards which The Book of Dust is working.”

books October 5, 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 departure...

books October 5, 2019

Hollow Earth

Award-winning Australian poet John Kinsella’s latest novel draws on the “hollow Earth” tradition, which used imaginary subterranean worlds as a tool for satire and social critique. Bringing the genre into the 21st century, Kinsella’s Hollow Earth...

books October 5, 2019

Here Until August

The short story has enjoyed a well-earned rise in prestige in recent years. The most interesting stories often beguile the reader by hovering over a single effect, bringing it to life through a freshness of prose style, economical patterning, and a...

books September 28, 2019

Pills, Powder, and Smoke

While our government, under the guise of “compassionate conservatism”, announces plans to drug-test welfare recipients, journalist Antony Loewenstein brings us Pills, Powder, and Smoke , the result of more than four years’ investigation into the...

books September 28, 2019

The Breeding Season

We spend most of our lives doing whatever we can to keep our bodies separate from our minds, but the world doesn’t have to work too hard to remind us they’re inextricable, the implication being that some day we will die. This tension is the rich...

books September 28, 2019

White Tears/Brown Scars

There’s an invisible violence that occurs when the emotional grievances of white women are prioritised over the experiences of non-white women. When it’s exposed, the response is often one of hostility. In White Tears/Brown Scars , Ruby Hamad...

books September 21, 2019

Don Dunstan

When I immigrated to Australia in 1986, this country was notably forward-looking compared with the United States and Britain, where Reagan’s and Thatcher’s neoliberal policies were busily dismantling civil society and social welfare. Here was...