books

books February 27, 2021

Not a Novel

In 1919, contemplating the wreckage of the European powers in the wake of a world war, Paul Valéry noted that “the abyss of history is deep enough to hold us all”. Seventy years later, the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was hailed as “the end of...

books February 27, 2021

Milk Fed

Rachel is a 20-something, non-practising Jewish woman working for a talent agency where most of the people around her suck. She’s weird and funny, occasionally doing stand-up routines full of black humour, but she doesn’t have any real friends. Her...

books February 27, 2021

The Boy from the Mish

The Boy from the Mish is a tender portrait of teenage sexuality that disrupts the white male gaze in Western storytelling. Gary Lonesborough’s debut young adult novel arose from the lack of YA stories “centred around an Aboriginal teen coming to...

books February 27, 2021

Feminist writer and editor Koa Beck

Koa Beck’s new book examines how white feminism’s commodification and systematic exclusions are rooted in a knotted history of racism.

books February 20, 2021

The Imitator

A secret agent is like a novelist – watching, constantly, but in a clandestine way so that associates don’t suspect the close observation and dissection of their lives. Similarly, a child sent to boarding school learns to watch and fit in, chameleon...

books February 20, 2021

Eating with My Mouth Open

I grew up thinking there were seven fundamental flavours: suān, tián, k ǔ , là, xián, xiān, má. The first five translate easily – sour, sweet, bitter, hot, salty – but the other two don’t own a home on the English tongue. It was a shock to realise...

books February 20, 2021

The Death of Francis Bacon

Feelings of desperation and unhappiness “are more useful to an artist than the feeling of contentment”, said Francis Bacon, one of the most notorious figures of 20th-century art, “because desperation and unhappiness stretch your whole sensibility”...

books February 20, 2021

Novelist Claire Thomas

After more than a decade away from publishing, Claire Thomas’s much anticipated second novel The Performance puts her squarely back in the limelight.

books February 13, 2021

Land

You’ll know Simon Winchester from The Surgeon of Crowthorne , his mega-selling account of how W. C. Minor helped write the first Oxford English Dictionary while ensconced in an asylum for the criminally insane. That book contained a story with a...

books 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, whose...

books February 13, 2021

Born Into This

“Calm to violent; sweet to salty; alive to dead,” contemplates Ray, a character in “Aboriginal Alcatraz”, reflecting on the dualities of the islands depicted in pakana writer Adam Thompson’s debut short story collection, Born Into This . Some...