books

books April 4, 2020

Ronnie Scott on the ties that bind

In his debut novel, The Adversary, Ronnie Scott explores the intense friendships and social rituals of young gay men. Here, he talks about trying to read the unspoken intentions of others, and the unintended consequences of our everyday behaviour. “Of course, it makes sense that people would want to decode others,” Scott says. “Hitching your fate to another person or letting someone into a really private part of your life … is an act of trust.”

books April 4, 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 virus...

books April 4, 2020

Thinking Again

You have to hand it to Jan Morris. The Welsh literary legend seems to have gone through her 93 years doing exactly what she wants all the time, always with the same upper-class chutzpah. She was the intrepid journalist who interviewed Eisenhower and...

books April 4, 2020

Three Brothers

Yan Lianke’s Three Brothers is a tender, frank and philosophical memoir of growing up in a rural family cursed by “constant poverty” but blessed with “boundless grace”. Yan, a novelist whose biting political satires ( Serve the People! , for example...

books March 28, 2020

Displaced

Philosopher Glenn Albrecht calls it farmosophy – thinking philosophically and creatively in relation to the practice of farming. It’s a new name for an old undertaking – Hesiod’s agricultural poem “Works and Days” is one of the earliest works of...

books March 28, 2020

Blueberries

“Writing in the first person is writing that admits that experience is always truncated,” writes Ellena Savage. The Melbourne-bred, Athens-based writer is powerfully self-aware in her debut essay collection, which marries cultural criticism with...

books March 21, 2020

Author and activist Naomi Klein

Author and activist Naomi Klein has long been a critic of consumer culture and its focus on individualism, arguing instead that we need to band together to deal with the world’s crises. “The tricky thing is that we are able to find our best selves in these moments of crisis, of high crisis, but within our economic system, the pressures of the market bear down pretty fast.”

books March 21, 2020

We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

The title of this book hits you like a reproach and the provocation is very much deliberate. Investigative reporter Sophie McNeill has more than 15 years’ experience working in oppressive regimes and We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know , her first book,...

books March 21, 2020

Amnesty

Dhananjaya Rajaratnam has lived in Sydney for four years. He goes by the name Danny, has blond-tipped hair and has long abandoned the course that once qualified him for a student visa. Now he cleans houses for inner-city professionals and lives in...

books March 21, 2020

The Wandering

In these uncertain times, the concept of travel is increasingly fraught. While borders were already closed for some, they have been further tightened in the wake of a global pandemic. But depending on who you are and the passport you hold, the...

books March 14, 2020

The Mirror and the Light

Hilary Mantel has been at it for years now with her Wolf Hall /Thomas Cromwell novels and they are a thing of wonder. The nasty Cromwell – not to be confused with the English Civil War chap who ruled a monarchless Britain with a fist of iron – was...