books August 8, 2020

Utopia Avenue

Towards the end of Utopia Avenue , the latest novel by English author David Mitchell, we find Jerry Garcia sitting on a couch at his home in San Francisco, holding forth on the power of great music to make things happen in the world. It’s late 1968...

books August 8, 2020

Why Visit America

Matthew Baker seems to have a tireless capacity for invention. His new collection of stories gives us 12 alternative versions of the United States, or projections for its future. Among them are worlds where citizens over 70 are expected to...

books August 8, 2020

How to Talk about Climate Change

Watching the news of the 2018 climate strike, Rebecca Huntley suddenly understood that when the young people demanded action from the older generation, they were talking to her. She had, she says, a visceral reaction to this realisation. As a lawyer...

books August 1, 2020

After Australia

“The distance between / what is / and what will be / is less than you think …” So says a snippet from Ambelin Kwaymullina’s poem “Message from the Ngurra Palya”, one of 12 contributions to After Australia , an anthology edited by Michael Mohammed...

books August 1, 2020

The Most Beautiful Job in the World

In The Most Beautiful Job in the World – Italian anthropologist Giulia Mensitieri’s scathing takedown of the luxury fashion industry – a supermodel undresses for a shoot. She peels off her robe to reveal flesh-coloured compression socks and a thong...

books August 1, 2020

The Labyrinth

As a child, Marita, the protagonist of Amanda Lohrey’s novel Camille’s Bread (1995), rewrites the endings to stories. Later, she steps out of the swift stream of her life as a working solo parent to focus on nurturing her daughter. She yearns to be...

books August 1, 2020

Sydney deputy lord mayor Jess Scully

Since becoming the deputy lord mayor of Sydney, Jess Scully has continued her fight for social equality. As she pushes for affordable housing and investment in the ‘caring economy’, she remains hopeful of instituting long-lasting change. “I think there’s an opportunity for us right now to make sure that participatory democracy and the care economy and affordable housing are some of the things that become practical, real projects.”

books July 25, 2020

Death in Her Hands

Although the hotly anticipated Death in Her Hands is the fourth published novel of Ottessa Moshfegh’s, its writing predates her two most successful books – 2018’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation , in which a disaffected young woman attempts, with the...

books July 25, 2020

A Burning

In India today, WhatsApp group chats can be sinister. In recent years, they’ve become breeding grounds for hate speech and even sparked violent pogroms. Though a WhatsApp group chat appears in Megha Majumdar’s debut novel, A Burning , it’s in...

books July 25, 2020

The Fogging

Novels are uniquely placed to depict the interiority of a person, saving from obsolescence a particular entertainment that is unadulterated crack for some. Luke Horton’s debut, The Fogging , is a study in interiors. Academics Tom and Clara have been...

books July 18, 2020

A Room Made of Leaves

The conceit of Kate Grenville’s ninth novel is that the author discovers a memoir written by Elizabeth Macarthur, wife of John Macarthur, the British army officer and pioneer of the Australian wool industry. Grenville acts as a “transcriber and...