books

books December 4, 2021

Girt Nation

Girt Nation is the third volume of David Hunt’s Unauthorised History of Australia , following on from 2013’s Girt and 2016’s True Girt . The series is ostensibly a wry retelling of the history of Australia, with volume three covering the decades...

books December 4, 2021

Adrift in Melbourne: Seven Walks with Robyn Annear

Back in the 20th century I used to like walking around Melbourne with my Aunty Joan because she’d always be pointing out everything she remembered that was no longer there. When I read Robyn Annear’s Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne in the 1990s...

books December 4, 2021

The Woman They Could Not Silence

Kate Moore is a feminist biographer whose work is very much of our Time’s Up, #MeToo, SlutWalking, whistleblowing age, but she also provides devastating and inspiring insights into the long history of injustices against which women have had to fight...

books November 27, 2021

The New Curator: Exhibiting Architecture and Design

Fleur Watson opens The New Curator with the wry observation that curation has well and truly left the gallery. These days folk curate “menus, wardrobes, playlists, social media feeds” and notably also the news they receive and the information they...

books November 27, 2021

My Body

As a young model, Emily Ratajkowski knew her most bankable feature was also a limitation. Her large breasts and small frame were “valuable and rare”, but she would never be high fashion. She was a nameless “ ‘commercial swim’ girl” until, aged 21,...

books November 27, 2021

Not Playing the Game

“If you go back to World War I … all elite sportsmen used to volunteer because they thought it was their duty.” So said Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith in 2011, when the NRL employed him to promote its Anzac Cup. In Not Playing the Game: Sport and...

books November 20, 2021

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth

How does one objectively review a master’s first novel in nearly half a century? In my case, it proved to be an impossible task. There’s been much hype surrounding Wole Soyinka’s Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth , but...

books November 20, 2021

7 ½

“If you’re uncertain if a book is autofiction,” ran a recent, waggish listicle on lithub.com, “turn to the names for clues.” “If the protagonist is unnamed, it’s autofiction. If the protagonist is named, it’s fiction. But if the protagonist has the...

books November 20, 2021

The Best Australian Science Writing 2021

There was a time when science journalism was much more mainstream than it is today. It has been marginalised by the ideological battles of climate change and the slow death of specialised writing as the print media have been affected – ironically...

books November 13, 2021

The Dogs

“It seems to me,” writes the narrator of W. G. Sebald’s 2001 novel Austerlitz , that “all the moments of our life occupy the same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to find our way to them at last, just as when...

books November 13, 2021

Fiona Foley Provocateur: An Art Life

“The planet seen from extremely close up is called the ground,” writes poet Mary Ruefle. The body seen with this same immediacy might be called the skin. And what might we call a person’s life when viewed so intimately: a biography? After all, a...