Reviewer: Thuy On

By this author

Culture August 01, 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 …

Culture June 20, 2020

The Road

Not to be confused with Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece, John Martinkus’s book nonetheless offers its own dystopian nightmare. The opening pages credit “all the West Papuans, dead and alive, who have dedicated their lives to justice since the illegal …

Culture April 25, 2020


In this science-fiction thriller, Max Barry explores interplanetary travel, human–extraterrestrial close encounters and the relentless spin of warfare. Manned by a four-person crew, Providence Five is the latest warship that’s going into deepest, …

Culture 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 …

Culture February 15, 2020

Unfinished Business

It’s a slim volume, Unfinished Business, but the depth and breadth of the nine essays within belie appearances: this small book is certainly not insubstantial in its close (re-)examination of literary works. In the hands of Vivian Gornick, …

Culture December 07, 2019

Darkness for Light

Emma Viskic blazed onto the literary crime fiction scene in 2015 with the private investigator Caleb Zelic. The character of Caleb has been deaf since a childhood bout of meningitis from which he never fully recovered. In many ways the author works within …

Culture October 26, 2019

Cilka’s Journey

Cecilia (Cilka) Klein was a pivotal character in Heather Morris’s best-selling debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The teenage Cilka was credited by Lale Sokolov – the ink artist of the first book – with saving his life, and Morris …

Culture August 24, 2019

Snake Island

Snake Island’s tone is established in the opening pages when a pelican gasping on the mudf lats is decapitated out of mercy. This uncompromising stance is sustained throughout as Ben Hobson delivers a novel drenched in blood. Darkly lit as …

book June 01, 2019

Sweatshop Women: Volume One

More than 20 women show off their work in this anthology from Sweatshop, a Western Sydney literacy movement that supports culturally and linguistically diverse writers. There is an unabashed political agenda at play in Sweatshop Women, with a …