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y separately published work icon Australian Book Review periodical issue  
Alternative title: ABR
Issue Details: First known date: 2016... no. 387 December 2016 of Australian Book Review est. 1961 Australian Book Review
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  • Includes a survey of books of the year by leading Australian authors and critics. (18-24)


* Contents derived from the 2016 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Doing the Police : Geoffrey Blainey's Prevailing Strain of Optimism, Brian Matthews , single work review essay
'The seminar, as far as I can remember, took place in what was then the Melbourne Teachers’ College on Grattan Street. The late-afternoon sunlight slanting through ornate windows burnt bright on a huge World War I scene on the wall behind the speakers’ table where the names of those who had made ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ were listed with melancholy precision. I remember gazing at that painting while I waited for the seminar to start. It reminded me of the ornate, scrolled, oval frame I had inherited, from which my grandfather, No. 17051 Private Alexander Murray, looked out, slightly quizzical, puzzled, his boyish face overshadowed by the military cap. On either side of the portrait hung his medals, their ribbons faded, and between them a citation in which futility grapples with dignity. ‘He whom this scroll commemorates ... passed out of the sight of men by the path of self-sacrifice ... Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.’' (Introduction)
(p. 9-10)
Topography of Accidents : Luminous Essays from Tim Winton, Peter Craven , single work review essay
Everybody thinks they know about Tim Winton: the working-class hero from the West; the whale of a man who’s been writing since he was a boy; the master of one of those big Australian prose styles that is muscular and magnetic and sometimes just a bit too self-delighting; someone who straddles the literary and the popular like a colossus. (Introduction)
(p. 11,13)
Real News, Michael McGirr , single work review essay
'You can judge this memoir by its poignant cover. It shows a picture of the author taken in 1966 when he was eight or nine years old. Behind him is one of the accessories of the baby boomer period, a Volkswagen. The Beetle is parked near long grass, redolent of Melbourne’s outer suburban fringe, an area that features prominently in Shaun Carney’s account of his origins. Frankston and Carrum Downs are the heartland of this book' (Introduction)
(p. 14)
Deep Knowledgei"Like paper burning up into folds, the hives cling to the stone.", Caitlin Maling , single work poetry (p. 16)
Tightrope, Fiona Hile , single work review essay
'You can tell a lot about a piece of writing from how it begins. For American poet Billy Collins, ‘the first line is the DNA of the poem’. With novels, as J.M. Coetzee writes, in Elizabeth Costello, ‘the problem of the opening ... is a simple bridging problem ... People solve such problems every day ... and having solved them push on.’ Coetzee’s high-wire opening barely hints at the philosophico-literary grapplings that will ensue, but in an after-the-fact reading it is all there – the structural reliance on Kafka’s ‘Before the Law’ (1915), the inference that a passage through the recurring impasses of language is somehow guaranteed by death, the acknowledgment that building/writing is also always a matter of destruction.' (Introduction)
(p. 31)
The Sizzler at the York Agricultural Show, 2016i"A horizontal twister, but none of the dramatic life", John Kinsella , single work poetry (p. 34)
Hydra as Intimate Theatre, Paul Genoni , single work essay

'In late 1963, Rodney Hall – an aspiring but unpublished poet and novelist – travelled through Greece’s Saronic islands with his wife and their infant daughter. Shortly after Christmas they found themselves on the island of Hydra, where they fell into the company of expatriate Australian writers George Johnston and his wife Charmian Clift, whose time on the island was drawing to a close after nearly a decade. The Johnstons, their marriage precariously holding together amid a ruinous trail of alcohol, infidelity, and public brawling, did as they had done so often before – cast aside their personal troubles and embraced their fellow Australians with immense personal warmth, hospitality, and charisma. As Hall remembers, ‘they were lovely, they were so warm, and welcoming, and funny and clever, and it was just instant friendship, we just loved them.’' (Introduction)

(p. 36,38)
Into the Red, Andrew Fuhrmann , single work review essay
'Quicksilver begins in magniloquence, like the prophet Isaiah. It was the cold midwinter season, we are told, when Nicolas Rothwell began his days of journeying, driving west from Papunya in the Northern Territory towards Marble Bar in Western Australia. ‘The roads were empty: for the best part of a week I saw no trace of man and his works.’ As he drove, he thought about the last expedition of Colonel Warburton, the first European explorer to cross the continent west from the centre. He remembered how Warburton, after eight months labouring through the Great Sandy Desert, camped by the dry bed of the Oakover River and there witnessed a marvel beyond all expectation. ‘To our great surprise,’ Warburton wrote in his diary, ‘we were awakened at 3am by the roaring of running water.’ In the morning, they discovered that the landscape had been transformed by a fast-moving flood some 300 metres wide. For in the wilderness shall waters break out, said the prophet, and streams in the desert.' (Introduction)
(p. 39)
[Review Essay] The Light Between the Oceans, Brian McFarlane , single work review essay
'If you read a novel prior to seeing the film derived from it, you know what to expect by way of major plot manoeuvers. Attention is then apt to focus on how the film maker has responded to the original, and the what can then often be seriously be challenged. As one who believes fidelity to be ideal for relationships, I favour playing around with adaptions.' (Introduction)
(p. 42)
[Review Essay] The Eighth Wonder, Michael Halliwell , single work review essay
Opera and Politics are closely intertwined.The commissioning, composition and performance of opera have been used as political instruments in many different contexts, while the actual presentation of opera has often had an overtly political dimension, with operatic performance and opera theatres themselves constituting a significant reflection of political aspirations, national prestige, and identity. (Introduction)
(p. 44-45)
Reparation, Rachel Robertson , single work review essay

A Tear in the Soul is a fine example of creative non-fiction that unfolds a personal story but also advances our knowledge of Australian society, past and present. It is a nuanced contribution to the growing body of literature in which contemporary non-Indigenous Australians attempt to make sense of the history of white settlement and take responsibility for our own complicity in the past and current treatment of Indigenous peoples. In combining a personal quest to reconnect to her past with an exploration of 1960s Kalgoorlie and a moral self-examination, Webster has written a book in which story and idea interweave to engage and move us, even while we are forced to confront disturbing material.


(p. 54)
Shifting Genres, Kerryn Goldsworthy , single work review essay
'The record for the largest number of Miles Franklin Literary Awards ever won is jointly held by Tim Winton and Thea Astley, with four wins each. It may seem odd that with three of those already behind her, Astley should also have won the Patrick White Award in 1989 for ‘a writer who has been highly creative over a long period but has not necessarily received adequate recognition’. But, as David Carter wrote in an essay for ABR (December 2012–January 2013), the terms of the award are more complex than that: ‘The terms do state that the Award is for “an author who has already made a contribution to Australian literature by the writing ... of published novels, short stories, poetry and/or plays”, with the purpose of encouraging the author “to continue to write such works for publication”.' (Introduction)’
(p. 55)
Healing Country, Nathanael Pree , single work review essay
'Ellen van Neerven, Joel Deane, and Mike Ladd present poems about journeys, recovery, and healing, from comfort food to the experience of a stroke, within overlapping landscapes as palimpsests for their respective pathways.' (Introduction)
(p. 57-58)
[Essay Review] Songs of a War Boy : My Story, Dilan Gunawardana , single work review essay
'Songs are of great importance to the Dinka people of South Sudan. ‘They’re our avatars, and our biographies. They precede us, introduce us, and live on after we die,’ writes the refugee advocate, Archibald muse, and NSW Australian of the Year for 2017, Deng Thiak Adut. His memoir, Songs of a War Boy, serves as a profound if disturbing ballad to his tragedies and triumphs.' (Introduction)
(p. 58)
Leaving Paradise, Chris Flynn , single work review essay
'Given the Australian propensity for travel, it is odd that the global wanderings of our citizens are not much explored in literary fiction, which is still in the anguished throes of self-examination, arguably stuck in a loop. How refreshing, then, to read Anthony Macris’s fourth book, Inexperience and Other Stories, a short volume which drops the reader into the discomfiting world of an Australian couple overseas.' (Introduction)
(p. 60)
Heads or Tails, Agnes Nieuwenhuizen , single work review essay
'Much has been made of the fact that Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil is Melina Marchetta’s first adult novel. Marchetta is best known for her Young Adult titles, which include Looking for Alibrandi, Saving Francesca, and On the Jellicoe Road lively, popular works about the intense lives and tribulations of teenagers and their families, often in a cross-cultural (Italian–Australian) context. Having also ventured successfully into fantasy, here she moves into crime drama. This genre provides a fast-paced, incident-packed, and undemanding reading experience. Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief, who provides an endorsement for this book, is, along with Maureen McCarthy, Marchetta, and other ostensibly YA writers, widely read by adults. Marchetta is not straying far from her devoted audience.' (Introduction)
(p. 61)
'Go Scheery", Bernard Whimpress , single work review essay
'Fifty years ago, Brian Scheer, a tall, sinewy Imperials fast bowler, thrilled a handful of boys by driving bowlers of all descriptions straight over their heads, depositing their deliveries in clumps of thick weeds on a low hill at the northern end of the Murray Bridge High School No. 2 Oval. Imps practised on Thursday evenings, and Scheer was the regular opening bowler in B grade, with just the occasional appearance in the first eleven. He was a useful batsman and made the odd twenty or thirty in matches, but the glory of his strokes, which resembled majestic seven irons by their steepling trajectory, was reserved for practice. I remember he would point his left toe high down the wicket, raise his arms shoulder high, his bat would point vertically skyward and his swing would carry through freely like a golf stroke to its completion. If the Murray Valley Standard had ever sent a photographer to Imps practice sessions or a keen amateur snapper had been on hand, one or the other might have captured something special, a small-town version of Victor Trumper’s ‘Jumping Out to Drive’.' (Introduction)
(p. 62)
[Review Essay] The Bone Sparrow, Margaret Robson Kett , single work review essay
'Subhi lives with Maa and his older sister Queeny in ‘Family Three’, hoping that the ‘Night Sea’ will bring his Ba back to them. Born in detention to his Rohingya mother after she arrived illegally in Australia, his friend Eli and a kindly ‘Jacket’ make his life one of fitful pleasures amid the uncertainties of camp life. On the other side of the fence, in the nearby community, Jimmie feels besieged by grief following her mother’s death. She needs the comfort of reliving her mother’s stories, which are kept in a treasured book. A mostly absent father and an uncaring brother won’t share them with her; so, since she can’t read her, the stories are lost to her as well. These unlikely individuals meet at a ‘squeezeway’ in the wire, and their mutual needs help them to escape their separate worlds, for a time.' (Introduction)
(p. 63)
Open Page With Peter Singer, single work interview (p. 64)

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Last amended 27 Feb 2017 09:52:10
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