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Alternative title: ABR
Issue Details: First known date: 2018... no. 401 May 2018 of Australian Book Review est. 1961 Australian Book Review
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  •  Contents indexed selectively.


* Contents derived from the 2018 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Anvil and Axle : A Collection of Essays by Barry Hill, Patrick McCaughey , single work essay

'Barry Hill’s collection of essays from the last four decades is commanding and impressive. Few could match his range of subjects: from Tagore to John Berger, Lucian Freud to Christina Stead – all, for the most part, carried off with aplomb. He catches the ‘raw’ edge of Freud’s studio – ‘worksite’ as Hill calls it – ‘the sea of bare boards that rise into so many paintings, the tatty chair, the piles of used rags on the floor and up the walls, the soiled flotsam of a painter’s toil, tossed aside like offal in an abattoir’. He characterises so well ‘the ambiguous aura of melancholy’ in Freud’s figures, with their paradoxical mixture of ‘implacable vigour’ and ‘their listlessness’, the latter the product of the exhaustion of the models compelled to pose for extended periods.' (Introduction)

(p. 12-13)
Undiminished Voice : Robert Mann's Latest Essay Collection, Shaun Crowe , single work essay

'By now, the Robert Manne essay is a well-established form – four decades at the centre of public life will do that. Whatever the topic, his pieces tend to possess certain qualities: an almost lawyerly emphasis on fact and argument over style and rhetoric; a professor’s sympathy for the world of ideas over the muck of institutions; an unfashionable willingness to change his mind without worry or shame; and an overwhelming focus on public questions over private struggles.' (Introduction)

(p. 14-15)
The Paradox of Recognition : The Cultural Politics of Claiming Native Title, Richard J. Martin , single work essay

'The year 2017 marked the twenty- fifth anniversary of the High Court’s 1992 decision in Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (Mabo), which recognised the existence of Indigenous people’s traditional ‘native title’ rights over the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait. This finding, and the passage through parliament of the Keating government’s Native Title Act the following year, dramatically changed the legal position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian society. Since then, there have been 338 determinations that native title exists in different parts of Australia, delivering significant benefits to a substantial proportion of claimant groups.' (Introduction)

(p. 18-19)
Natalityi"body’s habitude begin", Anne Elvey , single work poetry (p. 19)
Once Again : Outside in the House of Art, Kirsten Tranter , single work essay

'The setting is a gorgeous, somewhat decayed, many-roomed Georgian mansion in upstate New York, near the Hudson, in 2012. Nine screens placed around a darkened gallery space each show a room of the house, most of them occupied by a person and a musical instrument: a willowy woman in a slip on a chaise longue, arms wrapped around a cello; a dark-skinned man seated at an ornate desk leaning intently over a bass guitar. There is a man at a grand piano in a room with densely patterned wallpaper, at a drum kit in a kitchen doorway, on a bed with a guitar next to a naked woman. A naked man in a bathtub holds a guitar, not seeming to mind that it dips into the bubbly water. They all wear headphones, listening attentively, mostly unmindful of the camera. One screen shows the front verandah on which a disparate group of people are gathered, standing, sitting, straddling the balcony rail. One by one the musicians take up their instruments.' (Introduction)

(p. 20)
'No Schmaltz, No Spin', Gillian Dooley , single work essay

'And so I patch it together … I take the liberty of seeking not only an explanation but a connection between what at first might appear to be disparate ingredients.’ The narrator of Gregory Day’s new novel, A Sand Archive, takes many liberties. Enigmatic in various ways, apparently solitary, nameless, and ungendered, this character is nevertheless full of fascinated admiration and affection for an older man who is virtually a stranger, and candid about the feelings and impulses that compel the creation of an intimate account of his life and career. The patchwork is composed of clues found in an obscure publication titled The Great Ocean Road: Dune stabilisation and other engineering difficulties by FB Herschell, along with an archive in ‘the small prime ministerial library at the university on the edge of the water’ in Geelong.' (Introduction)

(p. 34)
'Something More Than Nothing', Shannon Burns , single work essay

'In Relatively Famous, Roger Averill combines a fictional memoir with extracts from a faux-biography of the memoirist’s Booker Prize-winning father, Gilbert Madigan. The biography amounts to a fairly bloodless summary of the events of Madigan’s life, and his son’s memoir is similarly sedate. This makes for a limp but sensitively conceived novel about paternal failure and the extent to which parents remain the authors of their children’s lives.' (Introduction)

(p. 36)
Kaleidoscope, Amy Baillieu , single work essay

'Robbie Arnott’s Flames is an exuberantly creative and confident début. Set in an alternate Tasmania, Flames’s kaleidoscopic narrative crackles with energy and imagination. This is a world of briefly reincarnating women, gin-swigging private detectives, wombat farms, malevolent cormorants, elementals and nature gods, fishermen who form lifelong bonds with seals, and coffee-table books about coffins; a world in which the complex bonds of love and family are further compounded by enhanced abilities, supernatural influences, and unusual genetic legacies. While some characters and developments are inspired by real events and people, this is a story that sparks with invention.' (introduction)

(p. 37)
Josephine Taylor Reviews 'The Lucky Galah', Josephine Taylor , single work review
— Review of The Lucky Galah Tracy Sorensen , 2018 single work novel ;

'In 1969, in a quintessentially Australian town on the remote north-west coast, the locals prepare to celebrate their role in the moon landing. In 2000, as the townsfolk brace themselves for a cyclone, Lucky, this novel’s pink and grey narrator, uses transmissions from a satellite dish tuned to galah frequency to make sense of what she saw and heard from her cage in the 1960s. Quirky? Unbelievable? Tracy Sorensen’s The Lucky Galah upsets preconceptions in a smart and charming account of a human population on the cusp of radical social transformation. (Introduction)

(p. 39)
Gretchen Shirm Reviews 'You Belong Here', Gretchen Shirm , single work review
— Review of You Belong Here Laurie Steed , 2018 single work novel ;

'Interwoven short story collections are often at their best when they offer multiple perspectives on the same event. Laurie Steed does this well in his début novel You Belong Here, as he captures the life of a single family through the multiplicity of its members.' (Introduction)

(p. 39)
Confessional Intensity, Joan Fleming , single work essay

'The classic lyric preoccupation with interiority, and how internal life touches and changes the outside world, finds expression in two recent collections of poetry: Fiona Wright’s Domestic Interior and Carolyn Abbs’s The Tiny Museums. In both collections, the speakers draw the shapes of their internal furniture, while building monuments to the intimate scenes and common spaces that define them.' (Introduction)

(p. 40-41)
Four Roomsi"Your beard intrigues me, its rough mystery, patterned complexity.", Julie Manning , single work poetry (p. 42)
Anna MacDonald Reviews 'The Fortress', Anna MacDonald , single work review
— Review of The Fortress S. A. Jones , 2018 single work novel ;

'This speculative novel is of the Zeitgeist. S.A. Jones imagines a civilisation of women – the Vaik – committed to ‘Work. History. Sex. Justice.’ Although they live apart, in ‘The Fortress’, there is a history of exchange between the Vaik and the outside world. All women are entitled to Vaik justice if they have been violated and, according to a treaty that includes ‘biological guarantees’, Vaik are ‘granted access to men and sperm’. Thus, The Fortress accommodates men: national servicemen; ‘isvestyii’ who, having committed crimes against women and girls, are sentenced to life (and death) at The Fortress; permanent residents; and ‘supplicants’. These men work – in the fields, the kitchens, etc. – and must consent to the Vaik ‘direct[ing] the uses of [their bodies] at all times’.' (Introduction)

(p. 44)
Through the Looking Glass : Two New Poetry Collections, David Dick , single work essay

'Both Adam Aitken’s Archipelago and Elizabeth Allen’s Present examine the establishment and mutability of identity in the worlds of objects, histories, literature, and media in which they place their speakers. Of course, the exploration of identity is a common theme of poetry, particularly as it pertains to how the material of language helps shape such a tenuous concept. Admittedly, the theme serves primarily as a useful frame through which to enter two starkly different works. All the same, Aitken and Allen’s books prove rewardingly immersive and surprisingly complex in the different ways in which they handle their speakers’ desire for understanding in the crowded spaces of their poetry.'(Introduction)

(p. 45-46)
Conjuring, Brigitta Olubas , single work essay

'Almost twelve years after her death, Bronwyn Oliver (1959–2006) remains one of Australia’s best-known sculptors; her artistic legacy supported by the prolific outputs of an intense and high-profile studio practice across three decades, by public, private, and corporate commissions, and by a string of prizes, awards, and fellowships. She is admired now, as she was throughout her career, as an artist of signal intellectual depth and aesthetic complexity, her work carrying appeal across a broad public.' (Introduction)

(p. 51)
Poet of the Month with Pam Brown, single work interview

'Which poets have most influenced you?

'Influence is transient – it changes all the time. I can’t always pinpoint it directly or say which poets might be most influential on my poems. From the mid-1960s I read everything – the French, the Dadaists, the Eastern Europeans, Vladimir Mayakovsky. Gertrude Stein reigned supreme for me, then Mina Loy. I was energised by many North Americans from Emily Dickinson to Diane di Prima and the Beats, to the so-called ‘New York School’, to Rachel Blau DuPlessis and the so-called ‘post-avant’, to Claudia Rankine’s cutting lyrical documentaries. The Sydney Women Writers Workshop (aka the ‘No Regrets’ group) in the late 1970s had a significant effect. Over the years my poetry has been under the influence of plenty of Australians. Ken Bolton is my best critic.' (Introduction)

(p. 54)
Clarity and Vitality, Paul Watt , single work

'Eileen Joyce’s name is not to be found in books about the great pianists, but a great pianist she was nonetheless. Born and raised in rural Tasmania and Western Australia, she studied in Leipzig and London and eventually found fame as a versatile pianist with an unusually robust technique and a wide repertory (including ninety concertos). The new reissue of her studio recordings (Decca/Eloquence), which includes performances of chamber music and works for harpsichord, will pleasantly surprise listeners with their clarity and vitality of playing.' (Introduction)

(p. 59-60)
[Review Essay] After Dinner, Ben Brooker , single work essay

'Thirty years old is a difficult age for a play in this country. Australian cultural memory is not exactly short, but it certainly tapers in the middle where such plays lie, flanked on one side by The Canon and, on the other, by The Next Big Thing. Andrew Bovell’s After Dinner – initially a melancholic one-acter for three women, later expanded and recast by the playwright for his drama school peers as a sort of boulevard comedy – feels exceptional in this regard: a not-quite-new, not-quite-old Australian play that has nevertheless entered the repertoire. On its completion in 1988, it played in Melbourne for almost half a year and seems to have been produced uninterruptedly since, including by Sydney Theatre Company as recently as 2015. In Bovell’s program note for this solid revival by the State Theatre Company of South Australia, he describes it, not wrongly, as ‘a classic comedy of the Australian theatre’.' (Introduction)

(p. 63)
Open Page with Justine Ettler, single work interview

'Why do you write?

'Because I love doing it and because at times I’ve been changed for the better as a result of reading great novels. Bohemia Beach is about a successful woman who is also an alcoholic. My love of Prague aside, I was inspired to challenge the novelistic cliché of the happy-go-lucky female drunk: bad things can happen to women who drink.' (Introduction)

(p. 64)

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Last amended 4 Jun 2018 09:59:09
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