AustLit logo
y separately published work icon Australian Book Review periodical issue  
Alternative title: ABR
Issue Details: First known date: 2017... no. 389 March 2017 of Australian Book Review est. 1961 Australian Book Review
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Welcome to the March issue! Highlights include:

  • Ross McKibbin on the Chilcot Report into the Iraq debacle
  • Margaret Harris on an ‘enthralling’ study of Queen Victoria
  • Morag Fraser on Mark Colvin’s dual memoir
  • Beejay Silcox on George Saunders’s début novel
  • The 2017 Peter Porter Poetry Prize shortlist

(From ABR website)


  • Includes the shortlisted poems for the Peter Porter Poetry Prize. Australian entries are indexed. International entrants include:

    Ronald Dzerigian (USA)

    Michael Lee Phillips (USA)


* Contents derived from the 2017 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Enough Said! Paul Keating's Latest Biography Falls Under a Spell, James Walter , single work criticism
'Paul Keating has been much written about; his trajectory is familiar. His is a story of leadership and the exercise of power, about a man who led from the front and – like Gough Whitlam – was willing to ‘crash through or crash’ when following his convictions. No prime minister since has displayed a similar propensity. Troy Bramston’s biography conforms to that account. There is new material upon which to reflect, a valuable fleshing out of decisions, policies, and events, but there are no startling revelations that would cause one to revise the Keating life history. Still, this is a book with considerable virtues.' (Introduction)
(p. 8-10)
Unorthodox Approach : A Daring Biography of a Remarkable Woman, Brian Matthews , single work criticism
In the summer of 1988 I was part of an Adelaide Writers Week symposium on biography, the stars of which were two justly famous and accomplished biographers – Victoria Glendinning and Andrew Motion...' (Introduction)
(p. 16,17)
Both Hands Full, Glyn Davis , single work criticism
‘An annual challenge: how to select essays which capture the moment but live beyond the immediate? ’(Introduction)
(p. 22)
Poor Cousin, Danielle Clode , single work criticism
'Maralinga is a name familiar to most Australians as the site of British nuclear testing in the 1950s. Less familiar are the earlier tests at the Monte Bello Islands off Western Australia and Emu Field in South Australia. All have left a toxic legacy in our history.' (Introduction)
(p. 23)
Inga Clendinnen : An Appreciation, Jay Winter , single work obituary

‘Inga Clendinnen, who died in Melbourne on 8 September 2016, was an historian whose primary research interest was the exploration of the social conditions of extreme violence in different periods and societies. She was born Inga Vivienne Jewell, the youngest of four children, in Geelong in 1934. Her father had a cabinet and furniture workshop, the income of which he shared with his workers during hard times. The family lived on a precarious footing, with frugality built into Inga’s early life.’ (Introduction)

(p. 24-27)
Double Life, Morag Fraser , single work criticism
‘Mark Colvin’s fine memoir – of a journalist’s life and as a spy’s son – was completed before the Macquarie Dictionary chose ‘fake news’ as its word of the year, and the OED and Merriam-Webster opted for ‘post truth’ and ‘surreal’. In July 2016, as Colvin was writing his acknowledgments chapter, Donald Trump was being nominated as the Republican candidate for the presidency of the United States. Colvin does not mention Trump’s name. But his entire book – a principled insider’s history of the craft of journalism, of Cold War politics, espionage, and the pivotal political events of the twentieth and early twenty-first century – is a counter-instance to ‘fake news’ and the hyperventilating culture which spawns it. It is also a bracing reminder that the fourth estate – in its now myriad manifestations – remains the necessary counterweight to the abuse of power and to oligarchic or autocratic rule.’ (Introduction)
(p. 29)
Works in Progress, Jane Sullivan , single work essay
'An odd thing happened after I had finished reading this short story collection. I came back to it a couple of weeks later, intending to write this review, and found I had almost completely forgotten some of the stories. Such amnesia is unusual for me. Good short stories generally set up a resonance that lingers, even if not all the details stay in the mind. Does that mean, then, that these are not good short stories? I wouldn’t say that. Uneven, perhaps. Some seem unresolved, more like fragments: although they aim at completeness, and are polished to a finished form, on some level they go on unfurling, not yet ready to declare The End.' (Introduction)
(p. 32)
Flawed Milieu, Suzanne Falkiner , single work essay
‘Goldie Goldbloom has an eye for the dramatic and the morbid. Her novel about the real-life love affair, beginning in 1904, between artists Gwen John and Auguste Rodin, thirty-six years her senior, begins with a list of seventeen women – including Camille Claudel, Isadora Duncan, and Lady Victoria Sackville-West – whom Rodin allegedly bedded. One, we learn, was hit by a bus, one froze to death, three died by suicide, one from starvation, one in childbirth, one of a broken heart, one in the American bombing of Japan, one by accidental strangulation (possibly, it is suggested, during a sex act), and we all know what happened to Isadora Duncan. The last in her list is Gwendolen Mary John.’ (Introduction)
(p. 33)
Terrible Love, Anna MacDonald , single work criticism
‘Kathryn Heyman’s novel, Storm and Grace, joins the recent proliferation of fiction by Australian women that deals with intimate partner violence. Like Zoë Morrison’s Love and Freedom (2016), it depicts the development of an increasingly troubled and ultimately violent marriage, over the course of which a woman loses her sense of self. Like Charlotte Wood’s The Natural Way of Things (2015), it is an indictment of the complicity of the media and other forms of representation – film, chick lit, ‘[a]ll that Fifty Shades shit’ – in setting standards of women’s behaviour, especially as it pertains to romantic love.’ (Introduction)
(p. 34)
Gippsland Bound, Fiona Gruber , single work criticism
Wedding Bush Road is a novel about contrasts and conflicts: new-age America versus an old-fashioned Australia; messy rural versus shipshape urban; high status versus low; the past versus the present.’ (Introduction)
(p. 35)
'Scoundrel Days : A Memoir' by Brentley Frazer, Duncan Fardon , single work criticism
‘rentley Frazer, one of many scoundrels in his memoir Scoundrel Days, documents coming of age on the boundary of civilisation. His father’s vocation as the only policeman in a small northern Queensland mining town subjects Frazer to a chaotic side of life: a lockup only a stone’s throw from his bedroom; housing criminals and murderous poachers; bloodied victims of domestic violence showing up in the early hours; and the aftermath of car crashes. His parents’ involvement with the new-age cult ‘The Family’ introduces perverts into the home. But Frazer embraces his circumstances with a kind of brash vigour, starting The Wreckers gang, drinking, smoking, taking drugs, and committing acts of vandalism.’ (Introduction)
(p. 36)
Caroline Baum : 'Only: A Singular Memoir', Gillian Dooley , single work criticism
‘Some ‘only’ children have revelled in that status. Iris Murdoch called her family unit ‘a perfect trinity of love’. Caroline Baum sees her family less happily as a triangle: ‘There’s something uncomfortable about a triangle: it’s all elbows, suggesting awkward unease.’ We find out in the following 380-odd pages the whats and whys of this discomfort. Some of it is historical; perhaps most is historical. Her father came to England with the Kindertransport. Her French mother had an equally traumatic but more singular childhood. Both were deprived of a normal family life as children.’ (Introduction)
(p. 36)
The Snow Lies Deepi"the low fish", Jennifer Saunders , single work poetry (p. 38)
Laikai"I’d spent the morning on the coast", Anthony Lawrence , single work poetry (p. 39)
And It Is What It Isi"You are given fingers before a mouth. Your ears are the last to form.", Jessie Tu , single work poetry (p. 40)
Sentence to Lilacsi"Europe, stolen schoolgirl, she", Louis Klee , single work poetry (p. 41)
Phi"Sodium Hydroxide Washed out:", Damen O'Brien , single work poetry (p. 42)
Unruly Energies : Two Surveys of Australian Poetry, John Hawke , single work criticism
‘According to The Magic Pudding, Bunyip Bluegum’s erudition is established through his ability to ‘converse on a great variety of subjects, having read all the best Australian poets’, a questionable achievement in Norman Lindsay’s day. A glance through the Annals of Australian Literature reveals the paucity of quality Australian poetry volumes published through most of the twentieth century, with selection shaped by the tastes of powerfully controlling editors, especially Douglas Stewart. Even in 1966, Max Harris’s survey essay on ‘Conflicts in Australian Intellectual Life’ – in which he inveighs against the academic gatekeeping of critics such as A.D.  Hope, James McAuley, and Vincent Buckley in the post-‘Ern Malley’ era – notes the limited opportunities for publication by emerging ‘younger non-intellectual’ poets. This situation changed dramatically for the generation of poets who appeared in the 1970s, with generous subsidies and the emergence of a range of independent and commercial publishing opportunities for poetry volumes: poets of this generation – whilst splitting the spoils along the lines of painstakingly demarcated coteries – responded to this opportunity by producing oeuvres often staggeringly more voluminous than those of the poets who preceded them (Kenneth Slessor’s 100 Poems would these days barely constitute a single publication).’ (Introduction)
(p. 43-45)
Poet of the Month : Bronwyn Lea, single work interview (p. 46)
Dragons and Facts, David McCooey , single work criticism
‘John Kinsella, who lives mostly in Australia, is a transnational literary powerhouse. Poet, fiction writer, playwright, librettist, critic, academic, collaborator, editor, publisher, activist; his activities and accomplishments are manifold. He is best known as a poet, and the publication of Graphology Poems 1995–2015 – a mammoth (and ongoing) discontinuous series of poems published in three volumes – brings together two decades of work.’ (Introduction)
(p. 47-48)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 4 Jun 2018 09:55:56
    Powered by Trove