AustLit logo
y separately published work icon Australian Book Review periodical issue  
Alternative title: ABR
Issue Details: First known date: 2019... no. 408 January / February 2019 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.


* Contents derived from the 2019 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
A Complicated Life : The First Serious Biography of Billy McMahon, James Walter , single work essay

'Billy McMahon, Australia’s twentieth prime minister, held the post for less than two years (March 1971–December 1972). In surveys of both public esteem and professional opinion, he is generally ranked as our least accomplished prime minister. He is also, until now, the only prime minister for whom there has been no serious biography published. No one, perhaps, thought it worth the effort.'  (Introduction)

(p. 16, 18-19)
'The Ceremony of Innocence' : A Formidable Memoir from a Poet and Lawyer, Morag Fraser , single work essay

'The poet James McAuley once told a group of Sydney university students – ‘forcefully’,  as Geoffrey Lehmann recalls – that poets should have a career unconnected with literature. Lehmann had already imbibed a related injunction from his mother:  ‘One day she told me I should become a lawyer and a writer. From the age of twelve I no longer had to think about what I would become.’' (Introduction)

(p. 26-27)
Ellipses, Alice Nelson , single work essay

'In the first few pages of Cedar Valley, a group of women gather together to console one another after a calamitous event shatters the predictable languor of their small rural town. Pulling chairs into a circle, they pour glasses of brandy in the soft light of early evening and reflect on the day’s events, offering succour and speculation as the sky darkens around them. It is this compelling sense of community, with its intricate webs and unexpected bonds, its deep sweetness and complicated anguish, that is at the heart of Holly Throsby’s new novel. Cedar Valley is essentially a charming epic of intimacy; it is this moving affirmation of the sustaining grace of community that animates and enlivens this impressive work.'  (Introduction)

(p. 30)
Power and Parenthood, Jane Sullivan , single work essay

'What is it that so fascinates us about lost children? Whether fact or fiction, their stories keep surfacing: Azaria Chamberlain, Jaidyn Leskie, the Beaumont children, or the schoolgirls Joan Lindsay dreamed up for her 1967 novel Picnic at Hanging Rock. Indeed, those girls have wafted through so many subsequent incarnations in books, a play, a film, and a television series that some people are convinced they were real and that the story of their disappearance is true.'  (Introduction)

(p. 31)
Family Secret, Helena Kadmos , single work essay

'The discovery of human bones is an intriguing narrative opening that rarely disappoints and seems an adaptable vehicle for the Australian gothic and representations of the impacts of colonisation on people and country. Perhaps this is because the image of curved, white mineral shapes (and the hint of stories fossilised within) contrast equally vividly with sandy coastal plains, central red dust, bleak mountain scarps, and dense green forest.'   (Publication summary)

(p. 32)
Polyphony, Bernard Cohen , single work essay

'Virtuosic performance text, palimpsest of a nineteenth-century Russian folktale, and a merciless and often very funny sectioning of the self, Ania Walwicz’s horse enacts what it names: ‘Polyphony as identity’. The narrative more or less follows the story of The Little Humpbacked Horse by Piotr Jerszow, in which a magical horse repeatedly helps Ivan, a foolish young farm boy, towards his fairy-tale ending. In Walwicz’s wilder and more fragmentary retelling, the protagonist’s identity comprises both horse and rider, tsar and groom, tyrant and the tyrannised, abused child and academic, the self of fiction and the ‘autobiographical’. The effect is almost Cubist, in that all of these facets are visible without becoming a settled, realist literary image.'  (Introduction)

(p. 33)
Noir Time, Chris Flynn , single work essay

'In 2004, New York-based publisher Akashic Books released Brooklyn Noir, a collection of short fiction written under a specific brief. Stories had to be set in that neighbourhood and feature noir themes: simmering familial revenge, cheating and double-crossing, sexual betrayal, domestic discord, murderous trysts, down-at-heel detectives. Authors rose to the challenge by focusing on communities like Williamsburg, Bensonhurst, Park Slope, and Bedford–Stuyvesant. This was small-time crime on a localised level. A clever idea, which editor Tim McLoughlin split into four sections: Old School Brooklyn, New School Brooklyn, Cops & Robbers, and Backwater Brooklyn.'  (Introduction)

(p. 34)
Hovering between Worlds, Danielle Clode , single work essay

'It is hard to think of a more distinctive and idiosyncratic author than Western Australian Shaun Tan. Winner of the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children’s literature, Tan’s work has also been recognised by numerous awards in speculative fiction, illustration, and children’s books, including an Academy Award in 2011 (for the animated short adaptation of The Lost Thing). By sheer force of imagination and talent, Tan seems to have carved out a unique niche for himself, one that hovers between the worlds of images and words, children and adults, extravagant fantasy and the most visceral realism. In his latest book, Tales from the Inner City, Tan brings his focus to the fissure between the natural and human worlds.' (Introduction)

(p. 35)
Publisher Picks, Various , single work column

'To complement our ‘Books of the Year’ feature, which appeared in the December 2018 issue, we invited some senior publishers to nominate their favourite books of 2018 – all published by other companies.'  (Introduction)

(p. 36-38)
Resemblances and Opposites : A Welcome Collection of Critical Essays, John Hawke , single work essay

'Perhaps the most encouraging sign in this Puncher & Wattmann collection of critical essays on contemporary Australian poets is the prominent ‘1’ on its front cover, promising that this will be the first in a series. Given that last year’s Contemporary Australian Poetry anthology by the same publisher featured more than two hundred poets, only fourteen of whom are featured for discussion here, this suggests the possibility of a sizeable number of subsequent volumes. The value of such a project cannot be understated: as the editors note in their introduction, the contemporary Australian poetry scene is a particularly vital area of our literature, and the task of ‘grappling with [its] bewildering diversity’ is insufficiently addressed by our current review culture, as well as in academic publications and research funding. It is also noticeably neglected in ‘literary’ forums such as writers’ festivals.'  (Introduction)

(p. 48-49)
Unsettlement, Amy Lin , single work essay

'Anne Elvey’s White on White and Reneé Pettitt-Schipp’s The Sky Runs Right Through Us both offer ideas of unsettlement in contemporary Australia; Elvey’s is the unsettlement brought by the arrival of colonists, whereas Pettitt-Schipp explores the unsettlement associated with denying arrival. In White on White, Elvey explores the limitations and downfalls of colonialism, and the paradoxical act of ‘building a falling’ that settlement represents. Despite its title, the collection is about the co-existence of whiteness and colour, as in the line, ‘On my desk the whiteout / is shelved beside the pens’. This line is also telling as it is about imprints and markings existing beside modes of erasure. In the prose poem ‘School days’, readers are introduced to the speaker’s skin that is ‘peach and cream with a blue undernote […] the colour of my soul’, which a ‘drop of ink’ would mortally stain. Here, Elvey invokes a thread running through the collection: the potential for ink, the medium for writing and textuality, to be fraught with sin and moral complications. At these moments, readers may reflect on the fact that it was white settlers who brought written language to Australia, with all of its blessings and burdens.' (Introduction)

(p. 50)
Open Page with Geoffrey Lehmann, single work interview (p. 51)
[Review] Bottomless, Maxim Boon , single work review
— Review of Bottomless Dan Lee , 2018 single work drama ;
(p. 57)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 8 Jan 2019 11:40:55
    Powered by Trove