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Issue Details: First known date: 2020... no. 418 January / February 2020 of Australian Book Review est. 1961 Australian Book Review
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  • Only literary material within AustLit's  scope individually indexed.  


* Contents derived from the 2020 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Clive James in ABR, Peter Rose , single work essay

'Much has been written about Clive James since his death from leukaemia on November 24. He was, of course, one of the last polymaths, with a range of skills and accomplishments that made him famous in Australia (where he was born in 1939) and the United Kingdom, where he lived from 1961 to his death. Novelist, satirist, memoirist, poet, broadcaster, lyricist, reviewer, paradoxer, essayist par excellence: what didn’t he do in print, on air, on stage?' (Introduction)

(p. 1)
Sandy Theatre : First Encounters on the Coast, Alexandra Roginski , single work review
— Review of The First Wave : Exploring Early Coastal Contact History in Australia 2019 anthology poetry essay short story criticism ;

'First encounters between Indigenous Australians and European voyagers, sealers, and missionaries often unfolded on the beach, a contact zone where meaning and misunderstanding sparked from colliding worldviews. This sandy theatre also serves as one of the enduring metaphors of ethnographic history, a discipline that reads through the accounts of European explorers, diarists, and administrators to reconsider historical accounts of the gestures of Indigenous people from within their own cultural frameworks. Europeans blinded by racial preconceptions scribbled reports about the peoples they met, often misinterpreting actions as foolish, threatening, or pointless. Yet from the late twentieth century, historians such as Greg Dening (whose extensive theoretical work positioned the beach as the great physical and mental horizon of contact history) began combing through accounts of these tense meetings to reach for the other side of the story.' (Introduction)

(p. 11-12)
'Voice, Treaty, and Truth' : A Deeply Felt Account of the Uluru Statement, David Trigger , single work review
— Review of Finding the Heart of the Nation : The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth Thomas Mayor , 2019 single work non-fiction ;
'The ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ emerged in May 2017 from a convention held in Arrernte country in Central Australia attended by 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around the nation. The Statement called for a ‘First Nations Voice’ to be enshrined in the Constitution enabling, in general terms, a process of influence on future legislation and policy affecting Indigenous communities. The Statement also seeks a commitment to agreement-making between government and Indigenous groups and ‘truth-telling’ about the history of colonisation.' (Introduction) 
(p. 12-14)
Plein Air, Susan Wyndham , single work review
— Review of Womerah Lane : Lives and Landscapes Tom Carment , 2019 selected work essay ;
'Tom Carment the artist, writer, and man makes a perfectly integrated whole. Carment is a compact, casually neat figure who looks through round-lensed glasses and has a calm stillness even when he’s on the move, as he often is. His art and writing are also on a small scale, intimately observant, informal, and warmly appealing. He has exhibited his paintings and drawings for more than four decades and has written for almost as long, occasionally for publication and often in private. As he said at his book launch, he used to pour most of his thoughts into letters, including one he found recently that ran to thirty-eight pages.'


(p. 14-15)
Flannery's Bedrock, Libby Robin , single work review
— Review of Life : Selected Writings Tim Flannery , 2019 selected work essay criticism ;

'One of the pleasures of reviewing a book is reading it slowly, paying attention to the rhythms and its author’s intentions, impulses, and indulgences. Reading is always a conversation between writer and reader. A major collection like Life: Selected writings takes this experience to a new level. This is not just a conversation between a writer now and a reader now, but a writer then, his choices now, the sum of those choices as arrayed in a substantial blue volume, and the reader with a ‘long now’ to luxuriate in the exchange.' (Introduction)

(p. 15-16)
'Drawing with Light' : A Compelling Biography of Olive Cotton, Alison Stieven-Taylor , single work review
— Review of Olive Cotton : A Life in Photography Helen Ennis , 2019 single work biography ;
'A lover of photography since childhood, by the time Olive Cotton, who was born in Sydney in 1911, was in her twenties she was already creating the pictures that were to define her as one of Australia’s foremost women photographers, although this would not be acknowledged until the 1980s. Apart from the photographs she made, Cotton left little material trace of a life that spanned nine decades (she died in 2003). This lack of physical evidence presented a challenge for biographer Helen Ennis, a former curator of photography at the National Gallery of Australia and an art historian, who has nonetheless managed to weave a compelling, if at times diaphanous, narrative.' (Introduction)
(p. 22-23)
Chisholm's Charm, Danielle Clode , single work review
— Review of Idling in Green Places : A Life of Alec Chisholm Russell McGregor , 2019 single work biography ;

'Australian nature writing has come a long way in recent years. Not only do we have an abundance of contemporary nature writers, but we are also rediscovering the ones we have forgotten. The neglect of Australia’s nature writing history, with its contributions to science, literature, and conservation, is happily being redressed with recent biographies of Jean Galbraith, Rica Erickson, Edith Coleman, and now a new biography of Alec Chisholm.' (Introduction)

(p. 26)
Two Worlds, Stephen Bennetts , single work review
— Review of Gulpilil Derek Rielly , 2019 single work biography interview ;

'Australians have admired distinguished actor David Gulpilil in films like Walkabout (1971), Storm Boy (1976), The Tracker (2002), and Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002). Not so many will be familiar with the details of his recent life, as related by journalist Derek Rielly. We find Gulpilil dying of lung cancer in Murray Bridge, an unprepossessing town on the lower Murray River in South Australia. He is surrounded by friends and cared for by the heroic Mary Hood, a retired nurse who has dedicated much of her life to caring for Aboriginal people in the Top End. This follows several bleak years living as a ‘long grasser’ on the fringes of Darwin and doing time in Berrimah Prison on charges of serious assault during a drunken fight.' (Introduction)

(p. 27)
Force of Nature, Sharon Verghis , single work review
— Review of A Spanner in the Works : The Extraordinary Story of Alice Anderson and Australia's First All-girl Garage Loretta Smith , 2019 single work biography ;
'On the evening of 6 August 1926, Alice Anderson donned her driving goggles and gloves, waved to the cheering crowds outside Melbourne’s Lyceum Club, and got into her tiny two-seater Austin 7. With her former teacher Jessie Webb beside her, the boot packed with two guns, sleeping bags, a compass, four gallons of water, a supply of biscuits, and, strangely, two potatoes with red curly wigs, she tooted the horn and set off. Her mission? A three-week pioneering trip to the never-never. ‘There is only one main route from Adelaide to Darwin, and that is only a camel track,’ the tiny young woman behind the wheel said breezily of the 2,607-kilometre journey ahead of her. ‘We are not going to stick to the beaten track.’' (Introduction)
(p. 32)
Style and Suspense : Auspicious Times for Australian Crime Fiction, David Whish-Wilson , single work review
— Review of Darkness for Light Emma Viskic , 2019 single work novel ; The Wife and the Widow Christian White , 2019 single work novel ; Peace Garry Disher , 2019 single work novel ;
'These are exciting times when the new normal for Australian crime fiction is strong domestic interest and sales, but also international attention in the form of Australian-only panels at overseas writers’ festivals, plus regular nominations and awards in Germany, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Whether this is a literary fad or sustainable in the long term – with Australian crime fiction becoming a recognisable ‘brand’ in the manner of Scandi-noir or Tartan-noir – will depend largely upon the sustained quality of the novels produced here.' (Introduction)
(p. 36-37)
Heat and Succour, Kerryn Goldsworthy , single work review
— Review of Damascus Christos Tsiolkas , 2019 single work novel ;

'The man traditionally held to have written about half of the New Testament is variously known as Saul of Tarsus, Paul the Apostle, and St Paul. Initially an enthusiastic persecutor of the earliest Christians, he underwent a dramatic conversion shortly after the Crucifixion, and it is on this moment that his life, and Christos Tsiolkas’s new novel, both turn. Damascus covers the period 35–87 CE, from shortly before Paul’s conversion until twenty or more years after his death. This chronology is not straightforwardly linear, with an assortment of narrators recounting their personal experiences, at various times and from various points of view, of Christianity’s birth and spread amid the brutal realities of the Roman Empire.' (Introduction)

(p. 38)
Flotsam, Susan Midalia , single work review
— Review of The Sea & Us Catherine de Saint-Phalle , 2019 single work novel ;
'Catherine de Saint Phalle already had an impressive publication history – five novels written in French and one in English – when her elegantly written, often heart-breaking memoir Poum and Alexandre was shortlisted for the 2017 Stella Prize. Her new novel, The Sea and Us, is her third book written in English since she came to Australia in 2003. Its title works both literally and symbolically. The Sea and Us is the name of the Melbourne fish and chip shop above which the middle-aged narrator, Harold, rents a room, having returned to his childhood city after eighteen years of living and working in South Korea.' (Introduction)
(p. 39)
Gone, but Not Forgotten, Chris Flynn , single work review
— Review of See You at the Toxteth Peter Corris , 2019 selected work essay short story biography ; The Red Hand Peter Temple , 2019 selected work screenplay extract short story review essay ;
'Two of the greatest Australian crime writers died within six months of each other in 2018. Peter Temple authored nine novels, four of which featured roustabout Melbourne private detective Jack Irish, and one of which, Truth, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2010. Temple died on 8 March 2018, aged seventy-one. Peter Corris was more prolific, writing a staggering eighty-eight books across his career, including historical fiction, biography, sport, and Pacific history. Forty-two of those highlighted the travails of punchy Sydney P.I. Cliff Hardy. Corris died on 30 August 2018, seventy-six and virtually blind.' (Introduction)
(p. 41)
'Tropes of Terror', Susan Lever , single work review
— Review of In Whom We Trust John Clanchy , 2019 single work novel ;

'The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has revealed systemic mistreatment of vulnerable children over decades. Though these crimes have not been the exclusive province of the Catholic Church, its education system has brought more children into intimate care by religious orders, and even those never abused have observed the tics of brutality in some of their teachers and mentors. In a note at the end of his new novel, In Whom We Trust, John Clanchy mentions James Joyce’s hell-fire sermon in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and the recurrence of these ‘tropes of terror’ in the rhetoric he heard as a Catholic schoolboy in 1960s Melbourne. The system has long-standing practices of psychological control.' (Introduction)

(p. 42)
My Father’s Thesaurusi"You drove faultlessly until sundown.", A. Frances Johnson , single work poetry (p. 53)
Precision Signs, Lachlan Brown , sequence poetry (p. 54)
Iii. Processing Is ini"Back to the motorway again, shuffling infinite rows", Lachlan Brown , single work poetry (p. 54)
Ii. Crisis Openingsi"Really? A host of change-agents wielding quality degrees", Lachlan Brown , single work poetry (p. 54)
I. Session Pricingi"A fully booked cruise bound for immediate shores,", Lachlan Brown , single work poetry (p. 54)
Constellation of Beesi"Sixteen and just a touch of down above the lip,", Julie Manning , single work poetry (p. 55)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 7 Jan 2020 10:03:53
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