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Issue Details: First known date: 2020... no. 426 November 2020 of Australian Book Review est. 1961 Australian Book Review
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Welcome to the November issue! On our cover is a very young Hessom Razavi, the ABR Behrouz Boochani Fellow. In his cover article, Hessom relates his family’s trials after the Iranian Revolution, their flight to Australia, and his awareness of the immense ordeals facing refugees in Australia’s immigration centres. Tony Hughes-d’Aeth examines regional differences in Australian writing and considers the ways regional factors can influence authors. Gideon Haigh is underwhelmed by Book Woodward’s new book, Rage, and asks if Trump’s presidency has rendered traditional journalism impossible. James Ley finds much to admire in Richard Flanagan’s new novel, as does Beejay Silcox with Elena Ferrante’s first novel since the Neapolitan quartet. Susan Wyndham reviews the new novel by Craig Silvey, who is the subject of Open Page. And Judith Bishop is our Poet of the Month.' (Publication summary)


* Contents derived from the 2020 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
The Histories That Shape Us : In Search of the Author's Father, Iva Glisic , single work review
— Review of The Other Side of Absence Betty O’Neill , 2020 single work autobiography ;

'The realisation that our parents are not exactly who we understood them to be can be a profound rite of passage. For some it comes with no forewarning: a random event leads to an accidental disclosure, or substantiates an old rumour. For others this realisation takes shape in a less acute though no less transformative manner. With The Other Side of Absence: Discovering my father’s secrets, Betty O’Neill pieces together her family history in an effort to learn more about her father, a stranger she briefly encountered when she was nineteen. What began as an innocuous exercise at a writers’ retreat would evolve into a three-year research project through which the author uncovers the riveting story of Antoni Jagielski – resistance fighter, Holocaust survivor, unsettled postwar migrant, and absent father.' (Introduction)

(p. 13)
Sary and George : A Feminist Publisher Revisits the Past, Brenda Niall , single work review
— Review of Oh Happy Day Carmen Callil , 2020 single work autobiography ;

'Scanning my bookshelves, I see a dozen or more of the distinctive green spines of Virago Press. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Virago imprint was a guarantee of good reading by women writers whose works were rediscovered and sent out to find a new public. I had read Margaret Atwood, Rosamond Lehmann, and Elizabeth Taylor for the first time in hardcovers; Virago made them new. Kate O’ Brien’s The Land of Spices, banned in Ireland, had been hard to get. Here it was in Virago green, with a perceptive introduction to put it in context.' (Introduction)

(p. 18)
Portraits of the Futurei"Look, said the sonographer, your sister says hello!", Judith Bishop , single work poetry (p. 22)
Thinking in a Regional Accent : New Ways of Contemplating Australian Writers, Tony Hughes-d'Aeth , single work essay

'Who would have guessed that a rejuvenation of regional difference might be triggered by a plague? Cosmopolitan Melbourne became the epicentre of what Prime Minister Scott Morrison has called the ‘Victorian wave’. Borders, the leitmotif of Australian politics since Tampa, suddenly became internal. My own state of Western Australia was sued for breach of the Australian Constitution for maintaining its ‘hard’ internal borders. Wonted barbs flowing between states now felt just a little personal. Interstate rivalry in Australia is not uncommon, with familiar stoushes over GST share, the Murray– Darling Basin, the location of naval shipbuilding, and the hosting of sporting events. But the idea that Australia has internal borders, not just to check fruit but to stop the movement of people, Australian people, is something that has only emerged with Covid-19.' (Introduction)

(p. 24-26)
A Rising Scream : An Essay on the Metaphysics of Love, James Ley , single work review
— Review of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams Richard Flanagan , 2020 single work novel ;

'The Living Sea of Waking Dreams begins, self-consciously, at the limits of language. Its opening pages are rendered in a prose style that is fragmented and contorted. Sentences break down, run into each other. Syntax is twisted into odd shapes that call into question the very possibility of meaning. Words seem to arrive pre-estranged by semantic satiation in a way that evokes Gertrude Stein or Samuel Beckett at their most opaque: ‘As if they too were already then falling apart, so much ash and soot soon to fall, so much smoke to suck down. As if all that can be said is we say you and if that then. Them us were we you?’' (Introduction)

(p. 28-29)
Violent Hearts : An Australian Fairy Tale, Georgia White , single work review
— Review of Flyaway Kathleen Jennings , 2020 single work novella ;

'At the heart of every fairy tale, there is violence: Snow White’s stepmother calling for her heart on a platter, Cinderella’s sisters mutilating their feet to fit the silver shoe. ‘All the better to eat you with, my dear,’ says the wolf, his belly already stuffed with grandmother’s flesh. From this bloodletting, the fairy tale tries to spin something wondrous, turning straw into gold and men into beasts.' (Introduction)

(p. 31)
Cavalcade of Coincidences : Andrew Pippos's Debut Novel, Sonia Nair , single work review
— Review of Lucky's Andrew Pippos , 2020 single work novel ;

'In Andrew Pippos’s immersive and multi-layered début novel, Lucky’s, a tragic shooting that occurs in the last bastion of a Greek-Australian restaurant franchise becomes the fulcrum around which mental health, heartbreak, displacement, and toxic masculinity are explored.' (Introduction)

(p. 33)
Places Within : Confronting the Legacy of Abuse, Nicole Abadee , single work review
— Review of Infinite Splendours Sofie Laguna , 2020 single work novel ;

'Sofie Laguna does not shy away from confronting subject matter. Her first adult novel, One Foot Wrong (2009), is about a young girl forced by her troubled parents into a reclusive existence. Her second, The Eye of the Sheep (2014), which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2015, tells the story of a young boy on the autism spectrum born into a family riven by poverty and violence. Her third, The Choke (2017), concerns a motherless child in danger because of her father’s criminal connections. Infinite Splendours is also about the betrayal of a child by the adults in his life, but here Laguna ventures into new territory, exploring the lasting impact of trauma on a child as he becomes a man, and whether the abused may become the abuser.' (Introduction)

(p. 34)
Ripple Effects : Pinpoints of Life Experience, Rose Lucas , single work review
— Review of Dreams They Forgot Emma Ashmere , 2020 selected work short story ;

'A short story collection can have much in common with a collection of poetry, where each story pivots on attention to something particular and arresting – an image, a memory, the encounters with strangeness or beauty that can occur in a life. Individual stories build delicately towards such a moment, then fall away quickly, willing a reader to engage with feeling and suggestion rather than the comprehensiveness of narrative.' (Introduction)

(p. 35)
A Bumpy Road : Craig Silvey's New Novel, Anna MacDonald , single work review
— Review of Honeybee Craig Silvey , 2020 single work novel ;

'Honeybee, Craig Silvey’s highly anticipated new novel, his first since Jasper Jones (2009), chronicles the coming of age of fourteen-year-old transgender narrator Sam Watson, who was assigned male at birth. This is a story of desperate loneliness and fear, of neglect, family violence, betrayal, and self-disgust. But it is also one of love and solidarity, a celebration of the kindness of strangers who become family and friends.' (Introduction)

(p. 36)
Crammed with Surprises : Trent Dalton's New Novel, Susan Wyndham , single work review
— Review of All Our Shimmering Skies Trent Dalton , 2020 single work novel ;

'The cover of All Our Shimmering Skies is crammed with surprises. Look closely among the Australian wildflowers and you’ll find black hearts, butterflies, lightning bolts, a shovel, a crocodile, a dingo, a fruit bat, a Japanese fighter plane, and a red rising sun.' (Introduction)

(p. 37)
Open Page with Craig Silvey, single work interview (p. 38)
Failures of Imagination : A Journey from Tehran’s Prisons to Australia’s Immigration Detention Centres, Hessom Razavi , single work essay

'On 14 November 2019, Behrouz Boochani arrived in New Zealand, to feature in the WORD Christchurch literary festival. In so doing, Boochani, the Kurdish-Iranian writer, detained – or, in his words, exiled – by the Australian government for six years, finally escaped his ‘Manus Prison’. The details of his resettlement remained unclear, but it didn’t matter; he simply wanted to be ‘free for a while’. Around the world, on broadcast and social media, thousands celebrated Boochani’s ‘long flight to freedom’. This followed his award-winning book No Friend But the Mountains (2018), an autobiographical novel typed on his mobile phone using WhatsApp, one passage at a time. Smuggled from Manus in thousands of PDF files, it was translated from Farsi into English by his Iranian-Australian collaborator, Dr Omid Tofighian. For Boochani and those concerned with the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, his escape offered a rare moment of exultation.' (Introduction)

(p. 39-40, 42-44, 46)
To Hassani"And to the other men from Afghanistan,", Sarah Day , single work poetry (p. 46)
Matters of Identity : An Engaging Biography of Mark Leibler, David Trigger , single work review
— Review of The Powerbroker : Mark Leibler, an Australian Jewish Life Michael Gawenda , 2020 single work biography ;

'Michael Gawenda’s engaging biography of Melbourne lawyer Mark Leibler traverses matters of Australia’s migration history, Jewish identity, and political influence. What has it meant to live a Jewish life in an Australian city? What have been the intergenerational impacts of the Holocaust, anti-Semitism, and the establishment of the State of Israel? How, if at all, might the balance depicted between commitment to minority cultural distinctiveness and broad societal participation exhibit a way forward for multicultural futures?' (Introduction)

(p. 47-48)
After the Waves : A Tribute to a Pioneering Labor Feminist, Joshua Black , single work essay

'Susan Ryan was a formidable storyteller. Her stories communicated her values and her world view, her commitment to the pursuit of a more egalitarian society. Hers was a powerful form of communication, capable of questioning and challenging the inadequacies of the masculinist, class-exclusive ‘fair go’ of postwar Australian society.' (Introduction)

(p. 50-51)
Living the Unspeakable : Communicating Pain, Kate Crowcroft , single work review
— Review of Show Me Where It Hurts : Living With Invisible Illness Kylie Maslen , 2020 single work autobiography ;

'Virginia Woolf wrote that when trying to communicate about pain as a sick woman ‘language at once runs dry’. How does one talk about wounds without fetishising their workings, and how in a society where pain is taboo does one speak of it authentically? In Show Me Where it Hurts, writer and journalist Kylie Maslen balances the difficulty of this equation: telling the story of her disability and having that story remain fundamentally unspeakable. The act of telling remains for Maslen ‘a rejection of language’, and yet the thing on the table for those suffering is ‘the desire to make ourselves known’.' (Introduction)

(p. 52)
Sue and Saroo : A Memoir of Motherhood, Margaret Robson Kett , single work review
— Review of Lioness Sue Brierley , 2020 single work autobiography ;

'The vision was of a brown-skinned child standing by her side. She sensed it so keenly that she could even feel the child’s warmth. It was so striking she wondered about her sanity … but as time went by, she became more comfortable with her vision, accepted it as something precious, a visitation of some sort that only she knew about.’' (Introduction)

(p. 53)
Listening to the Science : Coronavirus and Climate Change, David Holmes , single work essay

'If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it is that there has never been a better time to respond to the climate crisis than now.' (Introduction)

(p. 54)
Romance, Crime, and Pets : Three Poetry Collections, James Antoniou , single work review
— Review of The Alpaca Cantos Jenny Blackford , 2020 selected work poetry ; Anh and Lucien Tony Page , 2020 single work poetry prose ; Scratchland Noëlle Janaczewska , 2020 selected work poetry ;
(p. 55-56)

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Last amended 11 Nov 2020 10:02:13
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