'Marie King is a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children - who have now all departed the family home - she is experiencing something of an identity crisis, especially as she must now sell the family home and thus lose her beloved garden. On a folly she gets a tattoo.
'Marie forges a friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys, who introduces her to an alternative side of Sydney. Through their burgeoning connection, Marie's two worlds collide causing great friction within Marie's family and with her circle of rich friends.' (From the publisher's website.)
Thou shalt not make any cuttings in thy flesh on account of the dead or tattoo any marks upon you: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:28
Please Doctor, I feel pain. Not here. No, not here. Even I don't know. -Czeslaw Milosz, 'I Sleep A Lot'
'This article critiques Donna Haraway’s slogan ‘make kin not babies’ via a reading of her SF tale ‘The Camille Stories’. It does so by considering the relationship between the care labour practices involved in making both kin and babies. The article has two central operations. It is an explicitly eco-social feminist argument against the use of making kin as an uncomplicated theoretical standpoint in the environmental humanities. At the same time, it deconstructs the iconic feminist ambit to be liberated from housework. These parallel operations emerge by characterising making kin as a kind of housework, which is a deeply ironic evaluation of Haraway’s slogan. Overall the article is a response to the question: how is the work involved in making kin both the same as and different to the labour of making babies? The answer is constructed through the method of literary close reading, paying attention to genre and plot of ‘The Camille Stories’ alongside Fiona McGregor’s novel Indelible Ink [2010. Melbourne: Scribe Publications] and Quinn Eades’s all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body [2015. Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing]. These comparative readings enable a reckoning with the gnarly and contradictory implications of ‘making kin’ across contemporary environmental humanities and feminisms.' (Publication abstract)
'A unique, intimate portrait of writer’s working life,as experienced by one of Australia’s most highly regarded novelists and artists.
'A Novel Idea is a memoir in photoessay form that follows Fiona McGregor’s life as she writes her award-winning novel Indelible Ink. It is a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the monotony and loneliness of the novelist’s daily life, and the act of endurance the writer must perform.
'Through an extended sequence of photographs taken on a hand-me-down camera, accompanied by terse, evocative captions, the book spans several years of labour and procrastination, elation and despair. The details of the outside world intrude as McGregor works on the novel alone in her Bondi flat, with nothing but a desk, a pin-board, a laptop and a cat, and in studio spaces in Berlin and Estonia.
'McGregor’s voice is wry, vulnerable, at times caustic, capturing the colloquial qualities of her fiction and the durational nature of her performance art via the ephemeral and essential thoughts that take up an author’s days, weeks, and years.'
Source: Publisher's blurb.
'Corporate and government place-making practices are designed to make place a more desirable commodity. In Sydney, this activity capitalises on the extant settler colonial drive towards property ownership. In this context, the labours of artists are often engaged to cultivate an interesting and sophisticated cultural atmosphere in areas that are undergoing top-down redevelopment. The role of literary arts is curious in this context because it does not cultivate the same configurations of community as other types of creative practice. By drawing a distinction between a reading (a live event) and close reading (a studious reflection), this essay engages in the latter as a form of counter-cultural place making. This is specifically the case in relation to two works—Fiona McGregor's novel Indelible Ink (2010) and Brenda Saunders' poem "Sydney Real Estate: FOR SALE" (2012)—that represent critical perspectives on the commodification of place. By engaging in a close reading of these texts, this essay serves the dual purpose of exploring the role of ecocritical literary studies in the real-world oriented field of Environmental Humanities.' (Publication abstract)
'The "plots" of these novels (the term usefully implies narrative purpose, mapping of a course, a calculation or conspiracy, and a piece of land) move beyond formal Aristotelian structures to chart psychological boundaries and the human investment involved in making a life or a garden in difficult or hostile terrains. Aritomo, the Japanese mastergardener/artist in Tan Twan Eng's The Garden of Evening Mists, teaches his initially reluctant pupil, Yun Ling, a woman who petitions him to create a memorial garden for her dead sister, that despite his craft in simulating a garden's timeless quality, an essential element is change-the idea of static perfection, "a garden where nothing dies or decays, where no-one grows old, and the seasons never change," is an anathema (308). Did he borrow from heaven itself? (27) Yun Ling's escape from the hellish death camp, where prisoners and guards were buried alive in the tunnels of their own making, has horrific significance, as the elderly woman now wears her lover's body tattoo that reproduces the layout, the very plot of the garden, its vectors and schema, potentially locating both the grave of her sister and lost treasure. Home, a substantial Sirius Cove property, is threatened by high-rise development, weeds, debt, prolonged drought, Marie's failure to manage financial affairs, and the avarice of an ex-husband.' (Publication abstract)
'Within twentieth-century Australian fiction, suburbia has long been trivialised, satirised, or ignored as a site incompatible with a narrative of transformation, a location from which to flee. However, little critical attention has been directed on contemporary realist tales of the female protagonist located within the confines of suburbia—an increasingly contested yet arguably still feminine/feminised zone. This chapter examines contemporary representations and narrative trajectories of the suburban female protagonist in twenty-first-century fiction. Drawing on “postfeminist” literary theory and emerging reappraisals of the “everyday” and “home”, the chapter presents evidence of intra-suburban narratives of feminine transformation, which contradict second-wave feminist flight trajectories, thereby reclaiming and elevating fictional suburbia as a critical space in which Australian women writers may locate their stories.'