Two hundred words on writers foreseeing calamity ::

Writers have in the last century been sounding rods for threats inherent to human progress. Huxley for the implications of standardising life. Orwell for the reality-altering potential of controlling information. Plath and Kesey for the repercussions of medical and surgical interference with the psyche. Vonnegut for the inability of the mind to cope with industrialised warfare. Dick for the impingement of intelligent technology on the … Continue reading Two hundred words on writers foreseeing calamity ::

Book Review — The Chimes (2015) by Anna Smaill

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. A lesson imparted to me during my time in street press is that there’s no point publishing a negative review of an artist’s first album. Every artist deserves a … Continue reading Book Review — The Chimes (2015) by Anna Smaill

Book Review — Learning by Heart (1986) by Margot Livesey

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. A few weeks ago in a review of Anne Enright’s short story collection The Portable Virgin I made this observation: “[Short story collections seem] like something a publisher dreamt up … Continue reading Book Review — Learning by Heart (1986) by Margot Livesey

Book Review — The Secret River (2006) by Kate Grenville

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I wonder how many nations’ readers are familiar with the sensation of picking up a work of literary fiction and recognising in it the voices of five … Continue reading Book Review — The Secret River (2006) by Kate Grenville

One hundred words on activism ::

A friend of his was in the quadrangle holding down a recently adopted dog and beating it, for what he never discovered. He was in university at the time. He’d just stepped out of the shower. Towel around his waist, he had walked to the window of his third-floor dormitory. He ran out of his room and downstairs, losing the towel at a leap in … Continue reading One hundred words on activism ::

Book Review — The Portable Virgin (1991) by Anne Enright

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Anne Enright has come a long way since this collection of short stories put her on the map in Ireland and in attentive literary circles a couple of … Continue reading Book Review — The Portable Virgin (1991) by Anne Enright

Book Review — The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I will probably realise this generalisation to be false not long after making it, but for now it’s helping me begin a review of a book which is … Continue reading Book Review — The Poisonwood Bible (1998) by Barbara Kingsolver

Book Review — The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (2015) by Jessica Hopper

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. Reviews of Kendrick’s debut album, contemplations of Lana Del Ray, treatises on the state of Coachella, dispassionate and analytical tear downs of Tyler, the Creator. Those are … Continue reading Book Review — The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (2015) by Jessica Hopper

Book Review — Lovers’ Knots (1992) by Marion Halligan

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. The sub-heading of this book is “A hundred-year novel”. This is no lie: the sum of the many disparate and delicately related stories in this novel do span a … Continue reading Book Review — Lovers’ Knots (1992) by Marion Halligan

Book Review — Monkey Grip (1977) by Helen Garner

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I have mixed feelings about autobiography passed off as fiction, works whose entire chronologies can be linked back to exact places, events and people in their authors’ … Continue reading Book Review — Monkey Grip (1977) by Helen Garner

Book Review — We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. You know when you finish a book and spend the immediately proceeding half-hour sitting completely still, staring at nothing, the physical book forgotten but still in your lap, pulling … Continue reading Book Review — We Need New Names (2013) by NoViolet Bulawayo

Book Review — The Shipping News (1993) by Annie Proulx

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. There are some rare books that people seem almost universally to agree are excellent. Because of just such agreement, I thought I was in for a sure thing … Continue reading Book Review — The Shipping News (1993) by Annie Proulx

Book Review — The Slow Natives (1965) by Thea Astley

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. A couple of months ago my boss went to see James Patterson talk at Sydney Town Hall. He came back rather enamoured, and mentioned something Patterson had said that … Continue reading Book Review — The Slow Natives (1965) by Thea Astley

Book Review — The Strays (2014) by Emily Bitto

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. When I think of friendships between young women in novels, it takes me a minute to come up with really solid ones, and I’ll say right out … Continue reading Book Review — The Strays (2014) by Emily Bitto

Book Review — The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) by Anne Brontë

This review is part of the No Man’s Land Reading Project, an attempt to right a gendered imbalance in my reading and a general imbalance in the availability of reviews (by men, especially) of works by female authors. I haven’t read many English novels from the mid-19th century. I’ve never read a work by Dickens, for instance, although others come to mind: George Eliot (Silas … Continue reading Book Review — The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1848) by Anne Brontë