Australian politics, society & culture

Arts & Letters

‘Kayang & Me’ by Kim Scott and Hazel Brown; ‘Balanda’ by Mary Ellen Jordan
By Inga Clendinnen
A few years back Kim Scott wrote a novel about being of mixed descent in a racially divided society.Benang: From the Heart was a stunning exercise in actuality transfigured by imagination. In Kayang & Me (Fremantle Arts Centre Press, 270pp; $29....
Ricky Swallow goes to Venice
By Justin Clemens
An overturned bucket of fish, their jaws gaping with a death-rictus, pours out onto the tabletop. A crustacean on a plate is contorted, all hooks and limbs and tail. Opened mussels rest on heavy folds of cloth. A crab clasps its claws, almost...
Kore-eda Hirokazu’s ‘Nobody Knows’
By Helen Garner
One fine day a young woman, Keiko, presents herself plausibly to the landlord of a Tokyo apartment as the mother of a studious-looking 12-year-old boy, Akira. Thus established as acceptable tenants (though we wonder about Keiko’s skimpy, armpit-...
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
Tragically, Big Brother is back. As with Australian Idol, this show’s soundtrack of non-stop hysteria is provided by a mob of nine-year-olds leaping about and screeching as though their complimentary jumbo drink-bottles of red cordial have all been...
By Gail Bell
Ray Moynihan has been pursuing the pharmaceutical giants for more than a decade, first with his TV series and book Too Much Medicine? and now – in collaboration with Canadian researcher Alan Cassels – in a new assault that might just draw blood. In...
By James Bradley
Early on in these pages, Denise Goodfellow marks out some territory. Relating her Aboriginal sister’s reaction to a picture of a cassowary (“What’s this? Different emu?”), she declares: “Rather mischievously I did consider adopting the...
By Janette Turner Hospital
Though Peter, who is Lachlan’s best friend, is incensed by the special arrangements for the wedding, Lachlan himself does not care. All that matters is what is going to happen when his father appears. There will be an organ fanfare. Everyone will...
‘Dead Europe’, Christoas Tsiolkas, Vintage; $22.95
‘Dead Europe’ by Christos Tsiolkas
By Robert Manne
By Julienne van Loon
The stray animal rounded the corner of Rose-dale Road and Thomas Street at a slow trot, his bony hips tilted slightly to give the effect of walking at a tangent, the front legs not quite square with the back. His coat was yellow and thinning, the...
BookScan and the death of the Australian novelist
By Malcolm Knox
Back when I was careless about what I wished for, someone asked a fanciful question, redolent of hope and innocence, about my up-coming first novel. “If you could choose, would you take critical approval or good sales?” If I could choose! That “...
Cameron Forbes’s ‘Hellfire’
By Phillip Knightley
There comes a moment after a war when the politicians who made it and the generals who fought it and the soldiers who survived it have died or are dying and the truth finally emerges. We are in the middle of that moment now with the war between...
Andrew Denton and the art of interviewing
By Kerryn Goldsworthy
It’s well known that Andrew Denton is the son of Kit Denton, author of the book on which Breaker Morant was based. It’s less well known that radio, TV and even the ABC itself are in Denton jnr’s blood, if not his very genes; his father worked as an...
By Justin Clemens
A young man masturbates, his face and torso scattered across a sequence of photos. Blurry and disjointed, you never see the act itself. Passers-by are captured without knowing it, oblivious to their neighbours, strangers to themselves. Each mono-...
By Paul Daffey
As footy-mad youngsters, the Krakouer brothers’ inventive quest to improve their Aussie Rules skills included practising over the kitchen table in the family home at Mount Barker, WA. While their father Eric, one of several quiet heroes in this sad...
Nicole Kidman in ‘Birth’
By Helen Garner
A light snow is falling. A runner in gloves and hooded black tracksuit goes pounding away from us along the curving paths of Central Park, New York. Enchanting music – flute, a triangle, strings – quivers in the scene’s icy air. At the entrance to a...
‘I Am a Bird Now’ by Antony and the Johnsons
By Robert Forster
I first heard this record coming in from the airport in Milan. A taxi ride, ancient four-storey buildings, thrusting billboards, the beautiful people gorgeously dressed; and then a motorbike accident on a corner, a body beside an ambulance stiff on...

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