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Vol. 25 No. 3 April 2018
THE SYDNEY WRITERSâ€™ FESTIVAL April 30 to May 6 1
The Festival Cometh By now everyone interested in the Sydney Writers’ Festival would be aware that the program is out. Sadly, the magic location of the Walsh Bay precinct isn’t available this (and next) year, while both Wharf 4/5 and Wharf 2/3 undergo essential infrastructure building and renovation, but I think Festival lovers will be excited and drawn to the new home, Carriageworks, the intelligently restored Heritage site between Redfern and Macdonald stations (access from Wilson St). It’s amazing how well-restored industrial space can work as atmospheric arts spaces, and SWF will do Carriageworks proud. You will all have writers you might have earmarked as must-see, but here’s a pick or two of mine (having poured over the program in preparation to work out how many books we’ll need!). I’m enormously impressed by the fiction of Jennifer Egan, and never more so than by the splendid Manhattan Beach, published last year. Don’t miss her. Or Ceridwen Dovey talking about her brilliant In the Garden of the Fugitives, the most excitingly original new Australian fiction I’ve read in a while. And, Russian born and now New York based Masha Gessen’s perspective on all things Russian and much else, shouldn’t be missed. Putin’s biographer is also the author of The Future is History. There are hundreds more writers to engage with, though of course, along with the rest of the hardworking Gleebooks team, I won’t be seeing any of them. Thank goodness for podcasts (and the ABC). Enjoy. Meanwhile, this month I’m reading: The Making of Martin Sparrow by Peter Cochrane (publishing in May). This is the award-winning historian Cochrane’s first full-length novel, and a labour of love worth the reader’s wait. A subtitle of ‘After the flood comes the reckoning’ is more than a hint of how elemental the atmosphere and setting of this book is. The flood is that of the Hawkesbury in 1806, and the book follows the ‘fortunes’ of ex-convict Martin Sparrow as he attempts to survive and fashion a life of sorts in an environment both harsh and elemental. Lives of all characters are lived elementally, and Cochrane’s reconstruction of early European life in the area, his sensitive imagining of first contact and the tragic and inevitable conflict thereupon, and a wonderfully created cast of picaresque characters, make for a convincing, realistic, and rewarding read Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward: I found this a quite devastating and compulsive to read. It’s immensely powerful—forensic and painfully detailed in its rendition of the gutted and seemingly doomed black lives in Mississippi. Imagine a road novel where a teenage boy worries over the health of his infant sister while their mother and her friend journey in an illegal car to collect the kids’ father from notorious Parchman Prison (stopping to deliver meth amphetamine and score on the way). And that’s just part of it. I needed to read it, but found it harrowing, and I mourned for what felt like an apocalyptic future for black America as depicted here. Someone by Alice McDermott: Not a new book, but I recently heard McDermott interviewed about her most recent novel Ninth Hour and was pleased and touched by the quiet and measured grace and wisdom of Someone—an ordinary Irish-American working class life lived unheroically—recommended. I’m also dipping into (more to come): Billy Griffiths’ fabulous Deep Time Dreaming (he’s also at SWF, by the way). Subtitled Uncovering Ancient Australia, this is a very significant re-assessment of Australian archaeology which will reshape our imagined history. And I’m loving my advance copy of Kate Rossmanith’s Small Wrongs (publishing in June—but she is a guest at the Writers’ Festival, and we’ll have the book there). Fascinating, wellwritten and wise with insight, Small Wrongs is foremost an investigation of remorse—Rossmanith has talked to criminals, lawyers and judges, trying to answer the fundamental question: how can you know whether a person is ever truly sorry?—but it’s much more than that. I’m hoping that by now all our loyal Gleaner readers are aware that, while, as ever, The Gleaner is being produced on a monthly basis between February and November, it is only being printed and mailed out every second month (Feb/ April/June/Aug/Oct). In the alternating months, the full magazine is available on our website. We would hope you can derive just as much pleasure and enjoyment reading it there, but, of course, if you need a physical copy in these alternative months, you can simply print out the PDF copy available on the website. And, if, for whatever reason, you’d like us to do that and send it to you, please just let us know and we’ll make it happen. We’re proud of the Gleaner and wouldn’t want you to miss anything. David Gaunt
Front cover photo: Prudence Upton
A Stolen Season by Rodney Hall ($30, PB)
Adam’s life has been ruined by war. A veteran of the Iraq conflict, Adam has suffered such extensive bodily trauma that he can only really survive by means of a mechanical skeleton. Marianna’s life has been ruined by men—she has had to flee the country after her husband lied to the wrong people. John Philip’s life has been marred by too much money—until he receives a surprise inheritance in the evening of his own life. Rodney Hall, two-times winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award, presents the story of three people experiencing a period of life they never thought possible, and, perhaps, should never have been granted at all.
You Wish by Lia Weston ($30, PB)
Sometimes imagination is not enough. Thomas Lash grants secret wishes—on-screen, that is. White wedding gone horribly wrong and need to swap the groom? Never went to university but must have a graduation photo? Need to create a fake family for that job interview? Problem solved with expert Photoshopping and Tom’s peculiar ability to know exactly what you desire. Tom never says no, even when giving grieving parents the chance to see what the lives of their lost children may have looked like. But where do you draw the line—and what happens when the fantasy Tom sees onscreen starts to bleed into his real life?
Little Gods by Jenny Ackland ($30, PB)
The Mallee, wide flat scrubland in north-western Victoria—country where men are bred quiet, women stoic & the gothic is never far away. Olive Lovelock has just turned 12. She is smart, fanciful & brave and on the cusp of something darker than the small world she has known her entire life. She knows that adults aren’t very good at keeping secrets & makes it her mission to uncover as many as she can. When she learns that she once had a baby sister who died—a child unacknowledged by her close but challenging family—Olive becomes convinced it was murder. Her obsession with the mystery & relentless quest to find out what happened have seismic repercussions for the rest of her family & their community.
Relatively Famous by Roger Averill ($30, PB)
Michael & Majorie Madigan refuse to be interviewed by biographer Sinclair Hughes for his new book Inside the Lion’s Den: The Literary Life of Gilbert Madigan. This is not surprising as Gilbert is Marjorie’s ex- husband & Michael’s mostly absent father. Gilbert Madigan is Australia’s first Booker Prize winner, a fêted and much lauded author that the UK & US now like to call their own. Michael cannot escape his father’s life and work, and at times his own life seems swallowed by it. His father’s success is a source of undeniable pleasure but also of great turmoil. In a world increasingly obsessed with fame & celebrity, Roger Averill’s new novel explores notions of success, masculinity—and what it might mean to live a good life.
Gerald Murnane: Collected Short Fiction
This volume brings together Gerald Murnane’s shorter works of fiction, most of which have been out of print for the past 25 years. They include such masterpieces as When the Mice Failed to Arrive, Stream System, First Love, Emerald Blue, and The Interior of Gaaldine—a story which holds the key to the long break in Murnane’s career, and points the way towards his later works, from Barley Patch to Border Districts. Much is made of Murnane’s distinctive & elaborate style as a writer, but there is no one to match him in his sensitive portraits of family members— parents, uncles & aunts, and particularly children—and in his probing of situations which contain anxiety & embarrassment, shame or delight. ($34.95, PB)
The Earth Does Not Get Fat by Julia Prendergast
Chelsea doesn’t attend school much any more. She is carer for her mother who is sinking further into depression after a trauma, and her Grandad who has slipped into full-blown dementia. Her father is long gone; others are shadowy memories—intangible like dreams. Barely known ghosts make for strange company. Then a parcel arrives, and in it are questions—about her mother and her past self, their shared histories, and the people and place from which they’ve run. ‘A tale of dark family secrets, yet also a tale imbued with awe & wonder at life’s mysteries. Prendergast vests her traumatised characters with dignity ... Poetic, yet earthed ... this impressive debut novel burns with love.’— Arnold Zable. ($25, PB)
Pink Mountain on Locust Island by Jamie Marina Lau ($28, PB)
This unpredictable and innovative debut novel is a subterranean noir of the most electronic generation—the pinkwhite bursts of a teenaged nomad; a fizzing of the New Wave underground art province, with its melting pot of noise bands and Phife, amnesiac and digitalised bossa novas, and art installations about art installations; a 24-hour yank between pulverised English, elastic Cantonese and the newest, digitalised dialect of transcultural landscapes; a short novel narrated among the lumps of Monk’s daydreams, her violent, claustrophobic encounters, and her staccato movements through a hyperreal pop culture world that could only belong to our 21st century; all of the above.
Australian Literature The Death of Noah Glass by Gail Jones ($30, PB)
The art historian Noah Glass, having just returned from a trip to Sicily, is discovered floating face down in the swimming pool at his Sydney apartment block. His adult children, Martin & Evie, must come to terms with the shock of their father’s death. But a sculpture has gone missing from a museum in Palermo, and Noah is a suspect. The police are investigating. None of it makes any sense. Martin sets off to Palermo in search of answers about his father’s activities, while Evie moves into Noah’s apartment, waiting to learn where her life might take her. Retracing their father’s steps in their own way, neither of his children can see the path ahead..
Ironbark by Jay Carmichael ($28, PB)
Markus Bello’s life has stalled. Living in a small country town, mourning the death of his best friend, Grayson, Markus is isolated and adrift. As time passes, and life continues around him, Markus must try to face his grief, and come to terms with what is left. Shortlisted for the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Unpublished Manuscript Award, this coming-of-age story depicts the conflict and confusion of life as a gay man in rural Australia, and explores how place can shape personal identity by both offering and restricting potential.
The Art of Persuasion by Susan Midalia ($25, PB)
25-year-old Hazel is reading the classics, starting with ‘A’. It’s one way to pass the time when you’ve quit your job and lost your way. But then she has a chance encounter with an irresistible older man. When Hazel is partnered with him on a political campaign, her attraction is deepened by the strength of his convictions. Adam seems to be attracted to her too—but why is he resisting? And what does Jane Austen have to teach a young woman about life, love and literature in the 21st century?
The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted by Robert Hillman ($30, PB)
Tom Hope doesn’t think he’s much of a farmer, but he’s doing his best. He can’t have been much of a husband to Trudy, either, judging by her sudden departure. It’s only when she returns, pregnant to someone else, that he discovers his surprising talent as a father. So when Trudy finds Jesus and takes little Peter away with her to join the holy rollers, Tom’s heart breaks all over again. Enter Hannah Babel, quixotic small town bookseller: the second Jew—and the most vivid person—Tom has ever met. He dares to believe they could make each other happy. But it is 1968: 24 years since Hannah and her own little boy arrived at Auschwitz. Tom Hope is taking on a battle with heartbreak he can barely even begin to imagine.
The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart by Holly Ringland
This enchanting debut novel sees 9-year-old Alice Hart forced to leave her idyllic seaside home, to live with her grandmother, June— a flower farmer who raises Alice on the language of Australian native flowers, a way to say the things that are too hard to speak. Under the watchful eye of June & the women who run the farm, Alice grows up increasingly frustrated by how little she knows of her family’s story. In her early 20s, Alice’s life is thrown into upheaval again when she suffers devastating betrayal & loss. Desperate to outrun grief, she flees to the central Australian desert. In this otherworldly landscape Alice thinks she has found solace, until she meets a charismatic & ultimately dangerous man. Spanning 2 decades, set between sugar cane fields by the sea, a native Australian flower farm, and a celestial crater in the central desert, Holly Ringland’s book follows Alice’s unforgettable journey, as she learns that the most powerful story she will ever possess is her own. ($33, PB)
The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French ($30, PB)
Australian heiress Sophie Higgs was ‘a rose of no-man’s land’, founding hospitals across war-torn Europe during the horror that was WW1. Now, in the 1920s, Sophie’s wartime work must be erased so that the men who returned can find some kind of ‘normality’. Sophie is, however, a graduate of the mysterious Miss Lily’s school of charm & intrigue, and once more she risks her own life as she attempts to save others still trapped in the turmoil & aftermath of war. But in this new world, nothing is clear, in politics or in love. For the role of men has changed too. Torn between the love of 3 very different men, Sophie will face her greatest danger yet as she attempts an impossible journey across the world to save Nigel, Earl of Shillings—and her beloved Miss Lily.
Stardust and Golden by Doug McEachern ($25, PB)
Mark David visits a nursing home in search of a place for his elderly mother. There, he encounters the formidable Elizabeth Ryder, mother of his best friend, who he hasn’t seen in 40 years. The meeting catapults Mark back to his student days in the late 1960s: to Adelaide during the Vietnam War, when conscription was on everyone’s minds and young people took to the streets in protest—the heady days of resistance & of young lives shaped by a far-off war.
l l i H ’ D n O
How terribly sad that Peter Temple has died. His legion of fans have been anxiously waiting for another novel after Truth and apparently he was writing, but wasn’t happy enough with the manuscript to give it to his publishers. No doubt there will be many, many words written about Temple’s terrific body of work in the weeks and months to come. I had an especial fondness for Peter because, like me, he loved poodles and gave his character Joe Cashin, two black standards like he had himself. You have to love a man who understands the greatness of the poodle. It’s just too, too bad that we won’t get to read another novel from him, but maybe by the time you read this more will have been said about whether or not the book he was working on will be published. I imagine Michael Heyward at Text will respect Temple’s wishes, even though we’d all want to read whatever he was writing even I he didn’t think it good enough! On a lighter note, I read a fantastic crime novel, which, like Peter Temple’s novels, could just as easily lose the genre description. Back Up is by a Belgian writer, Paul Colize—no, I’d never heard of him either. It’s a rollicking read about an English rock band in the 60s who all die within days of making a mysterious recording in Berlin. The story is narrated by a man with locked-in syndrome which means he is conscious but otherwise completely paralysed, and we’re quite a way in before we get his connection to the band in question. There’s a lot of fascinating and fun detail about the English rock scene in the 60s—the Stones vs the Beatles etc and the European setting and the characters hold your interest. Colize is no Peter Temple, but the book is well-written and translated. I did get a bit ahead of myself, because I read this thinking it was an April new release to tell you about, but it isn’t out until May. While on crime novels and out now, is The Ruin, the debut from Irish writer and Australian resident, Dervla McTiernan. Deservedly well-reviewed, this novel set in Ireland introduces Detective Cormac Reilly who returns to his home town of Galway after a successful police career in Dublin. Reilly must discover how a crime from twenty years previous has links to a recent suicide. The Ruin is a great read but McTiernan needs to further develop and round out the character of Cormac Reilly, who, in this first outing, is a little bland and indeed characterless. Still, there’s lots to like and I’m sure the next book will see Cormac living up to the publisher’s blurb of being the next Rebus or Wallander, but he’s not quite there yet. Happy Easter! See you on D’Hill, Morgan
One by Andrew Hutchinson ($33, PB)
He had his heart broken by his one true love, and cannot see a way forward in life. Having alienated himself from his family and friends, he works nights and shuns normal society. But not even disrupted sleep and depression can explain the strange behaviours that will suddenly take over him. It all escalates on an unassuming night, when he returns home to find a woman asleep in his driveway. Waiting. One probes the extremes we go to for love; the extent of emotional influence; the scars we leave on each other—asking: who do you become when you’re driven to obsession?
Those Other Women by Nicola Moriarty
Poppy’s world has tipped sideways: the husband who never wanted children has betrayed her with her broody best friend. At least Annalise is on her side. Poppy’s new friend is determined to celebrate their freedom from kids so together they create a Facebook group to meet up with like-minded women, and perhaps vent just a little about smug mums’ privileges at work. Meanwhile Frankie would love a night out, away from her darlings—she’s not had one in years—and she’s sick of being judged by women at the office & stay-at-home mums. Then Poppy & Annalise’s group takes off & frustrated members start confronting mums like Frankie in the real world. Cafés become battlegrounds, playgrounds become warzones & offices have never been so divided. A rivalry that was once harmless fun is spiralling out of control. Because one of their members is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And she has an agenda of her own. ($30, PB)
Dear Mrs Bird by A J Pearce ($25, PB)
London, 1940. Emmeline Lake and her best friend Bunty are trying to stay cheerful despite the Luftwaffe making life thoroughly annoying for everyone. Emmy dreams of becoming a Lady War Correspondent and when she spots a job advertisement in the newspaper she seizes her chance—but after a rather unfortunate misunderstanding, she finds herself typing letters for the formidable Henrietta Bird, the renowned agony aunt of Woman’s Friend magazine. Mrs Bird is very clear: letters containing any form of Unpleasantness must go straight into the bin. Emmy finds herself dismissing problems from lovelorn, grief-stricken & morally conflicted readers in favour of those who fear their ankles are unsightly or have trouble untangling lengths of wool. But soon the thought of desperate women going unanswered becomes too much to bear & Emmy decides the only thing for it is to secretly write back.
Memento Park by Mark Sarvas ($40, HB)
After receiving an unexpected call from the Australian consulate, Matt Santos becomes aware of a painting that he believes was looted from his family in Hungary during WW2. To recover the painting, he must repair his strained relationship with his harshly judgmental father, uncover his family history, and restore his connection to his own Judaism. Along the way to illuminating the mysteries of his past, Matt is torn between his doting girlfriend, Tracy, and his alluring attorney, Rachel, with whom he travels to Budapest to unearth the truth about the painting and, in turn, his family. As his journey progresses, Matt’s revelations are accompanied by meditations on the painting & the painter at the centre of his personal drama, Budapest Street Scene by Ervin Kálmán.
Circe by Madeline Miller ($30, PB)
Circe is the daughter of Helios, the sun god, and Perse, a beautiful naiad. Named after a hawk for her yellow eyes & strange voice, she is mocked by her siblings until her beloved brother Aeetes is born. But after her sister Pasiphae marries King Midas of Crete, Aeetes is whisked away to rule his own island, and the ever more isolated Circe meets Glaucus, a handsome young fisherman & is captivated—however gods mingle with humans, and meddle with fate, at their peril. Madeline Miller breathes life once more into the ancient world, with the story of an outcast who overcomes scorn & banishment to transform herself into a formidable witch—an intoxicating epic of family rivalry & a celebration of female strength in a man’s world.
The Librarian by Salley Vickers ($33, PB)
Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her 20s, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children’s librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems. Sylvia falls in love with an older man—but it’s her connection to his precocious young daughter & her neighbours’ son which will change her life & put them, the library & her job under threat. How does the library alter the young children’s lives & how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
Berlin Finale by Heinz Rein ($30, PB)
April 1945, the last days of the Nazi regime. While bombs are falling on Berlin, the Gestapo are still searching for traitors, resistance fighters & deserters. In the midst of chaos, the young soldier Joachim Lassehn desperately wants to escape. Friedrich Wiegand, a trade unionist tortured in a concentration camp, tries to speed up the end of the war through sabotage. Doctor Walter Böttcher helps refugees to survive. And Oskar Klose’s pub is the conspiratorial meeting point of a small resistance group that the SS is trying to trace. Newly translated, Heinz Rein’s book offers an unforgettable portrait of life in a city devastated by war.
Census by Jesse Ball ($30, PB)
When a widower receives notice from a doctor that he doesn’t have long to live, he is struck by the question of who will care for his adult son—a son whom he fiercely loves, a son with Down syndrome. With no recourse in mind, and with a desire to see the country on one last trip, the man signs up as a census-taker for a mysterious governmental bureau and leaves town with his son. Dead Men’s Trousers by Irvine Welsh ($33, PB) In the latest chapter in the Trainspotting story, Mark Renton is finally a success. An international jet-setter, he now makes significant money managing DJs, but the constant travel, airport lounges, soulless hotel rooms and broken relationships have left him dissatisfied with his life. He’s then rocked by a chance encounter with Frank Begbie, from whom he’d been hiding for years after a terrible betrayal and the resulting debt. Sick Boy and Spud are intrigued to learn that their old friends are back in town, but when they enter the bleak world of organharvesting, things start to go so badly wrong.
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara ($25, PB)
Inspired by the real House of Xtravaganza in the seminal documentary about the ‘vogueing’ phenomenon, Paris is Burning, and set in New York City from the late 70s to the early 90s against the backdrop of the impending AIDS crisis, Joseph Cassara’s debut novel follows a cast of gay and transgender club kids navigating the Harlem ball scene and the Christopher Street Piers as they flee their traumatic pasts and band together to form the city’s first all-Latino House.
One Clear Ice-cold January Morning at the Beginning of the 21st Century by Roland Schimmelpfennig ($30, PB)
On an icy motorway 80 km outside the city, a fuel tanker jack-knifes & explodes. The lone wolf is glimpsed on the hard shoulder & photographed by Tomasz, a Polish construction worker who cannot survive in Germany without his girlfriend. Elisabeth & Micha run away through the snow from their home village, crossing the wolf’s tracks on their way to the city. A woman burns her mother’s diaries on a Berlin balcony. And Elisabeth’s father, a famous sculptor, observes the vast skeleton of a whale in his studio and asks: What am I doing here? And why? A contemporary Berlin fairy tale that bristles with urban truths—the first novel from one of Germany’s best-known contemporary playwrights.
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner ($33, PB)
Romy Hall is at the start of 2 consecutive life sentences, plus 6 years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her 7-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother. Kushner details with humour & precision the relentlessly deadpan absurdities of institutional living—daily acts of violence, allegiances formed over liquor brewed in socks, and stories shared through sewage pipes. Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line—until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny & culminating in a climax of almost unbearable intensity. Rachel Kushner presents not just a bold & unsentimental panorama of life on the margins of contemporary America, but an excoriating attack on the prisonindustrial complex.
Coming in May!! Warlight by Michael Ondaatje, $30
The Long Forgotten by David Whitehouse ($30, PB)
When the black box flight recorder of a plane that went missing 30 years ago is found at the bottom of the sea, a young man named Dove begins to remember a past that isn’t his. The memories belong to a rare flower hunter in 1980s New York, whose search led him around the world and ended in tragedy. Restless and lonely in present-day London, Dove is quickly consumed by the memories, which might just hold the key to the mystery of his own identity and what happened to the passengers on that doomed flight, The Long Forgotten.
The Illumination of Ursula Flight by Anna-Marie Crowhurst ($30, PB)
Born on the night of an ill-auguring comet just before Charles II’s Restoration, Ursula Flight has a difficult future written in the stars. Against the custom of the age she begins an education with her father, who fosters in her a love of reading, writing & astrology. But when she meets an actress, Ursula’s dreams turn to the theatre & thus, in a charming, droll (and just a little bit bawdy) picaresque tale, begins her quest to become a playwright despite scoundrels, bounders, bad luck and heartbreak.
The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa ($30, PB)
In the 1990s, during the turbulent & deeply corrupt years of Alberto Fujimori’s presidency, 2 wealthy couples of Lima’s high society become embroiled in a disturbing vortex of erotic adventures & politically driven blackmail. A high-profile businessman, receives a visit from Rolando Garro, the editor of a notorious magazine that specializes in salacious exposés. Garro presents Enrique with lewd pictures from an old business trip & demands that he invest in the magazine. Enrique refuses, and the next day the pictures are on the front page. Meanwhile, Enrique’s wife is in the midst of a passionate & secret affair with the wife of Enrique’s lawyer & best friend. When Garro shows up murdered, the 2 couples are thrown into a whirlwind of navigating Peru’s unspoken laws & customs, while the staff of the magazine embark on their greatest expose yet.
Varina by Charles Frazier ($30, PB)
New from the author of Cold Mountain. With her marriage prospects ruined in the wake of her father’s financial decline, teenage Varina Howell decides her best option is to wed the much-older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects a life of security as a Mississippi landowner. When he instead pursues a career in politics and is appointed President of the Confederacy, it puts Varina at the white-hot centre of one of the darkest moments in American history—culpable regardless of her intentions. As the Confederacy prepares to surrender & she finds herself friendless & alone, Varina & her children escape Richmond. With her marriage in tatters & the country divided, they travel south, now fugitives with ‘bounties on their heads, an entire nation in pursuit’.
Disoriental by Négar Djavadi ($28, PB)
Kimiâ Sadr fled Iran at the age of 10 in the company of her mother & sisters to join her father in France. Now 25 & facing the future she has built for herself as well as the prospect of a new generation, Kimiâ is inundated by her own memories & the stories of her ancestors, which come to her in unstoppable, uncontainable waves. In the waiting room of a Parisian fertility clinic, generations of flamboyant Sadrs return to her, including her formidable great-grandfather Montazemolmolk, with his harem of 52 wives, and her parents, Darius & Sara, stalwart opponents of each regime that befalls them. In this kaleidoscopic story, key moments of Iranian history, politics & culture punctuate stories of family drama & triumph..
The Overstory by Richard Powers ($33, PB)
The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late 20th century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. An Air Force loadmaster in the Vietnam War is shot out of the sky, then saved by falling into a banyan. An artist inherits a hundred years of photographic portraits, all of the same doomed American chestnut. A hard-partying undergraduate in the late 1980s electrocutes herself, dies and is sent back into life by creatures of air and light. A hearing- and speech-impaired scientist discovers that trees are communicating with one another. These four, and five other strangers—each summoned in different ways by trees—are brought together in a last and violent stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest. ‘It’s not possible for Powers to write an uninteresting book.’—Margaret Atwood
The Eight Mountains by Paolo Cognetti ($30, PB)
Pietro, a lonely city boy, spends his childhood summers in a secluded valley in the Alps. Bruno, the cowherd son of a local stonemason, knows the mountains intimately. Together they spend many summers exploring the mountains’ meadows and peaks, discovering the similarities and differences in their lives. As time passes, the two boys come to find the true meaning of friendship and camaraderie even as their paths diverge, Bruno’s in the mountains and Pietro’s in cities across the globe. Winner of the 2017 Strega Prize, the Strega Giovani Prize and the Prix Médicis Étranger, this is a lyrical coming-of-age story spanning three decades.
SYDNEY WRITERS’ FESTIVAL APRIL 30 TO MAY 6 The 2018 Sydney Writers’ Festival is in early May this year and the festival has sent me some of their highlights—the embargo having been lifted post launch. As usual it looks like it’s going to be a feast. This year André Aciman (Call Me by Your Name and Enigma Variations), Min Jin Lee (Pachinko) and Alexis Okeowo (A Moonless, Starless Sky) will open the festival—speaking about the ability of literature, storytelling and reportage to redress power imbalances in modern times. Pulitzer Prize-winner Junot Diaz returns to talk about his first foray into children’s fiction. His exquisitely illustrated children’s book, Islandborn, wrestles with the themes of identity and belonging that have underpinned his adult fiction. Helen Garner will be in attendance talking to Matthew Condon about the power of self-scrutiny— considering just how impartially writers can observe themselves and others. Vladmir Putin biographer and The Future of History author Masha Gessen will join Moscow-based correspondent for The Times, Alec Luhn, and former Russia correspondent Monica Attard, to examine the current state of affairs. Amy Bloom, bestselling author of Away and Lucky Us, will discuss her latest novel, White Houses—in which the unexpected and forbidden affair between First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok unfolds in a triumph of historical fiction. And Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jennifer Egan (A Visit from the Goon Squad and Manhattan Beach) will be here to deliver the Festival’s closing address about the power of media culture and its relationship with storytelling. Guest curators—Sarah Krasnostein, Charlotte Wood and Marcia Langton. Sarah Krasnostein will talk to author Ashley Hay about her award-winning biography, The Trauma Cleaner; joins a panel with Masha Gessen, Mohammed Al Samawi & Alexis Okeowo to consider how unjust authority is wielded and resisted in a modern world; and in a panel moderated by Wheeler Centre’s Sophie Black, she’ll join Junot Díaz and Pajtim Statovci to explore how storytelling can promote connection in a fragmented society. Across 3 events—Sharp Instruments with Michelle de Kretser and Craig Sherbourne; White Houses with Amy Bloom; and If You Don’t Laugh, You’ll Cry with Tegan Bennett-Daylight—Charlotte Wood contemplates the power of laughter and how it can be used to tell uncomfortable truths, and how comedy can reveal character and bear witness to the strangeness of life. Professor Marcia Langton AM will speak to The Saturday Paper’s Erik Jensen about her book Welcome to Country: A Guide to Indigenous Australia; join Kim Scott and Mark Baker to talk about the role of fiction in our ongoing discovery of the past. And she’ll meet with Stan Grant and playwright and actor Nakkiah Lui to examine the agency of Indigenous people, and whether their voices are being lost in an increasingly cynical political process. Nights at Carriageworks After sundown, some of the Festival’s most captivating guests settle in for revealing conversations at Carriageworks. At Bay 17, catch André Aciman; author Jennifer Egan, and iconic New York poet, novelist and performer Eileen Myles. At Bay 20, Festival guests will take to the stage to share their queer literary heroes in Gay for Page; New York Times journalists Wesley Morris and Jenna Wortham present an exclusive episode of their podcast, Still Processing; and Nakkiah Lui and a guest host record a special episode of Pretty for an Aboriginal. Thinking Globally Join our expert guests as they take a fresh look at some of the most pressing issues facing the world today. They’ll look at economic inequality; the future of North Korea, and the far reach of Rupert Murdoch’s empire. The Thinking Globally series will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning staff writer for The Washington Post Amy Goldstein, NBC News reporter Katy Tur, political science professor Robert E. Kelly, Vanity Fair correspondent Gabriel Sherman, and Asia Editor of The Times Richard Lloyd Parry. The Curiosity Lecture Series From the surprising ramifications of becoming an international viral sensation, to how to effectively steal a deceased person’s identity, and revealing Law & Order: Special Victims Unit as a complex fairytale, The Curiosity Lecture Series includes some of the Festival’s most inquiring minds talking about an eclectic range of subjects. Catch their free lectures at Carriageworks’ Blacksmith’s Workshop. Family Program Our Family Program kicks off at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday May 5 with bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney sharing the latest rollicking adventures of Greg Heffler.
Macbeth by Jo Nesbo ($33, PB)
Jo Nesbo’s rewriting of Macbeth is set in a dark, rainy northern town where the ambitions of a corrupt policeman is pitted against loyal colleagues, a drug-depraved underworld and the pull of childhood friendships. Get ready to helter-skelter through the darkest tunnels of human experience. See bottom page 7 for Hogarth Shakespeare 3 for 2 offer.
Find You in the Dark by Nathan Ripley
Martin Reese’s hobby is digging up murder victims. He buys stolen police files on serial killers, and uses them to find & dig up missing bodies. Calls in the results anonymously, taunting the police for their failure to do their job. Detective Sandra Whittal takes that a little personally. She’s suspicious of the mysterious caller, who she names the Finder. Maybe he’s the one leaving the bodies behind. If not, who’s to say he won’t start soon? As Whittal begins to zero in on the Finder, Martin makes a shocking discovery. It seems someone—someone lethal—is very unhappy about the bodies he’s been digging up. Now hunted by a cop & a killer Martin may have to go deeper into the world of murder than he ever imagined. ($30, PB)
The Temptation of Forgiveness by Donna Leon ($30, PB)
colour, poetry and life into our
When important information is leaked from inside the Venetian Questura, Commissario Guido Brunetti is entrusted with the task of uncovering which of his colleagues is responsible. But before he can begin his investigation, a friend of his wife’s appears—fearful that her son is using drugs. A few weeks later her husband, is found at the foot of a bridge, and as Brunetti navigates his way through a world of mysterious informants, underground deals & secret longstanding scam networks, he grows ever more impressed by the intuition of his fellow Commissario, Claudia Griffoni, & by the endless resourcefulness of Signorina Elettra, ViceQuestore Patta’s secretary & gate-keeper.
understanding of the Bible in
The Shadow Killer by Arnaldur Indridason ($33, PB)
“From the opening words about Bra Boy tattoos, this book had me gripped. It breathes
Australia.” – Julia Baird
n this surprising and revelatory history of the Bible
in Australia, Meredith Lake gets under the skin of a text that’s been read, wrestled with, preached and tattooed, and believed to be everything from
a resented imposition to the very Word of God. The Bible in Australia explores how in the hands of Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, writers, artists and Indigenous Australians, the Bible has played a contested but defining role in this country.
“Historians have long neglected Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander military service… Understanding this history is crucial to truth, justice and reconciliation” – Karen Mundine
hile Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people have enlisted in the Australian Defence Forces since the Boer War, for much of this time they defied racist restrictions and were denied full citizenship rights on their return to civilian life. Based on oral histories collected across Australia and diverse contributions from John Maynard, Joan Beaumont, Allison Cadzow, Mick Dodson and more, it documents the long struggle to gain recognition for their role in the defence of Australia.
w w w. n ews o u t h p u b l i s h i n g .co m
Reykjavk, August 1941. When a travelling salesman is found murdered in a basement flat the police initially suspect a member of the Allied occupation force. The British are in the process of handing over to the Americans & the streets are crawling with servicemen whose relations with the local women are a major cause for concern. Flovent & Thorson. focus on a family of German residents, the retired doctor Rudolf Lunden & his estranged son Felix, but as evidence emerges of dubious experiments carried out on Icelandic schoolboys in the 1930s,Thorson becomes increasingly suspicious of the role played by the murdered man’s former girlfriend, Vera, and her British soldier lover.
Tangerine by Christine Mangan ($33, PB)
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. The two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless & independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country. But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled & stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then her husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her. A tightly wound debut with shades of Patricia Highsmith.
Time is a Killer by Michel Bussi ($30, PB)
It is summer 1989 & 15-year-old Clotilde is on holiday with her parents in Corsica. On a twisty mountain road, their car comes off at a curve & plunges into a ravine. Only Clotilde survives. 27 years later, she returns to Corsica with her husband & their sulky teenage daughter. Clotilde wants to exorcise her past, and to build a bridge between her & her daughter. But then she receives a letter—from her mother. As fragments of memory come back, Clotilde begins to question the past. But it’s impossible—she saw the corpses of her mother, her father, her brother. She has lived with their ghosts. But then who sent this letter—and why?
Evidence of Death by Peter Ritchie ($16, PB)
Scarred by the Troubles in Belfast, Billy Nelson returns to his Loyalist roots following his discharge from army service. But Belfast & the people he knew have changed, and after his gang are responsible for a series of violent attacks on innocent victims, he is forced out of the city & moves in on the drugs business in Edinburgh. Taking on the family who have been the main players in the city for years, a battle for control amongst the criminal underworld of Edinburgh, Glasgow & Belfast ensues & the balance of power is upset. Bk 2 in the Grace Macallan series.
Class Murder by Leigh Russell ($17, PB)
Geraldine Steel is back for her tenth case. Reunited in York with her former sergeant, Ian Peterson, she discovers that her tendency to bend the rules has consequences. The tables have turned, and now he’s the boss. When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation back in York, Geraldine struggles to solve the confusing case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?
Greeks Bearing Gifts by Philip Kerr ($33, PB)
Bernie Gunther, now working for an insurance company is sent to Athens to investigate a claim from a fellow German for a ship that has sunk. When Bernie discovers the ship in question once belonged to a Greek Jew deported to Auschwitz, he is convinced the sinking was no accident but an avenging arson attack. Then the claimant is found dead, shot through both eyes. It’s a win for Bernie’s employers at least: no one to pay out—but Bernie is strong-armed into helping the Greek police with their investigation, and is once again drawn inexorably back to the dark history of the WW2, and the deportation of the Jews of Salonika—and at least one person in Greece is ready neither to forgive nor forget. Deep down, Bernie thinks they may have a point.
An enchanting novel about how our untold stories haunt us, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive.
Ultima by LS Hilton ($30, PB)
Glamorous international art dealer Elizabeth Teerlinc knows a thing or two about fakes. After all, she is one herself. Her real identity, Judith Rashleigh, is buried under a layer of lies. But now, caught in the murderous crossfire between a Russian Mafia boss & a corrupt Italian police detective, Judith is forced to create a fake masterpiece she must take to the world famous auction house where she used to be a lowly assistant & sell for $150 million. The prospect of putting one over her loathsome former employer & the world’s art establishment is almost as thrilling as the extreme sex she’s addicted to—especially when the price of failure is a bullet in the back of the head.
All the Beautiful Lies by Peter Swanson ($30, PB)
On the eve of his college graduation, Harry is called home by his stepmother Alice, to their house on the Maine coast, following the unexpected death of his father. But who is this Alice, his father’s much younger second wife? In a split narrative, Peter Swanson teases out the stories & damage that lie in her past. And as her story entwines with Harry’s in the present, things grow increasingly dark & threatening—will Harry be able to see any of it clearly through his own confused feelings?
Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero ($17, PB)
Summer 1977. The Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in Oregon’s Zoinx River Valley) solved their final mystery & unmasked the elusive Sleepy Lake monster—another lowlife fortune hunter trying to get his dirty hands on the legendary riches hidden in Deboën Mansion. And he would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids. 1990. The former detectives have grown up and apart, each haunted by disturbing memories of their final night in the old haunted house—the time has come to get the team back together, face their fears, and find out what actually happened all those years ago at Sleepy Lake.
One Way by S J Morden ($30, PB)
Frank Kittridge is serving life for murdering his son’s drug dealer. So when he’s offered a deal by the prison operator, Xenosystems Operations, he takes it—even though it means swapping one life sentence for another. He’s been selected to help build the first permanent base on Mars. Unfortunately, his crewmates are just as guilty of their crimes as he is—and he’ll have to learn to trust them if they’re to succeed. As the convicts set to work on the frozen wastes of Mars, the accidents multiply. Until Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all—there’s a murderer amongst them, and everyone’s a suspect.
Weeping Waters by Karin Brynard ($28, PB)
Inspector Albertus Beeslaar is a traumatized cop who has abandoned tough city policing and a broken relationship in Johannesburg for a backwater post on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. But his dream of rural peace is soon shattered by the repeated attacks of a brutally efficient crime syndicate, and when an eccentric artist & her 4-year-old adopted daughter are murdered on a local farm, and angry white farmers point to her enigmatic Bushman farm manager as a key suspect, Beeslaar is plunged into the intrigue & racial tensions of the community & finds that violence knows no geographical or ethnic boundaries.
The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson ($33, PB)
Forced into early retirement at the age of 64, DI Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is refusing to go quietly. She is given 2 more weeks to investigate a cold case—a young woman found dead on the seaweed-covered rocks of the Vatnsleysustrond. A refugee who found only a watery grave—her death ruled a suicide after a slapdash investigation. But Hulda’s investigation uncovers the fact that this was not the only young woman to disappear from the hostel where the asylum seekers waited for their judgement, and that no one is telling the whole story.
Mine by Susi Fox ($33, PB)
You wake up alone after an emergency caesarean, desperate to see your child. And when you are shown the small infant in the nursery, a terrible thought takes root—this baby is not your baby. No one believes you. Not the nurses, your father or even your own husband. They say you’re confused and delusional. Dangerous. But you’re a doctor—you know how easily mistakes can be made. It’s up to you to find your real child, your miracle baby, before it’s too late. With everyone against you, is it safe to trust your instincts? This can’t all be in your head . . . can it?
The electrifying new adventure from the author of Magician
From Cairo to Canberra – Dr Anne Aly, Australia’s first Muslim woman MP, shares her story
Lillian Armfield by Leigh Straw ($33, PB)
By the late 1920s, eastern Sydney was the heartland of organised crime & the notorious turf battles known as the Razor Wars, where bloodied bodies were strewn across streets after late-night clashes between rival gangs. At first disapproved of by her male colleagues, and often working solo & undercover, ‘Special Constable’ Lillian Armfield investigated it all—from runaway girls, opium dens & back-street sly grog shops to drug trafficking, rape & murder. She dealt with the infamous crime figures of the day—Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh, ‘Botany May’ Smith & their associates—who eventually accorded Lillian a grudging respect. She paved the way for the women of today’s police force and her amazing story is also a compelling chapter in Australian true crime history.
A Scandal in Bohemia by Gideon Haigh
Mollie Dean was a woman determined to transcend. Creatively ambitious & sexually precocious, at 25 she was a poet, aspiring novelist & muse on the peripheries of Melbourne’s bohemian salons—until one night in 1930 she was brutally slain by an unknown killer in a laneway while walking home. Her family was implicated. Those in her circle, including her acclaimed artist lover Colin Colahan, were shamed. Her memory was anxiously suppressed. Yet the mystery of her death rendered more mysterious her life and Mollie’s story lingered, incorporated into memoir, literature, television, theatre and song, most notably in George Johnston’s classic My Brother Jack. Gideon Haigh explodes the true crime genre with a murder story about life as well as death. Armed with only a single photograph and echoes of Mollie’s voice, he has reassembled the precarious life of a talented woman without a room of her own - a true outsider, excluded by the very world that celebrated her in its art. ($33, PB)
HOGARTH SHAKESPEARE 3 FOR TWO OFFER*
Vinegar Girl (Taming of the Shrew) by Anne Tyler, $23 Dunbar (King Lear) by Edward St Aubyn, $30 Hag-seed (The Tempest) by Margaret Atwood, $23 Shylock is My Name (Merchant of Venice) by Howard Jacobson, $23 Gap of Time (The Winter’s Tale) by Jeanette Winterson, $23 New Boy (Othello) by Tracy Chevalier, $20 Macbeth by Jo Nesbo *Cheapest item is free
Real food to nourish you, no matter your age or stage in life
Rosie: Scenes from a Vanished Life by Rose Tremain
Rose Tremain grew up in post-war London, a city of grey austerity, still partly in ruins, where both food & affection were fiercely rationed. She & her sister Jo spent their days longing for their grandparents’ farm, buried deep in the Hampshire countryside, a green paradise of feasts & freedom, where they could at last roam & dream. But when Rosie is 10, she and Jo lose their father, their London house, their school, their friends, and—most agonisingly of all—their beloved Nanny, Vera, the only adult to have shown them real love and affection. Briskly dispatched to a freezing boarding-school in Hertfordshire, they once again feel like imprisoned castaways. But slowly the teenage Rosie escapes from the cold world of the 50s, into a place of inspiration & mischief, of loving friendships & dedicated teachers, where a young writer is suddenly ready to be born. ($33, PB)
Girls at the Piano by Virginia Lloyd ($33, PB) Virginia Lloyd spent much of her childhood & adolescence learning & playing the piano & thought she would make a career as a pianist. When that didn’t happen, she spent a long time wondering about those years of study: had they been wasted? What was their purpose? This intriguing memoir explores those questions & investigates the mystery of the author’s very musical & deeply unhappy grandmother Alice, and how their lives—both at and away from the piano—intersected & diverged. Along the way she also explores the changing relationship between women & the piano over the course of the instrument’s history, taking us from the salons of 18th century Europe to an amateur jazz workshop in Manhattan in the early 21st century. The Unmapped Mind by Christian Donlan ($35, HB)
Shortly after his daughter Leontine was born, journalist Christian Donlan’s world shifted an inch to the left. He started to miss light switches & door handles when reaching for them. He would injure himself in a hundred stupid ways every day. First playful & then maddening, these strange experiences were the early symptoms of multiple sclerosis, an incurable & degenerative neurological illness. Multiple sclerosis is a fiercely destructive disease, yet it is also, as Donlan starts to discover, a perversely creative force. As his young daughter starts to investigate her environment, he too finds himself exploring a strange new landscape—the shifting and bewildering territory of the brain.
Finding My Place by Anne Aly ($33, PB)
Bridge Burning and Other Hobbies by Kitty Flanagan ($30, PB)
Kitty Flanagan has been locked in an industrial freezer in WA, insulted about the size of her lady parts in Singapore & borne witness to the world’s most successful wife swap in suburban Sydney. In these funny, true stories, Kitty provides advice you didn’t even know you needed. Useful tips on how not to get murdered while hitch-hiking, how to break up with someone the wrong way, and the right way, why it’s important to keep your top on while waitressing, and why women between the ages of 37 & 42 should be banned from internet dating.
Left Bank by Agnès Poirier ($40, HB)
After the horrors of war that shaped & informed them, Paris was the place where the world’s most original voices of the time came among them Norman Mailer, Miles Davis, Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, Juliette Greco, Alberto Giacometti, Saul Bellow & Arthur Koestler. Fuelled by the elation of the Liberation, they hoped to find an independent & original alternative to the Capitalist & Communist models for life, art & politics—a Third Way. They reinvented their relationships with others, questioning, shaking & often rejecting the institutions of marriage and family. The fertility of the interaction between literature, theatre, anthropology, philosophy, politics & cinema was unrivalled by anywhere else in the world at that time—yet what did they achieve? Postwar Parisian irresponsibility is as much the focus of Left Bank as political, artistic, moral & sexual incandescence in Agnès Poirier’s skilful collage of images & collision of destinies.
Odyssey of the Unknown Anzac by David Hastings ($29.95, PB)
In 1928 the Returned Sailors & Soldiers Imperial League of Australia produced 10,000 copies of a poster asking for help identifying a patient, believed to be a returned soldier, now in Sydney’s Callan Park Mental Hospital. The response from the public hoping that this might be their lost father, brother, or son, was overwhelming. The family of this unknown Anzac was located, in Taranaki, New Zealand, and the resulting blaze of newspaper & radio attention conveyed, obliquely, the continuing existence of widespread unresolved grief, as the final fate & resting place of a third of these nations’ war dead were unknown. The story of George McQuay, taken home by his mother & sister, of what he suffered and how he survived, speaks of the dehumanising effects of war with unique power.
Anne Aly was the first Australian Muslim woman, the first Egyptianborn woman and the first counter-terrorism expert to be elected to federal parliament. She was also most probably the first parliamentarian to have seen Zoolander 23 times. ‘What am I doing here?’ she asked herself as she was sworn in with her hand on her English translation of the Quran. It’s a question the former professor has raised more than once since she arrived in Australia aged two bearing the name Azza Mahmoud Fawzi Hosseini Ali Al Serougi. The answer is a fascinating and moving story of a Muslim girl growing up in suburban Australia in the seventies, a girl who danced the divide between the expectations and values of their parents’ culture and that of their adopted land, and whose yardstick for ‘a normal’ Australian family was The Brady Bunch.
Camp Austen: My Life as an Accidental Jane Austen Superfan by Ted Scheinman ($20, PB)
The son of a devoted Jane Austen scholar, Ted Scheinman spent his childhood summers eating Yorkshire pudding, singing in an Anglican choir, and watching Laurence Olivier as Mr Darcy. Determined to leave his mother’s world behind, he nonetheless found himself in grad school organizing the first ever UNC-Chapel Hill Jane Austen Summer Camp, a weekend-long event that sits somewhere between an academic conference and superfan extravaganza. While the long tradition of Austen devotees includes the likes of Henry James & E. M. Forster, it is at the conferences & reenactments where Janeism truly lives. In Camp Austen, Scheinman tells the story of his indoctrination into this enthusiastic world and his struggle to shake his mother’s influence while navigating hasty theatrical adaptations, undaunted scholars in cravats, and unseemly petticoat fittings. In a haze of morning crumpets & restrictive tights, Scheinman delivers a hilarious & poignant survey of one of the most enduring & passionate literary coteries in history.
The Wasp and The Orchid by Danielle Clode ($40, HB)
In 1922, a 48-year-old housewife from Blackburn delivered her first paper, on native Australian orchids, to the Field Naturalists Club of Victoria. Over the next thirty years, Edith Coleman would write over 300 articles on Australian nature for newspapers, magazines and scientific journals. She would solve the mystery of orchid pollination that had bewildered even Darwin, earn the acclaim of international scientists and, in 1949, become the first woman to be awarded the Australian Natural History Medallion. How did this remarkable woman, with no training or connections, achieve so much so late in life? And why, over the intervening years, have her achievements and her writing been forgotten? Zoologist Danielle Clode sets out to uncover Edith’s story, from her childhood in England to her unlikely success, sharing along the way Edith’s lyrical & incisive writing & her uncompromising passion for Australian nature & landscape.
Did Jane Austen (1775–1817) have an Australian connection? In Jane & D’Arcy, Australian author Wal Walker makes the groundbreaking claim that colonial surgeon D’Arcy Wentworth (1762–1827) was the love of her life. The first volume of Jane & D’Arcy revealed this long hidden story of Jane Austen’s teenage romance with D’Arcy Wentworth—which ended when Jane was persuaded by her family to abandon him. In 1801, when D’Arcy renewed contact, writing to Jane from remote NSW and from that time they corresponded, looking forward to the day when they would be reunited. The second volume in Walker’s dual biography, Such Talent & Such Success, takes up the story in 1806. Jane continues her clandestine correspondence with D’Arcy, who is unable to obtain permission to leave the Colony. He is in charge of a hospital and has sent his three sons to school in England, hoping to soon follow. This was unfortunately never to happen, with Austen writing her famous novels from Chawton Cottage, and D’Arcy becoming assistant to Governor Lachlan Macquarie, championing the rights of emancipists and helping transform the penal colony into a vigorous new country. While their relationship was never to be, their lives each blossomed—as if their parting gave each of them the opportunity to fulfil their individual destinies.
Jane & D’Arcy 2: Such Talent & Such Success by Wal Walker ($36.95, PB)
Green Escapes: The Guide to Secret Urban Gardens by Toby Musgrave ($35, HB) Cities everywhere are graced with charming but little-known, offthe-beaten-track gardens and green spaces, offering urbanites in the know a chance to immerse themselves in nature. These often small, well-kept secrets are not as grand as those on the tourist trail but are equally delightful and rewarding to visit, if you know where to find them. Green Escapes is the revelatory insider’s guide to these secret gems. Each of them open to the public, the gardens range from pocket parks, courtyards, and rooftop terraces, to community gardens and more.
Bold Horizon: High-country Place, People and Story by Matthew Higgins ($29.95, PB)
Italian Garden: Restoring a Renaissance Garden in Tuscany (ed) Cecilia Hewlett ($50, HB)
HARVeY BeAM CarrIe CoX
Matthew Higgins traces the mountain experience by firstly talking of his own times in the alps as a bushwalker, cross-country skier, historian, and oral-history interviewer. He then profiles a range of people who have worked, lived, or played in the mountains: stockmen, skiers, Indigenous parks officers, rangers, brumby runners, foresters, authors, tourism operators, and others. These central themes of place, people, & story are interwoven with concerns about environmental impact & climate change—with an extensive collection of beautiful images telling the magnificent mountain story, from Kosciuszko to Kiandra, Brindabella to Bimberi & Bogong, to Tidbinbilla and beyond.
Greens campaigner Hazel discovers what Austen can teach a young woman about life, love and literature in the 21st century. Michelle de Kretser calls it ‘compelling’ while Ryan O’Neill says it is ‘a perfect modern romance’.
This is the remarkable story of the project undertaken by Paul Bangay & Monash University to transform a neglected car park at the university’s Prato campus in Tuscany into a traditional Renaissance walled garden, befitting its location. The Italian Garden is part restoration story, part vicarious travel tale & a completely fascinating story of how the discovery 50 years ago of a series of neglected & hidden 15th century frescos led to the creation of the stunning Palazzo Vaj garden—inspired by the water features, grottos & planting symmetry of classic Italian Renaissance gardens.
Talkback host Harvey Beam expects little from a family reunion – least of all the stranger who will change everything. Foreword Reviews says it is ‘vulnerable, darkly comic, and assembled like a well-laid fire.’
In 1926 Barry Dierks, a young American architect, arrived in Paris & fell in love with France. With his partner, an ex-officer in the British Army, he built a white, flat-roofed Modernist masterpiece that rested on the rocks below the Esterel, with views across the Mediterranean. They called it Le Trident. As commissions for more villas flooded in, Barry Dierks & Eric Sawyer, ‘those two charmers’, flourished at the heart of Riviera society. Over the years, Dierks would design & build over 70 of the Riviera’s most recognisable villas for clients ranging from Somerset Maugham, Jack Warner’s to Maxine Elliott’s Chateau de l’Horizon, later the home of Aly Khan & Rita Hayworth. Riviera Dreaming tells the dazzling story of the lives, loves and adventures that played out behind the walls of these glamorous houses and provides an unparalleled portrait of life on the Cote d’Azur at the height of the Jazz Age.
Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson ($30, HB)
Alex Johnsontakes takes a richly illustrated tour of the 40 semi-officially recognised literary towns around the world, outlining the history & development of each community, and offering practical travel advice. Many Book Towns have emerged in areas of marked attraction, such as Urena in Spain or Fjaerland in Norway, where bookshops have been set up in buildings including former ferry waiting rooms & banks. While the UK has the best-known examples at Hay, Wigtown and Sedbergh, but Johnson’s book also features locations such as Jimbochu in Japan, College Street in Calcutta, and major unofficial ‘book cities’ such as Buenos Aires.
MEMOIR / ANTHOLOGY
Riviera Dreaming: Love and War on the Cote d’Azur by Maureen Emerson ($45, HB)
These are stories of survival that celebrate getting older and wiser as well as becoming more certain of who you are and where you want to be.
books for kids to young adults
compiled by children’s correspondent, Lynndy Bennett
Noisy First Words: My First Touch and Feel Sound Book
Libby Walden ($20, BD) olers by o h c A multifaceted early learner’s book, this has not only touch and feel eles e r for p ments, but also sounds and basic vocabulary: impressively interactive and plenty of fun.
Bird Builds a Nest by Martin Jenkins (ill) Richard Jones ($25, HB)
There is a wonderfully succinct explanation about forces at the very beginning of this ‘Science Storybook’. But this is so much more than a simple reference book, it’s a beautifully illustrated picture book about a bird finding a worm to eat, twigs she can carry and a nest she builds. Simple pictures in a warm palette with lots of textures and details, and a really appealing story that’s great to read aloud, make this an irresistible book for the very young, and anyone who needs a quick brush up on physics. Very highly recommended, for 3–7 year olds. Louise
Capital: Explore the World’s Capital Cities by Nik Neves ($20, HB)
With the same fun as trawling through an atlas, this lavishly illustrated introduction to geography offers insights into capital cities around the Earth, giving a brief history plus lesser-known information for each, just right for readers up to 8 years old. Lynndy
nonfiction picture books Hello Hello by Brian Wenzel ($25, HB)
Wenzel’s highly acclaimed Caldecott Honor book They All Saw a Cat played with perspective and viewpoints; Hello Hello also has an original approach and straddles the line between picture and reference books. Very spare rhyming text links animals (humans included), by varying criteria such as colour, patterns, and bodily features—depicting connections not always immediately obvious. A celebration of the myriad forms of life on Earth, it’s a splendid picture book demonstrating the differences and similarities of all critters. Dynamic illustrations using multimedia—oils, cut-paper collage, marker pens, pastels and coloured pencils—render this a lively visual treat, and the additional information about each animal and its status from safe to highly endangered adds another level for slightly older readers. Highly recommended! Lynndy
Dingo by Claire Saxby (ill) Tannya Harricks ($24, HB)
The newest in the narrative nonfiction Nature Storybook series illuminates the life and habitats of the dingo, recently classified as a separate breed from the wolves and dogs they were believed to have descended from. Focussing on a Victorian Alpine community of dingoes, the collaborators allow up close and personal views of this wonderful native animal, too often dismissed as a pest, and show it as part of our ecosystem. Lynndy
Surprise by Mies van Hout ($20, HB)
Focussing on emotions, Happy is one of our frequently-recommended books, and I’m sure Surprise will be equally popular and relevant. Dutch artist van Hout uses black paper and pastels to bold dramatic effect, this time exploring the unique parent-child bond from expectation to nurturing, and eventually letting them start their own trajectory. The slight abstraction of storytelling with birds rather than humans detracts not one whit from the authenticity of the message. Her latest book is stunning as ever. Lynndy
Thursday’s Children by Rumer Godden ($20, PB)
There’s nothing shiny or fluffy about this ballet book by Rumer Godden—I don’t think I’ve read a book that unmasks naked emotion and raw sibling feelings as succinctly as this book, published in 1984. Children’s books about performing were hugely popular in post-WW2 Britain; Noel Streatfeild, Pamela Brown and Rumer Godden often wrote about the ballet and theatre, and Thursday’s Children ostensibly harks back to that time. What is startling about this book is the succinct way the author describes searing ambition, and its effect on gifted children and their families. Crystal and Doone are sister and brother, both destined for the world of ballet and dance, but only one of them has been encouraged by the family. Rumer Godden’s observations are acute, and not always comfortable, making this much more of a YA novel than the age of the central characters, and its cover suggest. A big thank you to Janice for recommending this book to me, I loved it. For 11–adult. Louise
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green ($28, HB)
John Green’s enigmatic novel Turtles All The Way Down takes readers into the mind of the curious Aza Holmes as she pursues the disappearance of a local billionaire. Fraught with anxiety and compulsive thought, her consciousness reveals a personal side of the narrator in a way rarely seen in contemporary fiction. Exploring the complexities of the hypochondriac and adolescent mind, Green expertly encompasses the terrifying uncontrollable and what it is to overthink. This endlessly quotable novel has now become one of my favourite John Greens. Relatable and just a tad confronting, you won’t be able to put this book down. Natalia (16)
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron ($18, PB)
A massively original and engaging story! Every 12 years, all the citizens in Nadia’s town forget everything about themselves and their collective history. Because of this, they write their histories into books that become their constant companions, to ensure that they don’t lose their identities in the ‘Forgetting’. The real question though is not who are they, but where do they come from? This has a great sci-fi twist. Isabel
Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough ($20, PB)
Palace of Fires: Book 1— The Initiate by Bill Bennett
An original new supernatural thriller series. A teen girl discovers that she has a powerful destiny, and that she has been shielded from the full extent of the witchcraft surrounding her family for most of her life. In order to save humankind she must confront both truly evil enemies and her own inner fears, and accept her calling. ($20, PB) Isabel
Not only is this topical, but I also think it better than Erin Gough’s previous novels. It’s witty, clever, and easy to relate to. In the words of the publishers: ‘A ferociously funny romp through an elite private school, and a brilliant feminist hoax that could change —or ruin—everything. Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she decides to risk it all by helping bad-girl Will Everhart expose the school’s many ongoing issues, Harriet tells herself it’s because she too is seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating. Will Everhart can’t stand posh people like Harriet, but even she has to admit Harriet’s ideas are good—and they’ll keep Will from being expelled. That’s why she teams up with Harriet to create Amelia Westlake, a fake student who can take the credit for a series of provocative pranks at their school. But the further Will and Harriet’s hoax goes, the harder it is for the girls to remember they’re sworn enemies—and to keep Amelia Westlake’s true identity hidden. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep Amelia Westlake—and their feelings for each other—a secret? This triumphant queer YA rom-com explores politics, privilege and power, and has a gloriously uplifting teen romance at its heart.’ I’ll be very surprised if this isn’t nominated for awards. Lynndy
Food, Health & Garden
CSIRO Low-Carb Every Day by Grant Brinkworth & Dr Pennie Taylor ($35, PB)
This new volume makes implementing the low carb diet at home easier than ever. It includes: An update on the latest science; 80 new recipes with a focus on meals that are quick & easy to prepare; All daily allowances for recipes calculated & explained; Daily plans & meal builders to help you seamlessly incorporate this way of eating into your everyday life; 15 new exercises that complement those in the first book to add variety to your exercise routine, & further improve your fitness, strength & general health.
Raised Row Gardening: How to Grow Incredible Organic Produce with No Weeding ($30, PB)
In the past decade, raised bed gardening has been wildly popular, but it requires buying wood or another material to build the raised beds, which quickly becomes expensive and labor intense. A raised row garden uses just soil and mulch, such as shredded leaves, to create raised growing rows and walking rows. This method is more budget-friendly, natural and just as effective to control weeds and see an impressive harvest your first year. Jim & Mary Competti, have perfected & streamlined their method over several years. They spend only a few minutes per day maintaining a large garden that provides their family with food for the whole year.
The Reading Cure: How Books Restored My Appetite by Laura Freeman ($35, HB)
At the age of 14, Laura Freeman was diagnosed with anorexia. She had struck different foods from her diet one by one until she was starving. But even at her lowest point, the one appetite she never lost was her love of reading. As she battled her anorexia, she gradually rediscovered how to enjoy food—and life more broadly—through literature. Plum puddings & pottles of fruit in Dickens gave her courage to try new dishes; the wounded Robert Graves’ appreciation of a pair of greengages changed the way she thought about plenty & choice; Virginia Woolf’s painterly descriptions of bread, blackberries & biscuits were infinitely tempting. Book by book, meal by meal, Laura developed an appetite & discovered an entire library of reasons to live.
The Women’s Brain Book: The neuroscience of health, hormones & happiness by Sarah McKay
This is not a book about the differences between male & female brains, nor a book using neuroscience to explain gender-specific behaviours. It’s about what happens inside the brains & bodies of women as they move through the phases of life, and the unique—and often misunderstood—effects of female biology & hormones. Dr Sarah McKay’s guide includes: In utero, Childhood Puberty, The Menstrual Cycle, The Teenage Brain, Depression & Anxiety, Pregnancy & Motherhood, Menopause & The Ageing Brain. ($33, PB)
MAZI: Modern Greek Food ($40, HB) by Christina Mouratoglou & Adrien Carré
Introducing authentic flavours with a modern twist, Mazi is innovative Greek food at its best. Whether it’s the Spicy tiropita with broken filo pastry, leeks & chillis, Crispy lamb belly with miso aubergine, chickpea & tahini puree or Loukoumades with lavender honey & crushed walnuts (Greek doughnuts soaked in honey), Mazi’s food is intrinsically edgy & completely delicious.
Japan: The Cookbook ($59.95, HB)
This definitive, home cooking recipe collection has more than 400 sumptuous recipes by acclaimed food writer Nancy Singleton Hachisu. The iconic and regional traditions of Japan are organized by course and contain insightful notes alongside the recipes. The dishes—soups, noodles, rices, pickles, one-pots, sweets, and vegetables—are simple and elegant.
The Gardener’s Year: A Planting Guide for Australian Seasons ($35, PB)
Each Australian season brings new delights to the garden, from the bright & delicate blossoms of spring to the bountiful height of a hot summer’s crop. Packed with gardening to-do lists & plant profiles, this guide will help you plan & enjoy a garden that is colourful, productive & adaptable to every season. Discover how to grow the most stunning native Australian flowers, fruits & vegetables, and learn when to complete the essential jobs that keep your garden blooming all through the year.
One Knife, One Pot, One Dish: Simple French cooking at home by Stéphane Reynaud ($40, HB)
Stéphane Reynaud pares down delicious French food to its essential best ingredients with 160 one-pot recipes that even the most inexperienced or time-poor cooks will love. There are pre-dinner dips and snacks; hearty vegetarian dishes; simple one-pot recipes for fish, beef, lamb, veal, pork or poultry; slow-cooked roasts, delicately seasoned with herbs and spices; classically simple one-pan desserts such as clafoutis; and even ideas for the perfect cheese course. Reynaud has demystified and made simple good French cooking—preparing dinner has never been this easy.
I was hoping to regale you this month on how to strop your carving knives to razor sharp and then julienne a kilo of carrots in seconds (without the aid of a food processor). However, it looks like Sharp (from last month’s Gleaner online) has been delayed, so I’ll keep that up my sleeve and tell you about London born, Indian food writer Meera Sodha. I’ve been cooking from her books Fresh India ($50) & Made In India ($45), and they’re worth it just for the coriander chutney and the 100 clove garlic curry (takes a while to peel eight garlic bulb’s worth of cloves, but I find this the perfect occupation while viewing a boxed set)—this curry is a garlic lover’s nirvana. I also ventured into a bit of bread-like accompaniment with her dhokla—a chickpea flour steamed concoction which uses Eno salts (yes from the chemist) for its raising agent. Another reason I like Meera’s books—she tells you how to make the dhokla without having to buy a steamer, and always offers substitutes for ingredients that may not be readily available. Viki Meanwhile, chez Louise... as I write this, I have a tray of savoiardi biscuits (aka Lady’s Fingers), baking in the oven, and a dish of marscapone knitting itself together, in the fridge. I’m making the Tiramisu recipe from Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s 2017 book, Ostro. Going slow is the idea overarching this recipe book, and certainly taking 2-3 days to make a Tiramisu is rather leisurely. But why not? The recipe is going to make a big batch of the delicious pudding, and I think it would be a perfect end to a festive dinner. All of the recipes look good, wonderfully enticing photography, and dark inviting tableaux give the book a distinctly Melbourne vibe. After I’ve recovered from the Tiramisu I will definitely be baking one of the cakes, and the Everyday Banana Loaf with Homemade Butter looks delicious (and I will def be making the Ricotta and Apple Hazelnut Cake, the Fish Soup, and Mushroom and Barley Pie). Nishimura has a young family, and there’s a distinctly domestic feel to the book—appealing domesticity, not the speedy breakfast and out the door kind. Louise
Gennaro’s Fast Cook Italian: From fridge to fork in 40 minutes or less by Gennaro Contaldo ($40, HB)
From lightning-fast risottos to perfectly pronto pastas, speedy soups & delightful desserts, these recipes showcase the very best Italy has to offer, while requiring very little time in the kitchen. Featuring food from all the major regions of Italy, these quick recipes really make the most of the amazing fresh produce for which Italy is renowned. The result is delicious, nutritious food that can be on the table in minutes—perfect for busy families or for easy entertaining.
AWW Gluten Free The Complete Collection
Coeliac disease & gluten intolerance is on the rise, with popular ingredients now off-limits for some. Pre-packaged foods can be rife with hidden gluten, so we give you the tools to navigate labels and take control of your diet. Make your own delicious gluten free food, with recipes for every meal of the day, plus recipes for all the fun stuff- doughnuts, waffles, tarts & more. ($45, HB)
Venice: Four Seasons of Home Cooking by Russell Norman ($55, HB)
Russell Norman returns to Venice—the city that inspired Polpo— to immerse himself in the authentic flavours of the Veneto and the culinary traditions of the city. His rustic kitchen—in the residential quarter of the city where washing hangs across the narrow streets and neighbours don’t bother to lock their doors—provides the perfect backdrop for this adventure, and for the 130 lip-smacking, easy Italian family recipes showcasing the simple but exquisite flavours of Venice. His book also gives a rare & intimate glimpse into the life of the city, its hidden architectural gems, its secret places, the embedded history, the colour & vitality of daily life, and the food merchants & growers who make Venice so surprisingly vibrant.
Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power by Dr Lisa Mosconi ($35, PB) Lisa Mosconi is the Associate Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic of the Department of Neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College. Her book makes clear the connection between nutrition & our brain’s health—three eggs, for example, provide the daily amount of brain super-nutrients that are often deficient in Alzheimer’s patients. Based partly on her own discoveries, and using proven dietary concepts & emerging science, and with accompanying recipes & guides Mosconi shows the importance of starting work now to prevent dementia, stress & memory loss—being smart about your diet can make you smarter overall.
A Baker’s Year by Tara Jensen ($35, HB)
Tara Jensen is an artist and baker living a solitary life at Smoke Signals, a wood fired bakery deep in the mountains of North Carolina. Jensen baked her way through her twenties in professional settings, keeping handwritten journals as she went. A Baker’s Year takes readers month-by-month through the seasons at Smoke Signals for porridge and waffles in winter, crusty bread in spring, pies and pizza in the summer, and celebration cakes for end-of-the-year holidays.
Events r Calenda
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15 Launch—3.30 for 4 Jiawei Shen
Painting History in conv. with John McDonald and Mabel Lee Despite the ban on books during the Cultural Revolution in China, Shen reveals how he & his schoolmates would steal books to read. Based on extensive diary entries & notes, his portrayals of human behaviour resonate with authenticity and truth.
Looking Into the Brexit and in conv. with P Essays on religious ti-cultural society, Gough Whitlam & cratic Imagination Refugees Study Pr as metaphor
Event—6 for 6.30 Jonathan Pearlman
Australian Foreign Affairs ‘Book Club’ in conv. with James Curran The 2nd issue of examines the US’ sudden shift from the Asia Pivot to America First. It provides insights into Donald Trump’s White House and explores how his unpredictable approach to international affairs is affecting the volatile Asian region.
The Death of in conv. with M The art historian N and his adult child Evie, must come t shock of their fath sculpture has gon museum in Pale is a su
24 Event—6 for 6.30
Populism Now! in conv. with Peter Lewis David McKnight argues that a progressive populism could address the genuine economic grievances of everyday people & may be the best way of defeating the racist backlash of right-wing populism. It may also be the best way to save the planet.
30 Varuna Sydney Writers’ Festival in Katoomba
Fri 27 to Mon 30
April 30 to May 6
Don Sign u The g ema asims@
All events listed are $12/$9 concession. Book Launches are free. Gleeclub members free entry to events at 49 Glebe Pt Rd
Events are held upstairs at #49 Glebe Point Road unless otherwise noted. Bookings—Phone: (02) 9660 2333, Email: email@example.com, Online: www.gleebooks.com.au/events
—6 for 6.30 Jones
—6 for 6.30 Jones
12 Event—6 for 6.30
An Accidental Hero Launcher: Joseph Skrzynski Fred Sherborne, a young Australian fighter pilot in WWII, was shot down in August 1944, between Châteaurenard & Avignon, in the South of France. This is a story about the pursuit of his identity by French locals who wished to uncover the story of this man, who fought for them.
e Abyss: Trump d Beyond Philip Adams s beliefs in a muly, NT euthanasia, & the Social Demon, the Melbourne rogram, Republic r and more.
f Noah Glass Mireille Juchau Noah Glass is dead dren, Martin and to terms with the her’s death. But a ne missing from a ermo, and Noah uspect.
Launch—6 for 6.30
13 Launch—6 for 6.30
Effie Carr / David Roberts
The Bible in Australia in conv. with Andrew West Meredith Lake explores how in the hands of Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, writers, artists and Indigenous Australians, the Bible has played a contested but defining role in Australia.
Stamatia X / Young Love Weaving Greek mythology, religion and the study of grammar, Stamatia X is the story of a Greek-Australian girl whose parents make the monumental decision to re-migrate ‘like birds flying backwards’ to Greece / Part excoriation, part lamentation, Young Love unspools the psyche of a man ill at ease with modernity.
21 Launch—6 for 6.30
Event—6 for 6.30
A Darker Shade of Pale Launcher: Anton Enus A Darker Shade of Pale is a moving account of Beryl’s family and community life in segregated South Africa – the injustices, humiliation and challenges and finally finding acceptance when she moved to Australia in the 1980s.
Serving Our Country in conv. with Mick Dodson After decades of silence, Serving Our Country is the first comprehensive history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in the Australian defence forces.
! ss out n’t mi leemail! g up for s weekly ok gleebo s update. nt u ail eve ooks.com.a b @glee
27 Launch—6 for 6.30 Andrew Fowler
Shooting the Messenger: Criminalising Journalism Launcher: Quentin Dempster Andrew Fowler shows how mass surveillance & anti-terror laws are of questionable value in defeating terrorism, but have had a ‘chilling effect’ on one of the foundations of democracy: revelatory journalism.
Coming in May Sydney Writers Festival 30th April to May 6th Launch: Fri 4: Janine Dickinson—The Sweet Hills of Florence Launch: Fri 11: Kim Hodges—Girl Over the Edge Event: Thur 10: Drew Rooke—One Last Spin Event: Mon 14: Andrew Leigh—Randomistas for more events go to: http://www.gleebooks.com.au/bookings
Granny’s Good Reads
with Sonia Lee
This month I’ve been reading an eclectic bunch of books: A Life of my Own by Claire Tomalin, SPQR by Mary Beard, The Unwomanly Face of War by Svetlana Alexievitch and The Secret Life of Whales by Micheline Jenner. Claire Tomalin has written many superb biographies— my favourites being those of Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys, Charles Dickens and, for good measure, Charles’s young mistress Ellen Ternan. In A Life of My Own she focuses on herself, giving us a memoir which, though largely silent about one or two key relationships, is an engrossing account of a life dedicated to literature. Claire’s French father and musician mother had an unhappy marriage, from which her father walked out in 1941 when she was only eight. From an early age she read widely and avidly, did well at school, got into Cambridge at 17 and in due course obtained first class honours. With her father’s help she completed a secretarial course, then turned to book reviewing, at which she did well enough to become literary editor of the New Statesman and the Sunday Times. She married—perhaps over-hastily—a dashing young journalist named Nick Tomalin and over time had five children. In 1973 Nick, then a war correspondent for the Sunday Times, was killed in Israel by a Syrian missile. Having now to provide for their four surviving children, including one with spina bifida, she set to writing biographies and was delighted when her nonagenarian father said ‘You never cease to surprise me’. Her second marriage to novelist and dramatist Michael Frayn has been happy and long-lasting. Now 84, she says she is going to write another book—for which I can’t wait. Mary Beard’s SPQR is a short history of Rome from the mythical time of Romulus and Remus. Beard is a splendid guide to the many assassinations, usurpations and dissipations of the ensuing centuries, and once she gets going the excitement never flags. Along the way she debunks some cherished beliefs—such as Cleopatra’s asp and Hannibal’s use of vinegar to break up rocks. The great Augustus is for her an ‘old reptile’, Marcus Aurelius is full of platitudes and even Cicero isn’t as squeaky clean as we might have thought. A scholarly but very engaging read, ideal for the bedside table. Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievitch’s The Unwomanly Face of War is heart-rending. Censored in Russia for telling the true story of the part Soviet women played in World War 2, it has now been issued unexpurgated. In the 1970s and 80s Alexievitch interviewed as many women participants in the war as would speak to her. Some refused because they felt their lives had been ruined by what they’d endured. The families of others cast them off for having been in the company of male soldiers right up to the Red Army’s entry into Berlin. Some who left babies to enlist returned after the war to find children who didn’t recognise them. Others were rejected by husbands who felt that their wives had been coarsened by war service. This is a chronicle of how women captains, tank drivers, snipers, pilots, nurses and doctors experienced war on the front line, on the home front and in occupied territories. I couldn’t read this book except in small doses because the stories are so piercingly sad. For women in Britain, even though WW2 took a terrible toll, the experience of hostilities would have been of a quite different order. Having also read Alexievitch’s Second–Hand Time, I‘ve concluded that endurance must indeed be embedded in the Russian psyche. After the first pages of The Secret Life of Whales, I became just as fascinated by them as Micheline Jenner, who has devoted her life to them. I first became interested in Micheline and husband Curt when I heard them talking about humpbacks and blue whales to Robyn Williams on the ABC’s Science Show. Humpbacks have brains the size of VWs, she informs us, and the males sing courting songs to attract females. And blue whales really are blue. I bought this book from my favourite bookshop just as soon as I could and it’s been another bedside charmer starting with the touching birth of a baby humpback on page 14. Though humpbacks have slowly recovered since the ban on whaling, the blue whales are not doing as well, something explained by Jenner in a chapter where she gets covered in smelly whale poo. I won’t give away any more about this book because I hope everyone will buy a copy in an act of solidarity with the whales against the Japanese fiction of ‘scientific whaling’ for the benefit of upmarket sushi bars in Tokyo. But first, whet your appetite by listening to the ABC Science Show of 25th November 2017. Sonia
An Australian Band of Brothers: Don Company, Second 43rd Battalion, 9th Division by Mark Johnston ($35, PB)
Inspired by American historian Stephen Ambrose’s landmark book, Band of Brothers, Mark Johnston follows a small group of Australian front-line soldiers from their enlistment in the dark days of 1940 to the end of WWII. The members of Don Company of the Second 43rd Battalion were part of the famous 9th Australian Division, which, during campaigns in Tobruk, El Alamein, New Guinea & Borneo, sustained more casualties & won more medals than any other Australian division. This is an evocative & detailed account of the day-to-day war of 3 infantry soldiers whose experiences included night patrols at Tobruk, advancing steadily through German barrages at Alamein, charging enemy machine guns in New Guinea, and repelling Japanese charges on Borneo. Using the frank & detailed personal letters, diaries & memoirs of these 3 Australian soldiers, Johnston brings to life their campaigns, battles & interactions with their comrades & enemies.
Populism Now! The Case For Progressive Populism by David McKnight ($30, PB)
Brexit and the election of Donald Trump have certainly given populism a bad name. But rather than associating it with demagoguery & exclusion, might we better see it as a backlash against free market globalisation? Might it be harnessed as a positive force able to thrive in difficult times? David McKnight exposes the failures of globalisation: greedy banks, predatory privatisation, corporate tax avoidance & a growing underclass of temporary overseas workers, and argues that a progressive populism could address the genuine economic grievances of everyday people, without scapegoating immigrants or ethnic minorities. In fact, a progressive form of populism may be the best way of defeating the racist backlash of right-wing populism. It may also be the best way to save the planet.
The Coal Truth by David Ritter ($30, PB)
Since 2012, the fight to stop the opening of the vast Galilee coal basin has emerged as an iconic pivot of the Australian climate & environment movement. This book is a colourful contribution to one of the most important struggles in our national history. Written by an environmental insider with an eye on the world his daughters will inherit, The Coal Truth draws in other specialist voices to bring to life the contours of a contest that the people of Australia can’t afford to lose. Contributors include Tara Moss and Berndt Sellheim, Adrian Burragubba, Lesley Hughes, John Quiggin, Hilary Bambrick, Ruchira Talukdar & Geoffrey Cousins.
Serving our Country: Indigenous Australians, war, defence & citizenship (eds) Beaumont & Cadzow
After decades of silence, this is the first comprehensive history of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people’s participation in the Australian defence forces. While Indigenous Australians have enlisted in the defence forces since the Boer War, for much of this time they defied racist restrictions & were denied full citizenship rights on their return to civilian life. In Serving Our Country Mick Dodson, John Maynard, Joan Beaumont, Noah Riseman, Alison Cadzow, & others, reveal the courage, resilience & trauma of Indigenous defence personnel & their families, and document the long struggle to gain recognition for their role in the defence of Australia. ($40, PB)
Class Wars: Money, Schools & Power in Modern Australia by Tony Taylor ($29.95, PB)
How Australians fund schooling has been a matter of bitter political, social & religious division for almost 200 years. And it remains so. The 2012 Gonski Review, urging all jurisdictions to move towards consensus on a needs-based & socially just education system, has continued to encounter forms of political obstruction. By examining the principles, the motives, and the means of those who, since Menzies, have fought to develop & maintain a class-based education system at the expense of a broader view of social justice, this book explains how & why Australian education policy remains mired in political controversy.
Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia (ed) Anita Heiss ($30, PB)
What is it like to grow up Aboriginal in Australia? This anthology showcases many diverse voices, experiences & stories in order to answer that question. Accounts from well-known authors & highprofile identities sit alongside those from newly discovered writers of all ages. All of the contributors speak from the heart—sometimes calling for empathy, oftentimes challenging stereotypes, always demanding respect. Contributors include- Tony Birch, Deborah Cheetham, Adam Goodes, Terri Janke, Patrick Johnson, Ambelin Kwaymullina, Jack Latimore, Celeste Liddle, Amy McQuire, Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Miranda Tapsell, Jared Thomas, Aileen Walsh, Alexis West, Tara June Winch, and many, many more.
New Text Classic: Australia in Arms: The Eyewitness Story of Gallipoli by Phillip Schuler (intr. Paul Ham), $12.95
Blue Collar Frayed: Working Men in Tomorrow’s Economy by Jennifer Rayner ($35, PB)
Jennifer Rayner knows a thing or two about blue-collar blokes—her brother, her dad & her grandfather all make a living with their hands. But blue-collar jobs for Australian men are disappearing at a rapid rate, and this is not just a product of unstoppable economic forces— it’s also the result of our failure to acknowledge the importance of those jobs & the people who do them. The men now losing their jobs in heavy industry or trades will not easily find new work in Australia’s growing service industries; the evidence shows they are disengaging from the workforce instead. Drawing on extensive research & dozens of interviews, Rayner argues that there can be blue-collar jobs in our future economy. In fact, we can’t keep building a fair & prosperous Australia without them.
New Power by Henry Timms & Jeremy Heimans ($33, PB)
Power was once held by the few, it was hoarded & jealously guarded, like currency. But the technological revolution of the past 2 decades has made possible a new form of power which is open, participatory, often leaderless & peer-driven. Like water or electricity, it is most forceful when it surges. Even old power institutions like the Papacy, NASA and LEGO have tapped into the strength of the crowd to stage improbable reinventions. Business leaders/social visionaries Jeremy Heimans (co-founder of Get-Up) & Henry Timms provide the tools for using new power to successfully spread an idea or lead a movement in the 21st century. Drawing on examples from business, politics & social justice, they explain the new world we live in-a world where connectivity has made change shocking and swift and a world in which everyone expects to participate.
Growing Pains: The Future of Democracy (and work) by Gwynne Dyer ($30, PB)
Gwynne Dyer examines the global challenges facing us today & explains how they have contributed to a world of inequality, poverty & joblessness—conditions which he argues inevitably lead to the rise of populism. The greatest threat to social & political stability, he argues, lies in the rise of automation, which will continue to eliminate jobs, whether politicians admit that it is happening or not. To avoid a social & political catastrophe, we will have to find ways of putting real money into the pockets of those who have no work. Not without hope, Dyer offers that our capacity for overcoming the worst has been tested again & again throughout history, and we have always survived. To do so now, Dyer argues, we must embrace radical solutions to the real difficulties facing individuals, or find ourselves back in the 1930s with no way out.
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives (ed) Viet Thanh Nguyen ($35, HB)
In January 2017, Donald Trump signed an executive order stopping entry to the US from 7 predominantly Muslim countries & dramatically cutting the number of refugees allowed to resettle in the US each year. The American people spoke up, with protests, marches, donations, and lawsuits that quickly overturned the order. But the refugee caps remained. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Viet Thanh Nguyen, himself a refugee, brings together a host of prominent refugee writers to explore & illuminate the refugee experience. Featuring original essays by writers from around the world, this is an indictment of closing our doors, and a powerful look at what it means to be forced to leave home & find a place of refuge.
Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of Global Accounting Monopoly by Ian D. Gow & Stuart Kells ($33, PB)
Across the globe, the so-called Big Four accounting & audit firms, Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young & KPMG, are massively influential. Together, they earn more than US$100 billion annually & employ almost one million people. In many profound ways, they have changed how we work, how we manage, how we invest and how we are governed. Stretching back centuries, their history is a fascinating story of wealth, power & luck. But today, the Big Four face an uncertain future—thanks to their push into China; their vulnerability to digital disruption & competition; and the hazards of providing traditional services in a new era of transparency. Both colourful and authoritative, this account of the past, present and likely future of the Big Four is essential reading for anyone curious about the fate of the global economy.
The Battle for Syria by Christopher Phillips
Christopher Phillips argues that the international dimension has never been secondary to Syria’s war—but that from the very start, it has been profoundly influenced by regional factors, particularly the vacuum created by a perceived decline of US power in the Middle East. This precipitated a new regional order in which 6 external protagonists—the US, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey & Qatar—have violently competed for influence, with Syria a key battleground. Without absolving the brutal Bashar al-Assad regime, Phillips untangles the key external factors which explain the acceleration & endurance of the conflict, and concludes with some insights on Syria and the region’s future. ($35, PB)
History of the World in Seven Cheap Things by Raj Patel & Jason W. Moore ($35, PB)
Nature, Money, Work, Care, Food, Energy & Lives. These are the 7 things that have made our world & will continue to shape its future. By making these things cheap, modern commerce has controlled, transformed &devastated the Earth. Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analysing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, slave revolts & other uprisings, Patel & Moore demonstrate how throughout history, crises have always provided fresh opportunities to make the world cheap & safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis for all these 7 cheap things, innovative systemic thinking is urgently required. This book proposes a radical new way of understanding, and reclaiming, the planet in the turbulent 21st century.
Daughters of the Winter Queen by Nancy Goldstone ($50, HB)
Elizabeth Stuart’s (1596–1662) marriage to a German count far below her rank was arranged with the understanding that her father, James I of England, would help his new son-in-law achieve the crown of Bohemia. The terrible betrayal of this promise would ruin ‘the Winter Queen’, and imperil the lives of those she loved & launch a war that would last 30 years. Forced into exile, the Winter Queen found refuge for her growing family in Holland, where her eldest daughter, Princess Elizabeth (1618–80), counted the philosopher René Descartes as her closest friend. Louisa (1622–1709) was a gifted artist, Henrietta Maria (1626–51), the beauty of the family, would achieve the dynastic ambition of marrying into royalty, although at great cost. And Sophia (1630–1714), a heroine in the tradition of Jane Austen, fulfilled the promise of her great-grandmother Mary, Queen of Scots, a legacy which endures to this day.
France: A History from Gaul to de Gaulle by John Julius Norwich ($45, HB)
John Julius Norwich (at 88) has finally written the book he always wanted to write—the extremely colourful story of the country he loves best. From frowning Roman generals & belligerent Gallic chieftains, to Charlemagne (hated by generations of French children taught that he invented schools) through Marie Antoinette & the storming of the Bastille to Vichy, the Resistance and beyond, France is packed with heroes & villains, adventures & battles, romance & revolution. Full of memorable stories & racy anecdotes, this is the perfect introduction to the country that has inspired the rest of the world to live, dress, eat—and love better.
Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens by David Stuttard ($65, HB)
Alcibiades was one of the most dazzling figures of the Golden Age of Athens. A ward of Pericles & a friend of Socrates, he was spectacularly rich, bewitchingly handsome & charismatic, a skilled general, and a ruthless politician. He was also a serial traitor, infamous for his dizzying changes of loyalty in the Peloponnesian War. As he follows Alcibiades’s journeys crisscrossing the Mediterranean from mainland Greece to Syracuse, Sardis, and Byzantium, Stuttard weaves together the threads of Alcibiades’s adventures against a backdrop of cultural splendor & international chaos. Navigating often contradictory evidence, Nemesis provides a coherent & spellbinding account of a life that has gripped historians, storytellers & artists for more than 2,000 years.
Heretics and Believers: A History of the English Reformation by Peter Marshall ($50, PB) Peter Marshall’s sweeping new history argues that 16th century England was a society neither desperate for nor allergic to change, but one open to ideas of ‘reform’ in various competing guises. King Henry VIII wanted an orderly, uniform Reformation, but his actions opened a Pandora’s Box from which pluralism & diversity flowed and rooted themselves in English life. Marshall frames the perceptions & actions of people great & small, from monarchs & bishops to ordinary families & ecclesiastics, against a backdrop of profound change that altered the meanings of ‘religion’ itself.
Franco: Anatomy of a Dictator by Enrique Moradiellos ($45, HB)
At the time of his death General Francisco Franco had been the head of a dictatorial regime with the title of ‘Caudillo’ for almost 40 years. As a dictator who established his power prior to WWII & maintained it well into the 1970s, Franco was one of the most central figures of 20th century European history. In Spain today, he is a spectre from a regrettable recent past, uncomfortable yet still very real & significant. Although a relatively minor dictator in comparison with Mussolini, Hitler or Stalin, he was more fortunate than them in terms of survival, long-lasting influence & public image. Enrique Moradiellos redraws Franco in three dimensions—Franco, the man; Franco, the ‘Caudillo’ and Franco’s Spain. In so doing, he offers a reappraisal of Franco’s personality, his leadership style and the nature of the regime that he established and led until his death.
Science & Nature
Sunburnt Country: The History and Future of Climate Change in Australia by Joelle Gergis ($35, PB)
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What was Australia’s climate like before official weather records began? How do scientists use tree-rings, ice cores & tropical corals to retrace the past? What do Indigenous seasonal calendars reveal? And what do settler diary entries about rainfall, droughts, bush fires & snowfalls tell us about natural climate cycles? Joelle Gergis pieces together Australia’s climate history, uncovering a continent long vulnerable to climate extremes & variability. She gives an unparalleled perspective on how human activities have altered patterns that have been with us for millions of years, and what climate change looks like in our own backyard. Sunburnt Country highlights the impact of a warming planet on Australian lifestyles and ecosystems and the power we all have to shape future life on Earth.
The Telescope in the Ice: Inventing a New Astronomy at the South Pole by Mark Bowen ($37, HB)
Located near the US Amundsen-Scott Research Station at the geographic South Pole, IceCube is unlike most telescopes in that it is not designed to detect light. It employs a cubic kilometre of diamondclear ice, more than a mile beneath the surface, to detect an elementary particle known as the neutrino. In 2010, it detected the first extraterrestrial high-energy neutrinos & thus gave birth to a new field of astronomy. IceCube is also the largest particle physics detector ever built. Its scientific goals span not only astrophysics & cosmology but also pure particle physics. Neutrino physics is perhaps the most active field in particle physics today, and IceCube is at the forefront. This book is about the thrill of the chase— the pioneers & inventors of neutrino astronomy, and the struggle to understand the neutrino.
Life on Mars: What to Know Before We Go by David A. Weintraub ($50, HB)
A Scandal in Bohemia Gideon Haigh An unsolved murder takes one of Australia’s foremost writers of non-fiction into the 1930s Bohemian demi-monde, exploring the fate of a talented young woman in a ‘liberated’ world. Out April
Macbeth Jo Nesbo Set in a dark, rainy northern town, Nesbo’s Macbeth pits the ambitions of a corrupt policeman against loyal colleagues, a drug-depraved underworld and the pull of childhood friendships. Out April
NASA plans to send astronauts to Mars orbit by the 2030s. SpaceX wants to go by 2024, while Mars One wants to land a permanent settlement there in 2032. As we gear up for missions like these, we have a responsibility to think deeply about what kinds of life may already inhabit the planet—and whether we have the right to invite ourselves in. David Weintraub traces how our ideas about life on Mars have been refined by landers & rovers, terrestrial & Mars-orbiting telescopes, spectroscopy, and even a Martian meteorite. He explores how finding DNA-based life on the Red Planet could offer clues about our distant evolutionary past, and grapples with the profound moral & ethical questions confronting us as we prepare to introduce an unpredictable new life form—ourselves—into the Martian biosphere.
Extended Heredity: A New Understanding of Inheritance & Evolution by Bonduriansky & Day ($54, HB)
For much of the 20th century it was assumed that genes alone mediate the transmission of biological information across generations & provide the raw material for natural selection. Leading evolutionary biologists Russell Bonduriansky & Troy Day challenge this premise. Drawing on the latest research, they demonstrate that what happens during our lifetimes—and even our grandparents’ & great-grandparents’ lifetimes can influence the features of our descendants. By examining the history of the gene-centred view in modern biology & reassessing fundamental tenets of evolutionary theory, Bonduriansky & Day show that nongenetic inheritance ‘involving epigenetic, environmental, behavioural & cultural factors’ can play an important role in evolution—with major implications for key questions in evolutionary biology, as well as human health.
Jupiter by William Sheehan & Thomas Hockey
The Making of Martin Sparrow Peter Cochrane Rich, raw, strangely beautiful and utterly convincing, The Making of Martin Sparrow reveals Peter Cochrane – already one of our leading historians – as one of our most compelling novelists. Out May
The Hope Circuit Martin Seligman One of the most important psychologists alive today tells the story of the transformation of modern psychology through the lens of his own career and change of heart. Out April
Read more at penguin.com.au
Now in B format The Animals Among Us: The New Science of Anthrozoology by John Bradshaw, $23
Jupiter is by far the largest planet in the solar system & among the brightest objects in the night sky. It was the `beloved star’ of the ancient Sumerians & Babylonians, the first serious observers of the planets, and the Pioneer & Voyager spacecraft visited it in the 1970s. This beautifully illustrated volume ranges across the entire history of Jupiter studies, from the naked-eye observations of the Babylonians and the Greeks, through the telescopic discoveries of Galileo and T.E.R. Phillips, to the explosion of information received from space probes. It brings our understanding of Jupiter right up to date and includes preliminary findings from the Juno space probe, while also providing valuable practical information for those who wish to make their own observations of the planet. ($50, HB)
Our Birds: Nilimurrungu Wayin Malanynha by Siena Stubbs ($18, PB)
When Siena Stubbs was 12 years old, she took up photography on her iPad, but was gifted a camera from her aunty. This gift book features birds from around Yirrkala, which is Stubbs’ home in North East Arnhem Land. The book includes the English and Yolŋu names of the birds and their Yolŋu moiety. In Yolŋu culture, everything is divided into two moieties: Yirritja and Dhuwa—and as a result all things are classified, from a body of water to a specific type of tree and all our birds. Birds give themselves their Yolŋu name by the sounds they make.‘There are so many birds in Arnhem Land it is difficult to keep count’, says Stubbs, however she has been able to capture some for this whimsical little title. Our Birds also includes beautifully captured landscapes from a child’s perspective.
Philosophy & Religion The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History by Meredith Lake ($40, PB)
In this surprising and revelatory history of the Bible in Australia, Meredith Lake gets under the skin of a text that’s been read, wrestled with, preached and tattooed, and believed to be everything from a resented imposition to the very Word of God. The Bible in Australia explores how in the hands of Bible-bashers, immigrants, suffragists, evangelists, unionists, writers, artists and Indigenous Australians, the Bible has played a contested but defining role in this country. ‘From the opening words about Bra Boy tattoos, this book had me gripped. It breathes colour, poetry and life into our understanding of the Bible in Australia’.—Julia Baird
Radical Sacrifice by Terry Eagleton ($40, HB)
The modern conception of sacrifice is at once cast as a victory of self-discipline over desire & condescended to as destructive & archaic abnegation. But even in the Old Testament, the dual natures of sacrifice, embodying both ritual slaughter & moral rectitude, were at odds. In this analysis, Terry Eagleton makes a compelling argument that the idea of sacrifice has long been misunderstood. Pursuing the complex lineage of sacrifice in a lyrical discourse, Eagleton focuses on the Old & New Testaments, offering a virtuosic analysis of the crucifixion, while drawing together a host of philosophers, theologians, & texts—from Hegel, Nietzsche & Derrida to the Aeneid and The Wings of the Dove. Brilliant meditations on death & eros, Shakespeare & St Paul, irony & hybridity explore the meaning of sacrifice in modernity, casting off misperceptions of barbarity to reconnect the radical idea to politics & revolution.
The Great Rift: Literacy, Numeracy, and the Religion-Science Divide by Michael E. Hobart ($76, HB)
In their search for truth, contemporary religious believers & modern scientific investigators hold many values in common. But in their approaches, they express 2 fundamentally different conceptions of how to understand & represent the world. Michael Hobart looks for the origin of this difference in the work of Renaissance thinkers who invented a revolutionary mathematical system—relational numeracy. By creating meaning through numbers & abstract symbols rather than words, relational numeracy allowed inquisitive minds to vault beyond the constraints of language & explore the natural world with a fresh interpretive vision. Hobart thus locates the great rift between science & religion not in ideological disagreement but in advances in mathematics & symbolic representation.
Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World by Stephen Batchelor ($33, PB)
As the practice of mindfulness permeates mainstream Western culture, more & more people are engaging in a traditional form of Buddhist meditation. However, many of these people have little interest in the religious aspects of Buddhism, and the practice occurs within secular contexts such as hospitals, schools & the workplace. Is it possible to recover from the Buddhist teachings a vision of human flourishing that is secular rather than religious without compromising the integrity of the tradition? Is there an ethical framework that can underpin and contextualize these practices in a rapidly changing world? Stephen Batchelor’s writings on the complex implications of Buddhism’s secularization range widely from reincarnation, religious belief & agnosticism to the role of the arts in Buddhist practice.
Thinking Without A Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953–1975 by Hannah Arendt ($70, HB)
Beginning in 1951 with the publication of Origins of Totalitarianism, until her death in 1975, Hannah Arendt wrote all of her seminal works, including The Human Condition, Eichmann in Jerusalem, On Revolution, and The Life of the Mind. At the same time, she was contributing essays, reviews, and editorials to numerous publications and participating in recorded conversations, interviews, and public discussions. Now, for the first time, these various shorter texts—all of them published within her lifetime-are gathered together in a single volume that makes clear the remarkable range of her preoccupations and passions. Arendt was a thinker, in search not of metaphysical truth but of the meaning of appearances & events—fearless of the consequences of thinking, she found courage woven in each & every strand of human freedom.
Ethical Loneliness: The Injustice of Not Being Heard by Jill Stauffer ($49, PB)
Ethical loneliness is the experience of being abandoned by humanity, compounded by the cruelty of wrongs not being heard. It is the result of multiple lapses on the part of human beings and political institutions that, in failing to listen well to survivors, deny them redress by negating their testimony and thwarting their claims for justice. Jill Stauffer examines the root causes of ethical loneliness and how those in power revise history to serve their own ends rather than the needs of the abandoned. Moving beyond a singular focus on truth commissions and legal trials, she considers more closely what is lost in the wake of oppression and violence, how selves and worlds are built and demolished, and who is responsible for re-creating lives after they are destroyed.
Psychology The Lost Boys: Inside Muzafer Sherif’s Robbers Cave Experiments by Gina Perry
In 1954, a group of boys attended a remote summer camp where they were split into two groups, and encouraged to bully, harass & demonise each other. The results would make history as one of social psychology’s classic, and most controversial, studies—the Robbers Cave experiment. Conducted at the height of the Cold War, the experiment officially had a happy ending—the boys reconciled, and psychologist Muzafer Sherif demonstrated that while hatred & violence are powerful forces, so too are cooperation & harmony. Today it is proffered as proof that under the right conditions warring groups can make peace. Gina Perry draws on archival material & new interviews to piece together a story of drama, mutiny & intrigue that has never been told before. ($33, PB)
The Hope Circuit: A Psychologist’s Journey from Hopelessness to Optimism by Martin Seligman ($35, PB)
When Martin Seligman first encountered the discipline of psychology in the 1960s, it was devoted to eliminating misery—the science of how past trauma creates present symptoms. In his memoir Seligman recounts how he learned to study optimism—including a life-changing conversation with his 5 year-old daughter. He recounts developing CAVE, an analytical tool that predicts election outcomes (with shocking accuracy) based on the language used in campaign speeches, and the canonical studies that birthed the theory of learned helplessness—which he now reveals was incorrect. In writing at length for the first time about his own battles with depression at a young age, he continues to work out his theory of psychology, making a compelling & deeply personal case for the importance of virtues like hope, anticipation, gratitude & wisdom for our mental health.
Starving the Depression Gremlin: A Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook on Managing Depression for Young People by Kate Collins-Donnelly ($30, PB)
This engaging & accessible workbook helps young people aged 10+ to understand their feelings by explaining what depression is, how it develops & the impact it can have on the lives of young people. Based on the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy & packed with valuable tips & strategies, this workbook also aims to empower the reader to change how they think & act in order to manage their depression. Full of fun & creative activities, Starving the Depression Gremlin can help support & inform wider therapeutic work with young people with depression, and it can be used independently or with a parent or practitioner.
Our Minds, Our Selves: A Brief History of Psychology by Keith Oatley ($50, HB)
In this history of psychology Keith Oatley traverses a fascinating terrain: forms of conscious & unconscious knowledge; brain physiology; emotion; stages of mental development from infancy to adulthood; language acquisition & use; the nature of memory; mental illness; morality; free will; creativity; the mind at work in art & literature; and, most important, our ability to cooperate with one another. Controversial experiments—such as Stanley Milgram’s investigation of our willingness to obey authority & inflict pain & Philip Zimbardo & his colleagues’ study of behaviour in a simulated prison—are covered in detail. Biographical sketches illuminate the thinkers behind key insights & turning points: historical figures such as Hermann Helmholtz, Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, B. F. Skinner, and Alan Turing; leading contemporaries such as Geoffrey Hinton, Michael Tomasello, and Tania Singer; and influential people from other fields, including Margaret Mead, Noam Chomsky, Jane Goodall, and Gabrielle Starr.
Blue Dreams: The Science and the Story of the Drugs That Changed Our Minds ($50, HB)
Lauren Slater’s revelatory history of psychotropic drugs charts psychiatry’s journey from its earliest drugs, Thorazine and lithium, up through Prozac & other major antidepressants of the present. Slater chronicles experimental treatments involving Ecstasy, magic mushrooms, the most cutting-edge memory drugs, placebos, and even neural implants—and in her thorough analysis of each treatment, she asks 3 fundamental questions: how was the drug born, how does it work (or fail to work), and what does it reveal about the ailments it is meant to treat? Fearlessly weaving her own intimate experiences into comprehensive & wide-ranging research, Slater narrates a personal history of psychiatry itself. In the process, her groundbreaking exploration casts modern psychiatry’s ubiquitous wonder drugs in a new light, revealing their ability to heal us or hurt us, and proving an indispensable resource not only for those with a psychotropic prescription but for anyone who hopes to understand the limits of what we know about the human brain and the possibilities for future treatments.
Survivalist surviror When I read highly revealing memoirs about people’s childhoods I normally have a twinge of sympathy for their parents—after all, most of us are not consistently fabulous at parenting. However it’s really hard to feel even a bat’s squeak of empathy for Tara Westover’s parents, they are truly extraordinary! As one of the younger siblings in a large Mormon family, brought up in the wilds of Idaho, Tara’s very existence was defined by the incredible credo of her survivalist parents—particularly her zealous father. The children were home-schooled up to a point, a very low point, and expected to work in the family scrap yard—as well as preparing for the Reckoning, by preserving peaches and hoarding fuel, in bulk. The scrap yard was a dangerous place, and many serious injuries befell nearly the whole family who were then treated by their mother, a self-taught herbalist. A child’s leg caught on fire, they were often impaled by metal objects and the family had several really bad car accidents, but nothing was ever bad enough to seek mainstream medical attention. The father, Gene, described herbs as ‘God’s Pharmacy’, an optimistically poetic description, and indeed when he was almost burned alive by an exploding vehicle, his wife treated him at home, with said pharmacy. Unlikely as parts of Educated may seem, it resonates with a chilling ring of truth, and ultimately Tara really is a survivalist, or a survivor at least. She manages against all odds to pass entrance tests, go to college, and eventually win scholarships to far flung places. Her complete unpreparedness to live with other girls at college makes excruciating reading, and her lack of general knowledge is startling—after all this is not a story about a girl born in the 19th century, but in 1986! However, despite all odds—the isolation and the family she was born into—Tara becomes educated, and has written a really compelling book, with a clear and unwavering voice. There are scenes of extreme domestic violence described in the book, so be warned. Louise
How to Fix the Future: Staying Human in the Digital Age by Andrew Keen ($30, PB)
Andrew Keen combines his experiences in Silicon Valley with extensive interviews and analysis to identify the strategies we need in order to tackle the huge challenges of this digital century. This ground-breaking book is the result of extensive travels around the world, from India to Estonia, Germany to Singapore. He examines the best (and worst) practices in five key areas—competition, innovation, oversight, self-regulation and social responsibility—and concludes by examining whether we are seeing the beginning of the end of the America-centric digital world. Throughout he shows that the stakes could not be higher: how can we remain human in an age of digital machines?
100 Books That Changed The World by Scott Christianson ($28, HB)
Scott Christianson brings together an exceptional collection of groundbreaking books—from scriptures that founded religions, to scientific treatises that challenged beliefs, to novels that kick-started literary genres—in an elegantly designed book that offers a sweeping, chronological, Homer to Hawking, survey of the most important books from around the globe, from the earliest illuminated manuscripts to the age of the ebook publication.
The Strange Order of Things by Antonio Damasio ($50, HB)
Preeminent neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, has written a landmark reflection that spans the biological & social sciences, offering a new way of understanding the origins of life, feeling, & culture. This book is investigation into homeostasis, the condition of that regulates human physiology within the range that makes possible not only the survival but also the flourishing of life. Damasio shows that we descend biologically, psychologically & even socially from a long lineage that begins with single living cells; that our minds & cultures are linked by an invisible thread to the ways & means of ancient unicellular life & other primitive life-forms; and that inherent in our very chemistry is a powerful force, a striving toward life maintenance that governs life in all its guises, including the development of genes that help regulate & transmit life.
Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television by Joy Press ($47, HB)
Female writers, directors & producers have radically transformed the television industry in recent years. Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, Mindy Kaling have made it look like an equal opportunity dream factory. But things weren’t always this rosy. Joy Press tells the story of the maverick women who broke through the barricades, starting with Roseanne Barr (Roseanne) and Diane English (Murphy Brown), whose iconic shows redefined America’s idea of family values & incited controversy that reached as far as the White House.
Cultural Studies & Criticism The Secret Barrister: Stories of the Law and How it’s Broken ($33, PB)
‘I’m a barrister, a job which requires the skills of a social worker, relationship counsellor, arm-twister, hostage negotiator, named driver, bus fare-provider, accountant, suicide watchman, coffee-supplier, surrogate parent and, on one memorable occasion, whatever the official term is for someone tasked with breaking the news to a prisoner that his girlfriend has been diagnosed with gonorrhoea’. Welcome to the world of the Secret Barrister. These are the stories of life inside the courtroom. How can you defend a child-abuser you suspect to be guilty? What do you say to someone sentenced to 10 years who you believe to be innocent? What is the law & why do we need it? From the criminals to the lawyers, the victims, witnesses & officers of the law, here is the best & worst of humanity, all struggling within a broken system which would never be off the front pages if the public knew what it was really like.
Curry by Naben Ruthnum ($20, PB)
Why is curry supposed to represent everything brown people eat, read & do when no two curries are the same. Curry is a dish that doesn’t quite exist, but, as this wildly funny & sharp essay points out, a dish that doesn’t properly exist can have infinite, equally authentic variations. By grappling with novels, recipes, travelogues, pop culture & his own upbringing, Naben Ruthnum depicts how the distinctive taste of curry has often become maladroit shorthand for brown identity. With the sardonic wit of Gita Mehta’s Karma Cola & the refined, obsessive palette of Bill Buford’s Heat, Ruthnum sinks his teeth into the story of how the beloved flavour calcified into an aesthetic genre that limits the imaginations of writers, readers & eaters.
My Twentieth Century Evening and Other Small Breakthroughs by Kazuo Ishiguro ($10, PB) Delivered in Stockholm on 7 December 2017, this is the lecture of the Nobel Laureate in Literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. A generous and hugely insightful biographical sketch, it explores his relationship with his homeland of Japan, reflections on his own novels and an insight into some of his inspirations, from the worlds of writing, music and film. Ending with a rallying call for the ongoing importance of literature in the world, it is a characteristically thoughtful and moving piece.
Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a Classic by Annemarie Bilclough & Emma Laws ($55, HB)
Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, this book explores the fascinating story behind the development of Winnie-the-Pooh and friends through the creative collaboration between author A.A. Milne and illustrator E.H. Shepard. Beautifully illustrated with original drawings for the first editions, accompanied by extracts from the manuscripts and the published books, this is a testament to the bear’s enduring popularity. Figures in a Landscape by Paul Theroux ($33, PB) Drawing together classic Theroux pieces from the past 14 years, this new collection offers a comprehensive and deeply searching portrait of its acclaimed author—a kind of autobiography through work. The essays range from profiles of cultural icons (Oliver Sacks, Elizabeth Taylor, Robin Williams) to intimate personal remembrances; from thrilling adventures in Africa to literary writings from Theroux’s rich and expansive personal reading. Collectively these pieces build up a fascinating portrait of Paul Theroux’s restless, ever-curious mind.
Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel ($38, HB)
In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France’s Loire Valley & reestablish himself in a onebedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000-volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books & readers, books & collectors, order & disorder, memory & reading. His musings range widely, from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic & catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria’s library & contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS. In this poignant reevaluation of his life as a reader, Manguel illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries.
Taken for Granted: The Remarkable Power of the Unremarkable by Eviatar Zerubavel ($33, HB) Why is the term ‘openly gay’ so widely used but ‘openly straight’ is not? What are the unspoken assumptions behind terms like ‘male nurse’, ‘working mom’, and ‘white trash’? When we mark something as being special or somehow noticeable, that which goes unmarked ‘such as maleness, whiteness, straightness, and able-bodiedness’ is assumed to be ordinary by default. Eviatar Zerubavel shows how this tacit normalizing of certain identities, practices, and ideas helps to maintain their cultural dominance, including the power to dictate what others take for granted.
Narcocapitalism: Life in the Age of Anaesthesia by Laurent De Sutter ($21.95, PB)
What do the invention of anaesthetics in the middle of the 19th century, the Nazis’ use of cocaine, and the development of Prozac have in common? The answer is that they’re all products of the same logic that defines our contemporary era: ‘the age of anaesthesia’. Laurent de Sutter shows how chemistry has become so much a part of us that we can’t even see how much it has changed us. Our lives are now characterised by the management of our emotions through drugs, ranging from the everyday use of sleeping pills to hard narcotics. In this era, being a subject doesn’t simply mean being subjected to powers that decide how our lives should unfold: it means that our very emotions have been outsourced to chemical stimulation. Yet we don’t understand why the drugs that we take are unable to free us from fatigue & depression, and from the absence of desire that now characterizes our psychopolitical condition. We have forgotten what it means to be excited because our only excitement has become drug-induced. We have to abandon the narcotic stimulation that we’ve come to rely on and find a way back to the collective excitement that is narcocapitalism’s greatest fear.
Tell Me How It Ends: An Essay in 40 Questions by Valeria Luiselli ($19.99, PB)
‘We are driving across Oklahoma in early June when we first hear about the waves of children arriving, alone & undocumented, from Mexico & Central America. Tens of thousands have been detained at the border. What will happen to them? Where are the parents? And why have they undertaken a terrifying, life-threatening journey to enter the United States?’ Valeria Luiselli works as a volunteer at the federal immigration court in New York City, translating for unaccompanied migrant children. Out of her work has come this book—a search for answers, a powerful polemic and an urgent appeal for humanity & compassion in response to mass migration, the most significant global phenomenon of our time.
Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World by Geoff Mulgan ($60, HB)
A new field of collective intelligence has emerged in the last few years, prompted by a wave of digital technologies that make it possible for organizations and societies to think at large scale. This ‘bigger mind’—human & machine capabilities working together—has the potential to solve the great challenges of our time. So why do smart technologies not automatically lead to smart results? Gathering insights from diverse fields, including philosophy, computer science, and biology, Geoff Mulgan shows how collective intelligence can guide corporations, governments, universities—exploring how it has to be consciously organized & orchestrated in order to harness its powers. He looks at recent experiments mobilizing millions of people to solve problems, at groundbreaking technology like Google Maps & Dove satellites, and considers why organizations full of smart people & machines can make foolish mistakes—from investment banks losing billions to intelligence agencies misjudging geopolitical events—and shows how to avoid them.
A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman’s Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy by Sarah Lacy ($49, HB)
Working mothers aren’t a liability. They are assets you-and every manager and executive-want in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner. However, nearly 80% of women are less likely to be hired if they have children—and are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary & are held to higher punctuality & performance standards. 40% of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a 2nd child would cost them a promotion. This prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses, and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth—as Sarah Lacy suggests the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a woman’s career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch ($40, HB)
You’re British. Your parents are British. You were raised in Britain. Your partner, your children & most of your friends are British. So why do people keep asking you where you are from? Brit(ish) is about the everyday racism that plagues British society, and why liberal attempts to be `colour-blind’ have caused more problems than they have solved. In this personal & provocative investigation, Afua Hirsch explores a nation in denial about its past and present. We believe we are the nation of abolition, but forget we are the nation of slavery. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values, but that immigration is one of our problems. Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be, and an urgent call for change.
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The Blue Mountains: Jacaranda Travel Guides by Patricia Rolfe. Jacaranda Press, Brisbane. 1964. First Edition. Octavo. Hardcover. 156pp., b/w and colour photos, maps, index. Slight water stain along top edge. A Canterbury Boys High School Library stamp on p. 31. Tape residue marks on end papers. Good condition in a Good Dust jacket with a small tear. $30.00. Autumn tourist season is upon us the Mountains, and the discovery of this small, well produced, informative travel guide allows the reader to enter the Dr. Peabody Way-Back Machine and revisit the Blue Mountains region of over half a century ago. It’s an entertaining read also for its sometimes Enid Blyton type prose and characterisations of the Blue Mountains. Spring and Autumn are the recommended times to visit being the ‘most benign and beautiful’. Visitors are warned however that the school holidays fall during these seasons and ‘the area is overrun with apple-cheeked children’. Most revealing is Chapter 5 – How the Blue Mountains People Live. Be prepared— the guide advises in blunt language—to encounter both a social and physical difference of population and appearance between the Lower Mountains—up to Springwood—and the Upper Mountains, that is, Leura, Katoomba & Blackheath: Because of the amount of post-war building, the Lower Blue Mountains have a spic-and-span homemaking magazine look compared with much of Leura and Katoomba. Leura in particular has a sort of shabby gentility… However, our travel guide author is just getting started: The shabby genteel is a Blue Mountains type. He lives probably at Leura or Blackheath, on a fixed income which shrinks each year, among the remnants of former wealth…It may be twenty years since he was in Sydney, which he loathes and hopes to never see again. In fact, he rarely goes even to Katoomba, which he loathes. As for the tourists – he loathes them even more. Oh dear! Four other chapters of the guide are interesting short essays by a quartet of authors. Journalist and historian Malcolm Henry Ellis (189–1969) provides a chronicle of Blue Mountains history from first settlement to the end of WW2 in his colourful and lively style. Blue Mountains geography is described by Professor Griffith Taylor (1880–1963), Antarctic explorer and renowned geologist. Alec Chisholm (1890–1977), writer and ornithologist, surveys the Flora and Fauna. The most interesting essay is the final offering—subtitled: The Blue Mountains Back-to-Front—which are novelist Hugh Atkinson’s (1924–1994) recollections of growing up in the Blue Mountains in the 1930s. As a young boy he had very little regard for explorers Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth: By the time I read about them in school, I had walked and climbed in my mountains for fifty miles around with my father and his friends…It was a surprise to learn that they were blue and brooding, tumbled and terrible, mile on mile of precipice and peak. I could not see them that way at all....They (the explorers) and I fell out altogether when I took up the subject with Tom Grey, a bushman friend of the family’s. Tom had come to the house to tan green kangaroo skins. While he pegged the hides on the feed-room walls and I handed him nails from a tin, I questioned him. ‘Well boy’, he told me, ‘them were back of my time. A pack of no ‘opers who took years and years to get over a range I could cross in a week with a quart pot stuffed on me ‘ead’. Stephen Visions of Poe: Stories & Poems—Photographs by Simon Marsden, $20 (Small tear and moderate edgewear to dust jacket. Good tight clean copy). Tales of Mystery & Imagination—Illustrated by Arthur Rackham, $20 (Edges and endpapers lightly spotted. Otherwise excellent tight clean copy). Not particularly rare but two nicely illustrated editions capturing the nightmarish atmosphere of Poe’s stories and poems. Rackham’s bold black and white drawings are amongst the illustrator’s best while Marsden’s wonderfully grainy photographs are straight out of the Hammer Horror copy book. Songs of the Sun, Love and Death by Jovan Docic, $15 (Excellent copy in ‘Fine’ condition). Like Poe, Serbian poet Jovan Docic formulated his own lonely world of the imagination. Working at the turn of the last century, when Romantic and Realist poetry was coming to a close and Modernism was just beginning, Docic’s unique style and esoteric themes set Serbian poetry on a new course. Eye Rhymes: Sylvia Plath’s Art of the Visual. Edited by Kathleen Connors and Sally Bayley, $15 (Moderate edgewear to dust jacket including small tear on spine. Otherwise excellent tight clean copy).Bringing to light a side of Plath that is scarcely known, Eye Rhymes documents the poet’s formative experiences as a visual artist. Many of the themes and sophisticated visual and colour effects of her later writing find early expression in the paintings and drawings of Plath’s childhood and teenage years. Hunk of Skin by Pablo Picasso, $30 (Covers and edges lightly spotted. Very small crease on front cover. Generally good clean copy). Number Twenty Five in the City Lights rare Pocket Poets Series. Picasso’s delightfully earthy poems vividly recall his boyhood in Malaga. Scott
A Fantastic Trio
Ice by Anna Kavan $23 There are some novels one reads that simply remain with one through the decades as baffling, astonishing, insightful, confused, dreamlike, real…and utterly memorable. I first read Ice as a teenager in the mid-1970s—in one of those not very durable ‘fall-apart-in-your-hands-after-three readings’ Picador paperbacks. The cover however promised something different and unusual! To celebrate its 50th Anniversary, I am delighted to see it reappear as a Penguin Modern Classic, with a suitably striking cover. Imagine a short novel in which a giant ice shelf— created as a consequence of nuclear war—is slowly but inexorably covering the world. Through this devastated landscape travels a narrator—all the characters in the novel are nameless—pursuing a slender, graceful, silver-haired young woman he loves and who is also followed by her husband as well as a mysterious figure known as ‘the warden’ who wishes to control her. Persecution, paranoia, pursuit. All told in a series of short, almost hallucinatory chapters of crystalline prose with—spoiler alert—an unresolved, ambiguous ending. Kavan’s extraordinary life itself may provide clues to her last, most famous work. Born Helen Woods (1901–1968) in France, an only child—lonely and neglected— to wealthy, peripatetic, parents. Her father committed suicide when she was ten. Woods married young (the first of three marriages), she became a writer, artist, and an itinerant traveller—America, China, Burma, Indonesia, New Zealand—all residences for periods of time. Her writing career commenced in the 1930s. In 1939 she changed both her name legally to Anna Kavan—a character featured in two of her novels—and her appearance, from brunette to silver blonde. She also battled lifelong afflictions of depression and heroin addiction. Kavan had used heroin regularly since the 1920s—she called it her literary ‘bazooka’. As a consequence, she spent long periods of her life hospitalised in asylums and institutions. Her book Asylum Piece (1940), a collection of short stories, is a fictionalised recounting of her psychological inner torment and experiences. After numerous reworkings over five years, Ice was published in 1967 to acclaim and championed by science fiction author Brian Aldiss. Kavan, who had lived the last years of her life in London as a virtual recluse, died a year later, perhaps of an overdose. Her final novel remains brilliant and unclassifiable. As Kavan said: ‘It is not meant to be realistic writing. It’s a sort of present day fable...one of those recurring dreams ... which at times become nightmare. This dreamlike atmosphere is the essence of the novel’. The Penguin Book of the Undead: Fifteen Hundred Years of Supernatural Encounters (ed) Scott Bruce ($27, PB) Do the restless dead really walk among us and manifest themselves in spectral sightings? As editor Scott Bruce relates in an informative introduction, the word undead first appears in 10th Century Old English as undeadlic, an adjective to describe the immortality of God. In modern usage it now, ironically, defines dead people who have been reanimated by a supernatural force. The dead returning— and their ambivalent relationship with the living—have been a persistent theme in Western literature for over three millennia. This collection covers a period from the classical world, through Scandinavian sagas, medieval Europe to the Reformation and up to the Renaissance. It opens with depictions of Necromancy practiced both in Ancient Rome and the among the Israelites with Hebrew King Saul summoning the Witch of Endor, to raise the ghost of the prophet Samuel in order to foretell Saul’s fate in a forthcoming battle against the Philistines. Germanic pagan literature of the Dark Ages describes Hellequin’s Horde—a malevolent wandering army of the dead, doomed to march ever onward as a procession of suffering warriors. The development in the 11th Century Catholic Christian concept of Purgatory—a place of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners—saw stories of the returning dead serve an important function to educate the faithful about the afterlife, the cleansing fire and the power of prayer as a release from the Purgatorial flames. In contrast, Protestant theologians asserted that ghosts were not returned dead souls but rather Angels in disguise or, more likely, Devils in human form returned to wreak havoc upon humans. The returning dead in this collection appear in a myriad of forms: phantoms among ruins, bloated corpses rising from their graves to sicken the living, fearsome spectral dogs and crows, or as apparitions appearing to their loved ones in dreams. A Fall of Moondust by Arthur C. Clarke ($10.95, PB) The straining motors were making some headway, but not enough. The falling dust was gaining speed – and, what was worse it was rising outside the walls of the cruiser. Now it had reached the lower edge of the windows; now it was creeping up the panes; and at last it had covered them completely. Harris cut the motors before they tore themselves to pieces. The rising tide blotted out the last glimpse of the crescent Earth. In darkness and in silence, they were sinking into the Moon. In 1960—long before he astounded (and baffled) us with 2001: A Space Odyssey—science fiction maestro Arthur C. Clarke (1917–2008) wrote this adventure tale of the perils awaiting human settlement on the Moon. The space cruiser Selene, pride of the Lunar Tourist Commission, is trapped and sinks into the deadly Sea of Thirst—a vast, almost liquid whirlpool of fine powdered Moondust—one of many such perils on the lunar surface. Rescuers are in a frantic race against time to locate and free the trapped occupants. Don’t laugh. We all know now of course, that those various unmanned Moon probes and later the Apollo astronauts themselves, landed safely on solid lunar ground. Yet, in the early 1960s the theory that there were vast, threatening, quicksand-like regions of Moondust was a real
fear among many eminent astronomers. And, as Clarke warned—in an entertaining 1987 Preface included in this edition—the Moon is certainly not dust free. Watch the fabulous films of the 1971 and 1972 Apollo 15, 16 and 17 Moon Buggies speeding over the surface to see that. It may be a very long time before we completely disprove the existence of a dangerous ‘Sea of Thirst’ on the Moon’s 15,000,000 sq. miles (38.8 million sq. kms) of territory. Stephen Reid
Poet In Spain by Federico Garcia Lorca ($60, HB)
This is a major new volume of translations of Federico Garcia Lorca, presented in a bilingual edition. The fluid & mesmeric lines of these new translations by the award-winning poet Sarah Arvio come closer than ever to the talismanic perfection of the great Garcia Lorca—invoking the ‘wild, innate, local surrealism’ of the Spanish voice, in moonlit poems of love & death set among poplars, rivers, low hills & high sierras. Arvio’s rhythmically rich offering includes, among other essential works, the folkloric yet modernist Gypsy Ballads, the plaintive flamenco Poem of the Cante Jondo, and the turbulent & beautiful Dark Love Sonnets, addressed to Lorca’s homosexual lover—which Lorca was revising at the time of his brutal political murder by Fascist forces in the early days of the Spanish Civil War.
Ancient Greek Lyrics (tr & ed) Willis Barnstone
This volume collects Willis Barnstone’s elegant translations of Greek lyric poetry—including the most complete Sappho in English, newly translated. Also included is a representative sampling of all the significant poets, from Archilochos, in the 7th century BCE, through Pindar & the other great singers of the classical age, down to the Hellenistic, Roman & Byzantine periods. William E. McCulloh’s introduction illuminates the forms & development of the Greek lyric while Barnstone provides a brief biographical & literary sketch for each poet & adds a substantial introduction to Sappho—revised for this edition—complete with notes & sources, a glossary & updated bibliography. ($41.95, PB)
The Sonnets by Walter Benjamin ($36, PB)
As the Third Reich advanced on Paris, Walter Benjamin entrusted his writings to the philosopher George Bataille. These eighty religious, lyric sonnets, produced in Benjamin’s twenties in a sustained response to the suicide of his college friend in protest of the First World War, were among those writings. Carl Skoggard offers this first English translation in a bilingual edition, featuring extensive context and commentary, a foreword by Megan Ewing, and an afterword by Christian Wollin.
Drafts, Fragments, And Poems by Joan Murray
This collection, which includes an introduction by John Ashbery, restores Joan Murray’s striking poetry to its originally intended form. Though John Ashbery hailed Joan Murray as a key influence on his work, Murray’s sole collection, Poems, published after her death at the early age of 24, has been almost entirely unavailable for the better part of half a century. Poems was put together by Grant Code, a close friend of Murray’s mother, and when Murray’s papers, long thought to be lost, reappeared in 2013, it became clear that Code had exercised a heavy editorial hand. This new collection, edited by Farnoosh Fathi from Murray’s original manuscripts, restores Murray’s raw lyricism and visionary lines, while also including a good deal of previously unpublished work, as well as a selection of her exuberant letters. ($25, PB)
New Collected Poems by Marianne Moore
The landmark oeuvre of Marianne Moore, one of the major inventors of poetic modernism, has had no straight path from beginning to end; until now, there has been no good vantage point from which to see the body of her remarkable work as a whole. Throughout her life Moore arranged and rearranged, visited and revisited, a large majority of her existing poetry, always adding new work interspersed among revised poems. This makes sorting out the complex textual history that she left behind difficult if attempting to represent her work as a poet in a way that gives a complete picture. This volume offers an answer to the question of how to represent the work of a poet so skilful and singular, giving a portrait of the range of her voice and of the modernist culture she helped create.. ($54, HB)
Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries & the Scientific Imagination Joyce Appleby, HB
Lion’s Honey: The Myth of Samson David Grossman, HB
Made In Detroit: Poems Marge Piercy, HB
The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen, HB
Selected Poems John Updike, HB
The Vegetarian Han Kang, HB
Women Crime Writers: Four Suspense Novels Of The 1950s: Mischief/The Blunderer/Beast in View/Fool’s Gold, HB
Listening to a Continent Sing: Birdsong by Bicycle from the Atlantic to the Pacific Donald E. Kroodsma, HB
Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet,and How We Live Marlene Zuk, HB
Lingo: Around Europe in Sixty Languages Gaston Dorren, HB
How to Choose a Leader: Machiavelli’s Advice to Citizens Maurizio Viroli, HB
The Good Spy: The Life & Death of Robert Ames Kai Bird, HB
The Most Good You Can Do Peter Singer, HB
The Moral Culture of the Scottish Enlightenment: 1690–1805 Thomas Ahnert, HB
Living with a Wild God: A Nonbeliever’s Search for the Truth about Everything Barbara Ehrenreich, HB
Dissensus: On Politics & Aesthetics Jacques Rancière, HB
Is This the Real Life: The Untold Story of Queen Mark Blake, HB
Hans Richter: Encounters, HB
Culture in Practice: Collected Essays Marshall Sahlin, PB
Constructed Situations: A New History of the Situationist International Frances Stracey, PB
The Arts The Museum of Lost Art by Noah Charney
Noah Charney, author of The Art of Forgery, tells a dynamic narrative that spans the centuries and the continents of artworks stolen, looted, or destroyed in war, accidentally demolished or discarded, lost at sea or in natural disasters, or attacked by iconoclasts or vandals; works that were intentionally temporal, knowingly destroyed by the artists themselves or their patrons, covered over with paint or plaster, or recycled for their materials. ($39.95, HB)
Gurlitt Status Report ($55, HB)
When more than one thousand lost artworks by artists such as Paul Cezanne, Emil Nolde, Claude Monet, and Wassily Kandinsky turned up in the collection of Cornelius Gurlitt in 2012, the accusation that the collection was the product of wartime looting hovered, unspoken, in the air. This volume presents the artworks found at Gurlitt’s estate in their historical context, investigating the provenance of the works, which in some cases had been vilified by the National Socialist regime as ‘degenerate art’, and probing which works were looted, which purchased legally, and which acquired in forced sales. Additionally, contributors to the volume explore the biographies of Jewish collectors & artists who were the victims of art theft & the Holocaust, and retrace how stolen works were returned to museums & private collections after 1945. Sally Mann: A Thousand Crossings ($75, HB) For more than 40 years, Sally Mann has made experimental, elegiac & hauntingly beautiful photographs that explore the overarching themes of existence: memory, desire, death, the bonds of family, and nature’s magisterial indifference to human endeavour. Uniting this broad body of work is that it is all ‘bred of a place’, the American South. A native of Lexington, Virginia, Mann uses her deep love of her homeland & her knowledge of its historically fraught heritage to ask powerful, provocative questions—about history, identity, race& religion—that reverberate across geographic & national boundaries. Organized into five sections—Family, The Land, Last Measure, Abide with Me, and What Remains—and including many works not previously exhibited or published, his volume is a sweeping overview of Mann’s artistic achievements.
The Anatomy of Treehouses: New buildings from an old traditions
Treehouse can be many things: from simple structures based on centuries-old woodworking skills to modern geodesic forms strung high up above the treeline. There are treehouses with wood-burning stoves, some with copper baths and some with elevated linking walkways obscured by the canopy of trees above. Then there are the handmade simple structures using recycled materials & the branches of the trees for both internal & external support & design. There are also free-standing structures on stilts inspired by the physical tree but not attached in any way. Jane Field-Lewis’ text covers the plan, structure, materials & decoration, colour palette & texture, and style notes to bring to life the personal story behind each treehouse featured in the book. ($50, HB)
Music by the Numbers: From Pythagoras to Schoenberg by Eli Maor ($50, HB)
Music is filled with mathematical elements, the works of Bach are often said to possess a math-like logic, and Arnold Schoenberg, Iannis Xenakis & Karlheinz Stockhausen wrote music explicitly based on mathematical principles. Weaving the historical with his personal reflections as a mathematician & lover of classical music Eli Maor tells a fascinating story of composers, scientists, inventors & eccentrics who played a role in the ageold relationship between music, mathematics, and the sciences, especially physics & astronomy. There’s the problem of the vibrating string, which pitted some of the greatest mathematicians of the 18th century against each other in a debate that lasted more than 50 years and that eventually led to the development of post-calculus mathematics, a comparison between meter in music & metric in geometry, complete with examples of rhythmic patterns from Bach to Stravinsky, and an exploration of the nearly simultaneous emergence of Einstein’s theory of relativity & Schoenberg’s 12-tone system.
Chair: 500 Designs That Matter ($35, HB)
Throughout history, the chair has presented designers the world over with infinite opportunities to experiment with new methods & materials within the set parameters of an object that is primarily there to serve a practical purpose. This volume celebrates the humble chair from early examples to today’s cutting-edge creations. Sit back and take a journey through the creative imaginations of hundreds of renowned designers.
Albert Namatjira ($39.95, HB)
A bruised ridge of hills. A scrub-mottled plain. Ghost gums framing a wash of sky ... Pioneering Aboriginal watercolourist Albert Namatjira’s landscape paintings are synonymous with our perception of the Australian outback. But these luminous landscapes also expressed Namatjira’s deep connection with the Western Arrarnta Country for which he was a traditional custodian. This is the first publication of Namatjira’s work since the copyright was returned to his descendants, and celebrates the legacy of this important artist through a selection of his evocative watercolours from the NGA’s world-renowned collection.
Blue: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau ($80, HB)
Blue was scorned by the ancient Greeks scorned as ugly & barbaric, but most Americans & Europeans now cite it as their favourite colour. Michel Pastoureau investigates how the everchanging role of blue in society has been reflected in manuscripts, stained glass, heraldry, clothing, paintings & popular culture. Beginning with the almost total absence of blue from ancient Western art & language, the story moves to medieval Europe when people began to associate blue with the Virgin Mary, and it became a powerful element in church decoration & symbolism. Blue gained new favour as a royal colour in the 12th century & became a formidable political & military force during the French Revolution. New shades were created & blue became the colour of romance & the blues & blue jeans in the modern era—finally, becoming the universal & unifying colour of the Earth as seen from space.
Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India ($118, HB)
This beautiful book presents nearly 4 centuries of artistic creation from one of the largest former princely states in India, the kingdom of Marwar-Jodhpur in southwestern Rajasthanâ, tracing the evolution of royal identity from the 17th century to the establishment of independence after 1947, presenting the area as a microcosm of India’s extraordinarily vibrant culture. The essays & 380 colour illustrations offer a new perspective on the acquisition & commissioning of objects through patronage, diplomacy, matrimonial alliances, trade & conquest—shedding fresh light on the influential role of women at the royal courts & examining monarchies as lenses onto cross-cultural relationships, the unrecognized roles of groups marginalized in earlier accounts, cultural heterodoxy, and large-scale multicultural exchange.
Grant Wood: American Gothic & Other Fables
Working primarily in the traditional genres of portraiture and landscape, Wood infused his paintings with a palpable tension that is grounded in the profound epistemological and social upheavals of his time. With 180 colour and 30 b&w illustrations, this volume includes several works published here for the first time, as well as new photography of other paintings. The essays contextualize Wood’s work within a much larger art-historical framework with renowned scholars addressing topics such as Wood’s literary influences, the role of gender identity in his paintings, and the parallels between his work & the contemporaneous European movements of Surrealism, Neue Sachlichkeit, Precisionism, Art Deco design, and the Arts & Crafts movement. ($110, HB)
Olaf Hajek—Precious ($95, HB)
Olaf Hajek is one of the world’s most successful illustrators. His work has appeared in newspapers including the New York Times and The Guardian. He is a magician of colour and a superb storyteller. Over the past few years, he has also built a reputation as visual artist with paintings in acrylic on wood or cardboard. The spellbinding charm of his drawings and textured paintings derives from their folkloristic naivete and fresh spontaneity. Working in the tradition charted by André Breton’s essay on Le surrealisme et la peinture, Hajek creates fantasy worlds, drawing on a searching study of the human subconscious as revealed in dreams. With their multilayered compositions and virtually endless wealth of detail, his pictures invite us on a voyage into the unknown.
Bellotto and Canaletto: Wonder and Light by Bosena Anna Kowalczyk ($95, HB)
Canaletto, famous for his precisely painted views of Venice, taught his nephew & assistant, Bellotto, how to use a camera obscura in his painting, and both painters share a meticulous style. Bellotto picked up his uncle’s teachings so well that he sometimes signed his work as ‘Bellotto de Canaletto’ and traded on the illustrious name, particularly after he settled in northern Europe in 1747. But in the course of Bellotto’s travels (from Venice to Rome to Dresden, Vienna, Munich and finally Warsaw, where he remained until his death) the artist developed his own methods and interests. Favouring a cooler palette than his uncle, and interspersing his precise architectural vedute with modern landscapes and portraiture, Bellotto distinguished himself from his uncle. The recent rediscovery of the inventory of goods from Bellotto’s house in Dresden—included in this volume—finally offers a key to understanding his culture and personality.
DVDs With Scott Donovan
what we're reading
The Final Year ($32.95, Region 2)
Directed by award-winning documentary maker, Greg Barker, this is a unique insiders’ account of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy team (assembled during his first presidential campaign—Secretary of State, John Kerry, UN Ambassador, Samantha Power, DNSA & presidential confidant Ben Rhodes & NSA Susan Rice) during their last year in office. Featuring unprecedented access inside the White House & State Department, this documentary offers an uncompromising view of the inner workings of the Obama Administration as they prepare to leave power. Special Features a Q&A with Ambassador Samantha Power. A fascinating reminder of a time when American politics had a semblance of gravitas, and sacking by tweet was reserved for reality TV. Silent Witness: Series 21 ($45, Region 2) In the latest season of the award-winning Silent Witness our committed team of forensic pathologists & scientists affected from the fallout after Mexico, while there’s a cuckoo in the nest. A series of tragic events are linked to a cyber hacking. A US Diplomat is shot dead in Central London. Care home abuse is uncovered after a road traffic accident and festive celebrations are interrupted by the aftermath of a shooting spree at a family house. Vera: Series 8 ($39.95, Region 2) Based on the Vera Stanhope novels by Ann Cleeves and set against the atmospheric panoramas of the Northumberland countryside, season 8 of his award-winning series sees the caustic and courageous Vera and her team drawn into four new compelling cases—including the body of a police officer discovered in an abattoir incinerator, a mysterious car crash, a suburban back-garden murder and the suspicious death of a teenage boy. Curb Your Enthusiasm: Series 9 ($34.95) Another award-winning series, this time a barrel of laughs from Larry David, the man behind the hugely popular Seinfeld, plays a version of himself—a man who has it all but finds that his day-to-day life can, and generally does, turn into a sequence of misfortunes. In season 9 Larry writes a musical comedy—Fatwa—based on Salman Rushdie’s run-in with the Ayatolla. Not surprisingly David becomes a recipient of a fatwa for his disrespect, and let the games begin (with a guest spot from Rushdie himself). I’ve avoided Curb your Enthusiasm for 9 seasons—a misplaced attempt at moderation, how many boxed sets can youmanage in a lifetime before you don’t have a life? But, when Scott handed me season 9, I was finally tempted—and am now watching the previous 8 seasons. David’s curmudgeonly misanthropy is very funny, the supporting cast are all fantastic, and its jaunty theme—utterly addictive. (ed)
Andrew: I admit to ignoring The Sparsholt Affair by Andrew Hollinghurst when it was published last year. The novel is set (initially) in Oxford during the forties, and I had a kneejerk response that it was going to be all a bit too too much. Too many terribly effete, terribly intellectual, terribly homosexual Oxbridge types, in a too dry comedy of class and manners. What I failed to remember is what a superlative prose stylist Hollinghurst is. Sentence after sentence impeccably phrased; and so staggeringly well-observed that for the first time since my undergraduate days I felt the constant urge to circle or highlight phrases for their gob smacking aptness. The writing has the almost giddy effect of wearing prescription glasses for the first time, it is so consummate in its descriptions. At its heart it is many things, but for me becomes almost an elegy for the lost relationship between a father and his son; a book of pathos rather than of social satire. A couple of the central characters are painters, and Hollinghurst’s descriptions of their talent and its role in their lives, is also brilliant.
John: In a continuation of the holiday reading theme from last month, I have just finished The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter. Two sisters’—both lawyers— lives have taken very different paths after their mother was murdered and they were both brutally assaulted. One of the sisters has moved far away emotionally and geographically while the other has stayed in their home town and close to her defence attorney father, Rusty. He will take on the cases that the other lawyers in town won’t touch, and the town doesn’t understand why Rusty would defend a shooter who is so obviously guilty. He is attacked and hospitalised which brings the sisters together to defend the shooter and their family. Bloody and a bit graphic in parts, but a rollicking read with enough twists to keep it interesting.
Lubitsch in Berlin (Region 2, $59.95)
Before he arrived in Hollywood to leave his indelible & inimitable mark on timeless comedies like Trouble in Paradise & The Shop Around the Corner, Ernst Lubitsch created an expansive body of work in Germany that proved to be as varied in its tone as it was sophisticated in its measure of man & woman. This box set collects six recently restored works from the silent phase of Lubitsch’s career, and casts new light on the director both as a fully-formed comic master, and as a virtuoso of cinematographic technique. These ‘fairytales, melodramas & sex comedies’—Ich möchte kein Mann sein; Die Puppe; Die Austernprinzessin; Sumurun; Anna Boleyn; Die Bergkatze—were made between 1918 to 1921. The 6 features are across five discs, and a 6th disc contains Robert Fischer’s 2006 feature-length documentary Ernst Lubitsch in Berlin: From Schönhauser Allee to Hollywood. The films are presented in their original aspect ratio, with the original German intertitles and newly translated, optional English subtitles.
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Bestsellers—Non-Fiction 1. 12 Rules for Life
Jordan B Peterson
2. River Dreams: The People & Landscape of the
3. The Court Reporter
4. Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia
5. Working with Developmental Anxieties in Couple
& Family Psychotherapy
6. Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
7. Korea: Where the American Century Began
8. Randomistas: How Radical Researchers Changed
9. Rebel with a Cause 10. Rather His Own Man
Jacqui Lambie Geoffrey Robertson
Bestsellers—Fiction 1. The Shepherd’s Hut
2. In the Garden of the Fugitives
3. The Whole Bright Year
4. The Only Story
5. The Unimportance of Being Ernest
6. Sign 7. Manhattan Beach 8. Home Fire 9. The Tattooist of Auschwitz 10. The Life to Come
Ernest MacIntyre Colin Dray Jennifer Egan Kamila Shamsie Heather Morris Michelle de Kretser
and another thing..... Writers’ Festival is early this year, and whilst the harbour is a beautiful setting for the festivities, I’m happy to see it lobbing in our neck of the woods—perhaps I’ll be able to make a couple of evening events after holding down the fort at 49 Glebe Point Rd— as it’s just a leisurely stroll across Victoria Park. I read Eileen Myles’ autobiographical novel Chelsea Girls last year—a rollicking tale of her 1960s Catholic upbringing with an alcoholic father, her volatile adolescence, her unabashed lesbianity, and her riotous pursuit of survival as a poet in 1970s and 80s New York—my era writ large, and her recent book Afterglow—a memoir that starts with her grief at losing her dog companion, Rosie, after 16 years and becomes an investigation into the true nature of the bond between pet and pet-owner—is on the to-read list. Myles is in three sessions at the festival: one with Annamarie Jagose to discuss their writing which they describe as an attempt ‘to dig a hole in eternity’ through language; at a Carriageworks spectacular with Sally Rugg talking to Yrsa Daley-Ward, Masha Gessen, Eileen Myles, Carmen Maria Machado, Pajtim Statovci and Christos Tsiolkas as they share the texts that shaped them—from the overtly queer to between-the-lines classics; and finally an event she apparently pitched for the festival herself—a lecture about writing, gender and expectation—‘a discussion of ‘the most dumb, predictable and offensive ways I’ve been invited to write for journals in order to attract publicity to my work’. Unlike a lot of the author headshots that have been glamour lit & photoshopped, Myles looks magnificently craggy on the SWF website—if Robert Plant can flaunt his wrinkles, why not a punk poet novelist. Meanwhile, this month the crime pages have a new Donna Leon, a new Indridason, and a new Philip Kerr—so they’ll keep me busy until the festival opens. Meanwhile, I’ve just started the third in Meg and Tom Keneally’s Monsarat and Mrs Mulrooney convict era crime series—The Power Game (in the March online Gleaner). Gentleman ex-con Hugh Llewellyn Monsarat and his treasured tea-making side-kick Hannah Mulrooney have been sent to a small prison island off Tasmania to investigate a murder, and thus the claustrophobia and powerlessness of incarceration in a colony at the end of the world is increased ten-fold. I really like the Monsarats. See you at the festival. Viki
For more April new releases go to:
Main shop—49 Glebe Pt Rd; Ph: (02) 9660 2333, Fax: (02) 9660 3597. Open 7 days, 9am to 9m Thur–Sat; 9am to 7pm Sun–Wed Sydney Theatre Shop—22 Hickson Rd Walsh Bay; Open two hours before and until after every performance Blackheath—Shop 1 Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd; Ph: (02) 4787 6340. Open 7 days, 9am to 6pm Blackheath Oldbooks—Collier’s Arcade, Govetts Leap Rd: Open 7 days 10am to 5pm Dulwich Hill—536 Marrickville Rd Dulwich Hill; Ph: (02) 9560 0660. Open 7 days, Tue–Sat 9am to 7pm; Sun–Mon 9 to 5 www.gleebooks.com.au. Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org