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Author Archives: Carody Culver


Charmless lives: Helen Garner’s This House of Grief and Erik Jensen’s Acute Misfortune

How do narrative non-fiction writers who dare to dissect the darker aspects of humanity keep their readers engaged, rather than simply horrified? Read more »

‘As if the top of my head were taken off’: The digital possibilities of poetry

‘When Emily Dickinson says, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry,” I can’t help but think she would be stupefied by the possibilities of digital literature.’ Read more »

Man out of time: Nick Earls and his analogue people

Some readers persist in the belief that the sort of light-hearted, character-driven comedy produced by authors like Nick Earls is intrinsically less worthy than serious literary fiction, but it’s as much a challenge to make your audience laugh as it is to make them gasp at the elegance of your syntax or the gravitas of your ideas. Read more »

Everybody hurts: Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams

There’s a difference between identifying someone’s malady – or lack thereof – and understanding their experience of it. To what extent can we truly imagine being in another person’s skin? Read more »

Jeanette Winterson’s sacred and secular space

It seems that people either love her or hate Jeanette Winterson, and sometimes that has less to do with her writing and more to do with the occasional controversies she’s regularly sparked since 1985. Read more »

A published afterlife: Marina Keegan’s The Opposite of Loneliness

Marina Keegan looked set for literary stardom. For an aspiring writer, her credentials were so perfect they could have been lifted straight from fiction. Read more »

Learning from semi-charmed lives

When famous public figures take a step further and use their personal experience as a literary vehicle for exploring wider social issues, I can happily check my celebrity memoir prejudice at the bookshop door. Read more »

July’s First Book Club: Notes on Jock Serong’s Quota

Ahead of this Wednesday’s First Book Club, Carody Culver reviews Jock Serong’s gripping legal drama Quota. Read more »

Searching for Mr Salinger

Joanna Rakoff’s book is ‘the truth, told as best [she] could’, of her year as an assistant at one of New York’s oldest literary agencies, a job for which many an Arts graduate would sell a kidney. Read more »

Giving voice to a silent profession

The role editors play in the process of ushering new writing into the world is both vitally important and strangely overlooked. Read more »