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Category Archives: Reviews


‘Fool the Axis, Use Prophylaxis’: World War II’s anti-venereal disease posters

Protect Yourself: Venereal Disease Posters of World War II gives a fascinating insight into one of the ways the United States ‘managed’ servicemen’s sexuality: through poster art. Read more »

A joyous deception: Ceridwen Dovey’s Only the Animals

In visual art, the compulsion to surrender to the belief you are falling either into or out of an image is known as trompe-l’oeil, French for ‘deceive the eye’. Ceridwen Dovey’s story collection Only the Animals encourages a comparable state of joyous deception. Read more »

Review: The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew

This is a coming out story but one that desperately needed to be told on two counts – one because it’s an Australian YA coming-out story, and two because it’s a coming-out story about a young man questioning his homosexuality alongside his Jewish faith. Read more »

‘Weather is never just weather’: Sophie Cunningham’s Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy

We’ve had national disasters in the forty years since Cyclone Tracy, but Tracy’s iconic status in the national consciousness endures. Read more »

May’s KYD First Book Club: Notes on Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil

When it was announced that Maxine Beneba Clarke was the winner of the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript at last year’s Emerging Writers’ Festival, jubilation hung in the air. Her face glowed with relief; public recognition had obviously been a long time coming for the Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Read more »

No new thing under the sun: Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty

Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty introduces its protagonist, aging journalist Jep Gambardella, right in the thick of things. After an airy, operatic overture Sorrentino immerses the audience in a busy rooftop party in Rome. A four-to-the-floor beat takes over the soundtrack, setting the rhythm for a series … Read more »

Of seadogs and fisherwomen: Sarah Drummond’s Salt Story

I have been fangirling at A WineDark Sea for a while now—it is, hands down, the best blog I have had the luck to read. Its author, Sarah Drummond, was a commercial fisherwoman when I first happened on it, and she blogged about the south-west of Western … Read more »

‘The concentrated stench of so much life': Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

Best known for her highly lauded short story collections and novel The Namesake, Jhumpa Lahiri has again emerged with a skilful examination of the highly distinct religious, social and ideological differences between India and America in her latest work The Lowland. The Lowland begins in South Kolkata … Read more »

Putting on the Ritz: Edward Steichen & Art Deco Fashion at NGV

In the 1920s, the corseted curves of the Belle Époque silhouette gave way for a new image of femininity. The flapper girl, with her bobbed hair and boyish figure and shimmery, sequined dresses, became an icon of the Art Deco period. These girls were bold, daring and scintillating. … Read more »

The slaughter to come: reading and watching The Counselor

Early in Cormac McCarthy’s screenplay The Counselor, a diamond dealer reflects on an issue that directly relates to Ridley Scott’s film version of the same screenplay. ‘The crown and the pavilion may be well cut each in itself and yet stand alien to one another,’ he says … Read more »