The Taciturn Man: and other Tales of Australia (World Voices Book 7)

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Apollo 11 was the movie premiere of moon landings, with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Neil was a bit of a mystic, but also a taciturn guy from what I can tell. He really saw the moon as looking like the American high desert. He wasn't someone who dealt in metaphors. I am naturally taciturn , and became a silent and attentive listener.

The dead keep their secrets, and in a while we shall be as wise as they - and as taciturn. One's appearance bespeaks dignity corresponding to the depth of his character. One's concentrated effort, serene attitude, taciturn air, courteous disposition, thoroughly polite bearing, gritted teeth with a piercing look - each of these reveals dignity. Such outward appearance, in short, comes from constant attentiveness and seriousness. He has dabbled in politics, and in retirement now spends his time writing, surfing andmucking about with friends on the state's South coast.

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Geoffrey Gibson, Taciturn , fever, intermittent: phus, iArn. Taciturn , after fright: IIgn. Taciturn , in hySteria : IH dr. Taciturn , with Satiety of li e : IPlat. Taciturn , in Constantine Hering, Can you use this rhyme to figure out the characteristics of a taciturn person? Taciturn Tony said never a word And quietly went out to watch for some birds. Along came an eagle, a raven, a finch. When there is silence, Birdwatching's a cinch! Click here to see more Tap here to see more Tap here to see more. Accessibility Links Skip to content. Subscribe Log in.

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Start your free trial. Want to read more? Subscribe now and get unlimited digital access on web and our smartphone and tablet apps, free for your first month. You are currently logged out. I agree with the minister. Taxpayer dollars should be spent in the national interest. So, either the change is semantic or what we are really talking about is a pub test.

The outcome would depend on the drinking establishment in question. In my local in the inner north of Melbourne, for example, being a historian of the Soviet Union regularly passes muster. I would happily present my proposals there. Why not instead shut down the ARC? Distribute the money back to the Universities to be used for Humanities research and teaching.

Then, Australian academics would no longer have to spend a quarter of their year on impossibly complex applications and their peer review. The best scholars would no longer be shut away in an ivory tower to write more proposals, never to see a student again. Careers would again be dependent on excellence in scholarship and teaching rather than in grant success. Professors would share the teaching with lecturers. Junior academics, no longer groaning under impossible teaching loads and insecure employment, could also write smart books.

Now that would truly be in the national interest. In the ongoing furore around revelations of ministerial research grant vetoes, two things are in danger of slipping from view. One is that the vetoes always and only target the humanities. The other is that the government is now gaslighting the public about what went on. In the ludicrous debate about pub tests, no one holds up non-humanities titles for scrutiny. I do not know what any of these mean. But that is the point. I need experts to tell me what they are about, why they should be funded, and what they could do for knowledge, humanity, or the planet.

If they got funded by the ARC, I trust that they are worthy because I know they were scrutinised by around ten people at the university level before even being submitted, and that they were then reviewed by two to six anonymous peers before passing an analysis by a College of internationally recognised scholars.

The government needs to explain its methodology and objective in applying one test for some and a second for others. His predecessor, however, gave no evidence of feeling pressure from the public and vetoed titles that had not been seen by the public. After such a flagrant dismissal of expert advice, it is the ministry that needs to regain our confidence. Yet again our sector is a victim of its low fiscal stakes and high symbolic value. The culture warriors make a virtue-signalling racket, knowing that the lives and careers of people in culture can be messed with casually and at no real financial or political cost.

No real political costs: humanities and the arts have for decades been lost to the conservatives. But real institutional cost: playing to the peanut gallery to subvert settled scholarly and bureaucratic processes never perfect, but better than decision by populist whim is the current fad, with everything reduced to tactical political advantage. Stretton spent thirty years arguing thoughtfully against neoliberalism, a critique he developed at the beginnings of the ideological lurch to the right in the s. Politics and society are now finally catching up with him.

Stretton was a prodigy and a genius who lived modestly and remained humble. He was honoured and admired in his lifetime, indeed recognised very early as an extraordinary intellect with moral authority. He was appointed a professor at the University of Adelaide before the age of thirty, and resigned both title and salary for a readership at the age of forty-four to enable more intensive writing. He wrote about cities, housing, economics, the social sciences, and the practice and uses of history. Historians do. He was, of course, discerning the dominant political dogma of the next thirty years, a creed now discredited, its vulgarities exposed.

Stretton foresaw it all and tried to warn us. It is worth reading this book just to be reminded that a calm, devastating analysis of neoliberalism was available from its beginnings. He especially lamented the reconstruction of the curriculum of higher education, a corporatisation of universities that has only escalated since he wrote. But Stretton was an optimist and a practical reformer, and so he turned, as ever, to solutions, holding onto his faith that one should treat intellectual adversaries with respect and that good argument can change minds.

Stretton himself wrote a huge revised textbook of economics Economics: A new introduction, and a manifesto on how to make Australia a fairer society Australia Fair, He was a champion of the smaller, planned cities of Adelaide and Canberra and was one of the first Australian writers to sympathetically analyse the suburb, taking a keen interest in the domestic lives of its inhabitants.

The Ultimate Territory Adventure in Style Rekindle the wonder of travel with Inspiring Journeys and delight in the benefits of our boutique experiences. In a small group of no more than 20 travellers, explore the heartland of Australia and experience its most sacred landscapes. Start exploring at inspiringjourneys. For full details visit inspiringjourneys. I met Hugh at his beloved North Adelaide home in and we went for a walk to a Tom the Cheap supermarket.

Leonard Stretton was a Victorian County Court judge who conducted five Royal Commissions, including one into the causes of the Black Friday fires. Stretton senior, like his son Hugh, had strong principles, moral vision, and political audacity. Both were humanists committed to the complexity of life and to understanding and improving it through open-minded empirical inquiry into lived experience.

Strange had dedicated most of her career to studying the ability of the state to tame the power of international finance. The nexus between state and firm had empowered the United States for more than a century; Washington reconstructed the world order after , resurrecting its former enemies, Tokyo and Berlin, to be behemoths once again. Strange was right. No Job. The vicious web of interdependence meant that Europe, at first protesting immunity from the subprime chaos, could not escape the crisis of contagion.

Banks recognised, belatedly, that they were all operating under the same assumptions, built on a hugely flawed model. This was not for want of warnings. Between and the Bush White House called on Congress to reform Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae government-sponsored enterprises on twenty-eight occasions. Democrats and the GOP shared the blame for their inactivity. But it was President George W. Europe sniffed condescendingly with a touch of Schadenfreude. This was a North Atlantic crisis, the product of Anglo-Saxon financial stupidity.

Swiss banks like UBS had admitted subprime exposure earlier in the year. In December the Greek government entered the confessional, forced to admit its published debt and deficit figures were pure bunkum that had been bastardised for a decade. Austerity was the cost of bailing out the Westphalian capitalists. Varoufakis engaged in a last-ditch game of chicken with the ECB. Did it work? It raised hackles and the alarm in Brussels and Frankfurt, but Merkel did not blink. The crash swept Obama to power, but the new president did not expend his considerable political capital.

Meanwhile, the GOP sought to restore the pre system, or at least obstructed its reform, watering down the Dodd—Frank Act, which was designed to separate commercial and retail banking. Obama had been elected by Main Street to discipline Wall Street, but the deep irony was that while the ninjas lost their homes, the bankers lived to lend another day.

The similarities were obvious: Sanders and Trump were singing the same song in different keys. However, the weapon the Democrats chose to wield against Trump — Hillary Clinton — was the polite face of brutal globalisation. But this thin veneer of victory masked the separation of the Obama—Clinton Democrats from their political base. Seven million who had voted for Obama quietly switched to Trump. Obama and Clinton may have spoken endlessly about workingclass voters; it was unlikely they actually knew any. How the United Kingdom and EU confronted the subprime and Greek crises, respectively, stood in stark contrast.

Bush, Obama, and Bernanke recognised that the lessons of and were to ensure massive amounts of stimuli in the form of liquidity for the banks to prevent a meltdown of the financial system. But in the Eurozone, austerity drained the. PIIGS, bludgeoned growth, and sent unemployment into the stratosphere.

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Tooze shows that the great neoliberal experiment, co-authored by Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and consolidated by Bill Clinton, was rescued from almost certain collapse by unlikely bedfellows, comprising Bush, Merkel, Obama, and Gordon Brown. Despite his manifest illiberalism, Trump turned out to be no different; within weeks of the election, he had nominated half a dozen Goldman Sachs alumni to his administration. Want all the latest news from ABR? With trademark wit and lucidity, Lucashenko connects the lives of her sharply drawn characters to a dysfunctional national story.

Ghachar Ghochar Faber, is a disturbing novella by Vivek Shanbhag translated by Srinath Perur about an Indian family that becomes wealthy — a gem. The Recovering is a deeply affecting and complex blend of biography and autobiography, drawing intimate and affirming portraits of what it might mean to come back from addiction and illness.

It is full of images of tragic beauty. Balanced, focused, elegantly executed, this book shows Day at her best. The intimate shaping of the language and the stunning reach into the imagination in a series of historical dramatic monologues makes this book shine. Hip, suave, pert, pinpointing, and penetrating, these poems engage with locale in most enterprising ways. I happily indulged in the old poems, but I gorged on the new. Filled with a plethora of living things — people, insects, animals, birds — these poems are vivid, insightful, and gorgeously poetic.

I am a long-time fan of the English novelist Simon Mawer. All that you would want from a novel. Given current trends in publishing, this is a timely and welcome book. Briseis is a prize for invading Greek men. Her story becomes a meditation on the fate of women in war. Barker evokes a world entire from a few lines in Homer and invites us to rethink the original. David Malouf embraces this approach in his last novel, Ransom Penguin, This broadly chronological reflection on language and experience gives us the familiar observer, watching endlessly for meaning, expressing his findings through direct and sparse lines.

Newly recovered photos from James Burke, destined originally for Life, see a Greek idyll marred by jealousy, frustrated ambition, and the world outside. Lovingly researched, carefully constructed, compelling. Like the best historians, Hooper recognises her complex responsibilities to past and present, to her historical and contemporary readers. The Arsonist is a brilliant and moving book about ecological devastation and social desolation.

The most surprising and engaging academic book I read this year was published in December Jason R.

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This example of his exquisitely sculpted work demonstrates. Two other novels stood out. Behind the humorously deadpan millennial voice lies astute commentary on class, sexual violence, and other pressing issues. Murmur, which is partly inspired by the life of Alan Turing, ambitiously and brilliantly illustrates the relationships between fiction, consciousness, and artificial intelligence. A collection of found poems based on the correspondence of World War I soldiers, Warlines is a masterwork of documentary poetry that is both profoundly moving and intensely crafted.

They are quick, spare, alert, and companionable. In this, Nell Dunn talks honestly with nine friends — writers, artists, factory workers — about work and sex and love and freedom. Black Inc. Poetry has been publishing an impressive, and impressively various, sequence of guest-edited journals and anthologies www. UQP has made a beautiful book to house poems of limpid grace and wise insight. Is it a reflection of the times that the books that most impressed me this year are non-fiction? Understandably there has been an outpouring of books about US politics. It should be compulsory reading for every federal politician.

Winton tells the story in the first-person voice of fifteen-year-old Jaxie, who is on the run as a suspect for the murder of his abusive father. A powerful, haunting story. These final stories are elegantly crafted, finely observed, and inventive as always. This has been a year of summations and farewells in Australian poetry.

As you might predict, its pages contain some of the best poetry written in this country. Her poems are constructed from finely described details, most of which are tapped into place with simile or metaphor. The most memorable of them involve a rejection of cruelty, whether to humans or animals. My highlights of the year are all first books.


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  7. Shaun Walker is a reporter with a history degree. It invents a new genre: the political history of radical art. This achievement is all the more impressive, as the author is among the growing number of talented Australian scholars forced to make a living at the margins of an under-funded university sector. As an undergrad — full of pith and vinegar — I dismissed Australian literature as tedious, irrelevant tosh.

    A novel of ice, with a heart of fire. Jen Jewel Brown has done an excel-. The emphatic, committed voice of this remarkable Goernpil woman, feminist, poet, photographer, and activist shines through. It is fiction to devour over the summer break. Hooper creates emotion from fact and recounts the Black Saturday fires with empathy and intelligence. Rachael Brown achieved an Australian first: turning a number one true-crime podcast into a Walkley-shortlisted book.

    Trace: Who killed Maria James? Scribe is a gripping read. And finally, imagine if Harry Potter had been written with a female protagonist? Jessica Townsend has done just that with Wundersmith: The calling of Morrigan Crow Hachette The series is a reading gateway drug for the next generation.

    It has been a year dominated by history and nonfiction, even more than is usually the case for me. I enjoyed several, but two stood out. In a highly readable and superbly researched book, Twomey shows how Australian POWs in Japan moved from being an embarrassment on the periphery of Australian consciousness to finding a place near the centre of our collective memory of war.

    I lost myself in the branches of this big book, in the ideas, the imagery, the eloquence, and the melodrama. I already think of it as a Moby-Dick of trees and, like Moby-Dick, it redeploys a bristling field of natural science for the purposes of an emotionally charged human narrative.

    Not to mention an environmentally urgent one. Like Powers, Beveridge has a gift for finding ways to match the natural world in words. The way Gomeroi words are always bursting through the English in Blakwork feels more like the future than the past. Political idealism has rotted into lethal small-scale totalitarianism, coldly observed by a funny, sensible, and relentlessly literary eighteen-year-old girl who is sexually menaced by a senior paramilitary figure.

    Milkman is fabulously digressive, a brilliant survey of cruelty and coercion. It documents both the brutal severance and the unexpected reconfiguration of community, families, and ideals. And I enjoyed the late meditations of two great writers: Ursula K. Throughout Tracy K. Coetzee Black Inc. With the best book I read in , I was catching up. It covers events from and , during which the London-based journalist was mostly working as a television producer for Russian entertainment television.

    What a strong year for poetry. Yuval Noah Harari certainly does. His own epic imagination of the human journey through evolutionary time ended on a note of high alarm in Homo Deus Vintage, Along the way, Jacoby develops a stimulating and wide-ranging thesis about why certain forms of unreason should have found such rich soil in the secular democratic republic of the United States. I would also recommend the latest novel by Richard Powers. The Overstory, written with characteristic intelligence, is a rich and satisfying novel that addresses the environmental catastrophe we are creating and challenges us to rethink our place within the natural world.

    McGuinness takes that watershed year and interrogates the tripes out of it, her lively intellect playing across the news calendar like a beam of light. It also reflects the way we all live, with one eye on current affairs and the other on our own intimate and daily experience. That it was composed by SMS and WhatsApp messages makes the book, and its author, all the more impressive.

    Recent policy changes in Canberra suggest the book has even had its intended impact. In the long term, it should also find a lasting place in the canon of prison literature. Novelist Tayari Jones probes the effects of the carceral state on intimate relationships in An American Marriage Vintage.

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    There was no competition. It is a handsome volume and a substantial one whose contents are by turns grotesque, elegant, abstruse, innovative in form, conservative in spirit, and often achingly felt. Murray is a difficult poet in many respects, but this grand summa demands awe and admiration. No Friend but the Mountains by Behrouz Boochani may or may not be the best book of the year; it is certainly the most important.

    Peter Mares has been pricking Australian consciences in his informed, dispassionate way for decades. Winton is one of the few writers I know who could carry off such a sustained vernacular performance. The voice of Jaxie Clackton is utterly authentic sounds like the Tim Winton I heard twenty-five years ago , and his helter-skelter Bildungsroman is searing and morally confronting.

    Unforgettable fiction for exactly this moment. What I missed most this year was the prospect of another novel by the late and much-lamented Peter Temple. Seventeen shipwrecked sailors set out to walk hundreds of miles to Sydney through what, to them, is virgin country. An absorbing historical narrative filled with tension and mystery.

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    This captivating literary mystery from the award-winning Toni Jordan tells the irresistible story of a lost manuscript, a suspicious death and a secret love that spans cities and decades. The home-grown suffragettes: StellaAward-winning historian Clare Wright reveals how white Australian women, the first to win full suffrage, went on to inspire the world. The independent company Transit Lounge took it on, and the rest is history. The protagonist is a professional rogue, and the story details numerous sadistic jobs carried out by Bruno and his fellow thugs.

    All the stories in this collection are violent and sinister. They feature bash-. The focal characters and narrators are all male, and they enact, observe, and sometimes themselves suffer this violence. A man and his small daughter, on holidays in north Queensland, are out walking when they observe some birds: an aggressive magpie and a flock of butcherbirds that chatter and sing. Here is a second young female who lacks the necessary fear of aggression. Back in the apartment, his daughter is having a nightmare about the butcherbirds invading her room.

    Their song is like the art of these stories — singing prose at the service, often, of violent and malevolent images and actions. Amid all that darkness, there is a central love story being told, and humour as well. But these stories offer no such distance: experience is compressed into crisis points, and humour is rare. All the stories in this collection are violent and sinister The stories have few specific references to place and time, although visual and aural images are strong. Characters act without apparent motivation.

    In such bare contexts, the violence that strikes from the page appears as an incursion of sheer unmotivated evil. Black Rock, White City allowed a reading that could attribute the fear and menace to the traumatised central characters, a Serbian couple who migrated to Australia after suffering torture and terrible loss. A nameless. Words define our lives. We use them to engage, enchant, encourage, entertain, educate, inform and inspire. The writing program at the University of Canberra is a national leader in teaching writing.

    He knows, somehow, that this room belonged to their dead son. The story ends with an unmotivated murder. And it looks forwards, with the dark arts of the present, towards the chaos to come. A planet where everything was named and there was an endless generation of stories. It was a moment in which the future seemed to open up and allow each of us daydreams of infinite possibility. Her latest book is The Fiction of Thea Astley Perhaps they can: literally, and in unexpected ways. If Caddie can locate the woman again, can she illuminate what happened all those years ago?

    Might some remnant of the book, extant at present only in the eponymous charred fragments on display, remain in her ageing memory? Toni Jordan is capable of luscious prose written in the ubiquitous present tense , drily witty and idiomatic dialogue, and acute personal observation. A slightly eccentric antiquarian bookseller reveals his personality neatly through his Scrabble habits: where Caddie carefully arranges and rearranges her tiles on their rack according to possibilities, Jamie leaves his letters in their random order, canvassing possibilities entirely in his mind, like a chess player.

    Jordan also produces a satisfying villain: the handsome, calculating, and ambitious Philip, a University. The city was laced with tiny treasures that she alone noticed: golden, robed statues on top of traffic lights; patterns made by the morning sun reflecting on canyons of marble and granite. The power of this city. Forster — while some rather heavy-handed parallels are drawn with Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird. Conflicted by her own precocious literary success, Karlson herself is both reticent and self-dramatising.

    At the end, we still have little idea of what made her tick. The denouement is neat, but the author struggles to reach it via a cluster of seemingly illogical actions and characters whose motivations are not quite convincingly conveyed.

    The ending feels over-hasty and clumsily managed. This may be rather nit-picking with a fast-paced novel transparently aimed at the popular market. Jordan was born in Brisbane in and now lives in Melbourne. A former molecular biologist and marketing manager for a vitamin company, she has told interviewers that she fell into novel-writing almost by accident, by way of an RMIT course intended to improve her copywriting. Perhaps it is this unconventional approach and lack of pretension that has led to her undeniable success in the field.

    Among four previous novels, the first, Addition , was published internationally and achieved a long-listing in the Miles Franklin Award. The second, Fall Girl , a romantic comedy, sold internationally and was optioned for a feature film.

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    Our Tiny, Useless Hearts , promoted as a witty examination of modern marriage, was shortlisted for the Voss Literary Prize. In this latest novel, with its moments of poignancy interspersed with episodes of farce, Jordan has not settled yet on whether to aim for literary realism or light comedy.

    The pleasures offered by the freshness of the writing and the intricacy of the story compensate for its occasional flaws of implausibility. After their ship, the Sydney Cove, was wrecked on Preservation Island in Bass Strait, they, along with fourteen other men, had set off in a longboat, hoping to fetch help for the other survivors. But when the longboat was also wrecked off the Ninety Mile Beach along Victoria, the survivors chose to do the only thing left open to them: follow the coast north on foot until they found help.

    Opening with the return of the three survivors to Sydney, the novel reimagines not just the trek north, but also the events leading up to the wreck and the impact the survivors had on the colony in which eventually they find themselves. Perhaps the most significant alteration is the transmogrification of one of the survivors, John Bennet, into the man. There is a whiff of the uncanny about this scene. Brutal, calculating, uninhibited by doubt or conscience, he conspires with Clark to wreck the ship as part of a scheme to sell its cargo of rum, then wrecks the longboat so he will have Clark at his mercy.

    Once they are on foot, he sets about ridding himself of the other survivors so there will be nobody to challenge his version of the story. As demonstrated by the wreck of a boatload of refugees in his last novel, the Colin Roderick Award-winning On the Java Ridge , Serong brings both power and intelligence to his portrayals of characters fighting to survive. While there is nothing in Preservation as intense or visceral as some of the scenes in On the Java Ridge, his depiction of the journey northwards is never less than compelling.

    But these competing versions of what has transpired also allow the novel to explore the different ways the various characters respond FICTION. For the self-serving Clark, the land and its people are merely inconveniences, and their only real interest lies in their ability to create wealth the real Clark is credited with the discovery of coal on the Illawarra escarpment during the walk north.

    This inability to see the place for itself is contrasted with the more watchful eye of Srinivas. Used to being invisible and nameless, at least to his white masters, he sees beauty in the landscape, and kindness in the Aboriginal people who assist them along the way. Yet this gripping and extremely accomplished novel never feels beholden to its antecedents or bogged down by research. Instead, it offers a fresh glimpse of the violence at the heart of the colonial project, not just as it was, but as it is.

    Having composed a list the Institute might consider: how far moonlight extends into a fox den or the influence of the drone from competitive grieving on the inner ear, I entered the drive. No retina scanner or voice recognition technology at the door. I was not shadowed by a suit with an earpiece coiled discreetly into place.

    No one paused mid-conversation as I passed. In a corner, a photocopier was dispensing thin repetitions of light and a man was leaning over a microscope his eye to the portal of another world. Enquiry is haunted with inference, he said without looking up. The heart, for example. Like the collective weight of sunlight that falls upon the earth, our hurt can be measured. I had never spoken of how, on our last night together, she had held my hands looking down as though trying, through sheer concentration, to revive them and was now resigned to letting them go. In the morning, as she drove away a bird clipped the side mirror causing her to slow, glance back then accelerate around a corner.

    The last of these, however, has won something of a reprieve in Best Summer Stories, edited by Aviva Tuffield. A publisher at Black Inc. It seems a good decision to have retained her as editor. Reviewing short story anthologies, it is de rigueur to state that, based on the current selection, the short story is alive and kicking in Australia — which sounds like special pleading for a form on life support.

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    Unlikely to knock survivor memoir off its perch anytime soon, short fiction nevertheless retains its place on our shelves. In rebadging the current anthology, Black Inc. A predecessor might be The Picador Book of the Beach , edited by Robert Drewe, an anthology also positioned for holiday reading. While Drewe included a cocktail of high-profile local and international authors, Tuffield has chosen exclusively Australian writers. Despite the title and glossy image of a young woman reading Proust on a beach, the current anthology has few stories set in summer or on a beach.

    Nineteen of the twenty-eight contributors are female. The collection has its share of clapped-out cars, of pill-popping and other intimations of substance abuse, and of hetero couples whose relationships are threatened or are in disarray. Fathers are often distanced from their children. This is not to say the anthology wallows in adversity. Stories generally require, after all, tension, something at stake, in order to hold our attention.

    Many contributions here explore familial themes and characters with sensitivity, insight, and sometimes wit. A number of stories are told, convincingly, from the perspective of youth, most often by a female narrator. These are also often set in the suburbs, which is welcome given the majority of Australians live in them. Allee Richards and Chris Womersley provide outstanding examples. We get a tender and funny portrait — never maudlin — of mother, father, and two sparring sisters dealing with anxiety and grief. Set in Melbourne during the heatwave and dust storm of , it is a compelling story of heightened passion in extreme circumstances.

    Other stories have similarly delicate depictions of hardship. Only a few lapse into sentimentality or offer onedimensional types think grandmother who has done it tough but with a heart of gold , as if the reader might not be trusted with complex representations. Some are reminders of the effects on individuals of global population movements.

    Most, but not all, stories in this anthology are realist. Prodigal Summer, published in , is a celebration of the relationship between humans and nature; Flight Behaviour, published in , is about climate change. No surprise then that her latest novel, Unsheltered, is set during two periods of scientific upheaval — the s and the present — in which humans are confronted by the undeniable evidence of their own limitations. Both are set in the same house in Vineland, New Jersey, which is in a state of total disrepair. Willa, a journalist, has also recently lost her job. Rose refuses to leave the house, which was built by her father, despite its condition.

    Treat is a real historical figure, as are many other characters who interact with the fictional Greenwood family. The concept of shelter is central to the book. Neither family has the shelter of job security. Kingsolver is concerned also with the shelter that love — romantic, familial, or platonic — can provide. Equally significant is the metaphorical shelter of long-held beliefs.

    Both stories are set in a time of historical flux, when people need to adapt, and abandon old ideas, to survive. Kingsolver draws other parallels between the United States in the late nineteenth century and today. The country then, emerging from the Civil War, was deeply divided. Willa must contend with the inevitable tensions when different generations live under the same leaking roof, with the corrosive impact of sibling rivalry Zeke and Tig are in constant conflict and with the impact of a newborn on a family.

    Despite those challenges, it is clear that Willa derives great satisfaction from her love for her family, and her efforts to protect them. In Unsheltered, Barbara Kingsolver has once again created a memorable and deeply moving narrative, at the same time exploring enduring themes as well as topical issues such as climate change.

    The concept of shelter, and what it means to lose it, is critical. Just as those in the nineteenth century were compelled to abandon the false shelter of old ideas in order to see the truth, so, she argues, must we. The first Les Murray poem I read was more a chain of ponds: the long sequence Walking to the Cattle Place: A meditation, published in an issue of Poetry Australia in When I finally tired of admiring mine, I somehow found the time to glance through the others.

    I forgot my own juvenile scribble. It was obvious that this was the work of an off-the-scale poetic imagination: At the hour I slept kitchen lamps were sending out barefoot children muzzy with stars and milk thistles stoning up cows. They will never forget their quick-fade cow-piss slippers Nor chasing such warmth over white frost, saffron to steam, It will make them sad bankers.

    Although Murray is a celebrator of life to his own bony core, he is never one to avert his eyes from its horrors. There is no other poem like it. Murray was once derided as a mere writer of cow poems, but even if that were all he wrote, he would stand as one of the most original poets in the English language. Or any language. I have a Hindi selection of his work, Setu The Bridges Of course, he was always more than that. Sometimes, to telling effect, he was even less. This stuff springs more from the dried creek bed than the Murray in full flood.

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