As a left-wing person raised to practise the Golden Rule, I have felt guilty about it, since, on at least one significant occasion, my life was transformed by someone who took a chance on me. The question of when to open one’s heart and when to close it is an ongoing one. Diane Schoemperlen’s experience with Shane casts light on this question and makes us feel less alone in the struggle. Her wry humour and way with words keep it from being maudlin.
The atomic bomb, that infamous masterpiece of twenty-century technology created by the allies’ best brains trust and costing two billion dollars, was almost brought undone due to military maintenance malfunctions. Craig Collie has skilfully put together a splendid chronological record of mankind’s most successful killing implement and the combined consequences of a double dose of its destruction.
This first full biography by Suzanne Falkiner of Julian Randolph Stow, known by those close to him as Mick, is thorough and engaging. I first encountered his novels at university twenty-five years ago, and was drawn to the mysterious Visitants, the subject of our study at the time, and later read The suburbs of hell, but it wasn’t until I first heard that this biography was being published that I read two more of his novels to remind myself of his depth and style.
These stories, which function to cast a dim aura to the otherwise miserable objects, are “Unerhörten” in the two sense of that German word: they are “unheard” and “unheard of”—unknown and outrageous, suppressed and surprising. But for the non-German speakers, this adjective carried a third meaning: it was impossible to hear them, because all the stories could only be read in German. Until now, that is. The 78 stories in the entire collection have been translated into English by You Nakai and Alexander Booth, assembled together following the order of their weight, and published as the official catalogue raisonné of the museum.
The Civil War, A Narrative exemplifies the awfulness, overtiredness, dirt and stench of war. It was a time of fading hope, misinterpretation, fundamental disquiet vis-à-vis the future and an anxiety that the war which everyone had hoped would end rapidly, would not. Notwithstanding the nearly 900 page enormity of the work, is an edition to be studied by serious scholars of history.
This is a book that has the potential to help creative writers ‘make knowledge festive’ in the process of creating their research projects. It is structured logically so as to make for optimal comprehension. It is superbly written and gives exciting examples of writers and books that illustrate the process of researching creative writing and writing as research.
Marchant’s extensive tour of a range of placebo based trials around the world where doctors and patients who are seeing powerful results (thereby perhaps changing the whole meaning of the word “placebo”) on some previously intractable conditions. It’s not just the “power of positive thinking”, but actual real chemicals such as endorphins, dopamines, and hormones being released in response to a number of different stimulations.
At last, a grown-up book about the issue of the moment. David Owen’s booklet was written before David Cameron had completed his renegotiation, so-called, of Britain’s EU membership. Since then Owen has come out in favour of leaving the EU, a clear indication that he doesn’t believe the prime minister has got a good enough deal.
Regardless of how deeply Caro looks within for answers, what she never does is apologise. There’s absolutely no shame here—not of her mental health issues, her parenting, her outspokenness, her relationship choices, her political affiliations, her atheism, her engagement in public conversation or her career choices. By not apologising, even as she shares her worst mistakes, Caro encourages her readers to show compassion to themselves.
What we’re celebrating most of all in The Odd Woman and the City, is our mutual humanity: all those wonderful discordant notes, all of the flaws, and all of our failures. We love, we lose, and in these gaps, in these surprises, we make our art, our lives, our meaning.