A review of All I Want To Do Is Live by Trace Ramsey

It seems to me that Ramsey describes the timeless effects of our breaths mingling with the air, our trembling embrace of the universe. How could these not stretch beyond our present reality? His compulsion to bring forth life, in children as well as words, marks him as one of us, his frustrating circumstances as another layer of humanity’s story.

A review of How To Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell

Some readers may claim that the memoir is about a privileged girl getting high all the time. But her brutal honesty and writing style about her not-so-glamorous experiences – going to rehab, struggling with bulimia, her reliance on stimulants – shows that there’s merit to this memoir. She’s not a bad writer, she’s just creative in expressing herself and conveying it to me. It doesn’t matter to me that she’s not following conventional grammar and syntax – she’s found a medium that works for her.

As If We Were Here Already: A review of Are We Here Yet? Questions + Answers + Drawings by Aevi

I believe that it is this shift and the accompanying struggle that produced the magical disjuncture that characterizes Are We Here Yet? In other words, the book documents the four-and-a-half-year old boy’s own process of constantly reading what he wrote and trying to identify himself in what he read. It is in this sense that Are We Here Yet? is a book about the act of writing and reading books. It is a book that could only be written by a child, to be read by “children” of any age—those readers who have not yet learned to stop asking questions.

A review of Grace and the Secret Vault by Ruth Latta

Latta tells this story in a fluid, fast-paced and conversational way, seamlessly weaving together the daily details of life in the British Columbia of a century ago with the book’s overarching political narrative. The characters’ dialogue is conveyed convincingly in the lexicon of the day, but the emotional pull of the story is timeless. And despite its subject matter, the author avoids propagandizing.

A review of Dark Convicts by Judy Johnson

The story itself is a fascinating one with themes very relevant to modern readers:  the impact of colonisation, racism, cruelty and social inequality, as well as love, hunger, and the desire for meaning and self-actualisation. Johnson is a natural storyteller, providing narrative context in between each of the poems. However the real heart of the collection is the poetry, which goes deeper than scholarship would otherwise allow. Johnson puts the reader right into the moment of experience, using language that is both harrowing and wry.

A review of Something You Once Told Me by Barry Stewart Hunter

Trains and boats and planes – modes of transport abound in Barry Stewart Hunter’s interestingly varied collection of short stories, although the people they convey are seldom up to speed with their own lives. Persons in transit and the mental dislocations they experience are a recurring motif; thematically, however, there is a great deal more going on, much of which is intriguingly elusive.

Essential Eviscerations: A review of This Could Be You Composing Me by Gabriele D.R. Guenther

There is a stark, necessary brutality to these poems, and so many wonderful, poignant lines that one is tempted to quote continuously in an effort to impress upon readers the importance of this work. Therefore the best recommendation is to read it whole, in its entirety, to absorb its authentic reflections and stunning phrases and to reap the rewards of personal insight and possibly even enlightenment.

An interview with Tom Keneally

Keneally is a veritable storyteller and one that remains his earnest, candid self throughout our exchange. Perhaps his shirt-of-the-back affability could be traced back to his modest beginnings in working-class Kempsey, on the state’s mid-north coast. The author is still very proud of the place he grew up in, confiding, ‘I came from a working class family and came from terrific and noble people, nobler than those that sniff at the working class now.’