Browsing No 257 - December, 2003 / January, 2004 by Issue Date
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ItemMemories of the Changing 'G'. "The Temple Down the Road" by Brian Matthews [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Smith, Amanda"The Temple Down the Road" is a book of considerable enjoyment for those who have at some time or other succumbed to the boisterous charms of the MCG. It is a meander through the history of the site and the stadium, a personal memoir of events and experiences, and a reflection on the role of the MCG in the sporting, spiritual and cultural landscape of its city, and beyond. ItemAdvances, Contents, Letters, Contributors and Imprints.(Australian Book Review, 2003-12)This item contains miscellaneous pieces from this issue. ItemMad About the Boy. "The Boy" by Germaine Greer. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Britain, IanTaboo - or not taboo? That is the question you soon start asking yourself if you bother with the text of this book and its purported revelations on the subject of ‘male beauty’. It is a stimulating question, but you end up wondering if the publishers, at least, mean you to go to such bother when they’ve hardly gone to any themselves, in the way of editing, to ensure some cogency in their celebrity author’s arguments. ItemSearching for Goya. "Goya" by Robert Hughes [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) McQueen, HumphreyFor the tourist who knows little about Spain or Goya, Hughes’s account will serve. It rescues Goya from the Hollywood film "The Naked Maja" (1959), in which he had an affair with the Duchess of Alba, played by Ava Gardner. Readers familiar with the basics can follow Hughes’s example by turning to the scholarship of Francis Klingender, Fred Licht or Janis Tomlinson, whose insights Hughes acknowledges. Meanwhile, Hughes might be left to ponder whether he is to criticism what Mengs was to Spanish art before Goya. ItemGiant Light Buckets. "Stromlo: An Australian Observatory" by Tom Frame and Don Faulkner [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Williams, RobynFor whom is this book intended? Who needs the detail of instruments and their capacity, committees and their deliberations, institutions and their rivalries? It is not, according to the authors, 'intended for professional or academic astronomers', though they hope these will 'find much of interest'. It is therefore, by implication, meant for those of us with a lay interest in the cosmos and the struggles required to persuade the leaders of this rich country to support mainstream physics, for which Australia should have a box seat. ItemPEN Joins "ABR"(Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Teo, Hsu-MingInternational PEN is a worldwide organisation of writers, consisting of 130 centres in ninety-one countries. PEN was founded in 1921 to promote friendship and cooperation among writers everywhere, regardless of their political positions. It fights for freedom of expression and opposes political censorship. Above all, it vigorously defends those writers who suffer under oppressive regimes. ItemAung Myint.(Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Leith, DeniseTwenty-one years in jail for writing and distributing a pamphlet. This was the sentence that the Burmese junta’s military court handed down to Aung Myint, a Burmese poet, journalist and member of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD). ItemLost Edens. "Other Gravities" by Kevin Gillam and "A Tasmanian Paradise Lost" by Graeme Hetherington [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Edwards, BrianHetherington's poems are black poems in terms of their fixation with dark histories and fascinating compulsions. As the final poem concedes, the investigatory re-imaginings may be bleak but they provide solace, too — a take on history and identity that is communal and personal. It is a powerful collection. Kevin Gillam’s "Other Gravities" presents a very different mode of writing. In these short poems, with predominantly short-line forms, he offers glimpses. This book, too, allows the varieties of Eden lost. ItemA Fine Line. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Clark, SherrylThis article is a review of various Children's Picture Books, including: Brian Caswell, illus. Matt Ottley, "Hyram and B."; John Heffernan, illus. Freya Blackwood, "Two Summers"; Tom Keneally, illus. Gillian Johnson, "Roos in Shoes"; Sue Lawson, illus. Caroline Magerl, "My Gran's Different"; David Suzuki and Sarah Ellis, illus. Sheena Lott, "Salmon Forest"; and Colin Thompson, "The Violin Man". ItemFunny Inside Feelings. "The Uncyclopedia" by Gideon Haigh and "Names From Here and Far: The New Holland Dictionary of Names" by William T.S. Noble. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Ludowyk, FrederickThere is a fundamental problem with Noble's book. Nowhere are the principles of inclusion and exclusion explained in any way. The title of the book, despite the fact that ‘New Holland’ is also the name of the publisher, leads us to expect that it is dealing with names that exist in Australia — indeed, the blurb on the back cover describes the book as ‘a comprehensive reference to names in Australia’. There may well be very good reasons why many names do not appear in the book, but those reasons are nowhere stated. While there may be a dig at the seriousness of the standard encyclopedia in the title of Gideon Haigh's "Uncyclopedia", and while the structure of the book subverts the order of the standard encyclopedia, the writer is clearly a lover of the often curious facts an encyclopedia can store. If there is parody here, it is directed at those earnestly serious and seriously dull ‘books of lists’. ItemBorrowed Glamour. "The Boy" by Julian Davies. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Richardson, OwenIt is Davies’s failure to think his way fully into the material that keeps "The Boy" middling warm rather than hot. Erotic fiction, after all, is a kind of pastoral, and its demands on the imagination of the writer are exacting. You can see Davies trying for the rapt quality of James Salter’s "A Sport and a Pastime" or John Scott’s "What I Have Written", but he never gets there. ItemOrwell's Legacies. "Orwell's Australia: From Cold War to Culture Wars" by Dennis Glover. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Bramston, TroyIn recent years, Orwell’s legacy has been examined and re-examined, with many trying to unravel his words and deeds to discover their true meaning. The left and right have invoked and condemned Orwell, who expressed progressive and conservative views, opinions that were shaped over time, as a result of experience, instinct, observation and thought. Glover’s appeal to the left to understand Howard’s Australia in the context of Orwell's thought is timely and perceptive. ItemTropical Dreams. "Geckos and Moths" by Patricia Johnson and "Forever in Paradise" by Apelu Tielu. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) McGirr, Michael"Geckos and Moths" deals incisively, yet without histrionics, with the unravelling of a dream and the fraying of an Australian colonial fiction. "Forever in Paradise" is, on the other hand, unable to deal realistically with human imperfection. The book is infatuated with its central character, Solomona Tuisamoa. The problem is that Solomona is a pompous bore. He is such an impossibly wise, just, kind, caring and virtuous man that it is difficult to relate to him at any level. ItemSurviving the Bearpit. "A Pasty-faced Nothing" by Mike Munro [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Bowden, TimI must confess I picked up this celebrity autobiography, complete with embossed cover and a price suggestive of a huge print run, without anticipation. I could not have been more wrong. Mike Munro’s excoriating and frank account of his abused childhood and early years in journalism chronicles a survival story that is Dickensian in scope and impact. ItemStill a Way to Go. "Australian Republicanism: A Reader" by Mark McKenna and Wayne Hudson (eds). [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Rundle, GuyAs Mark McKenna and Wayne Hudson point out in their introduction to this anthology of writings, speeches and transcripts on the inglorious republic, there is no one single thing called ‘Australian republicanism’. The cause has been a part of movements so different that the participants would not necessarily recognise common ground with one another. Ironically, the anthology that has resulted from this aim tends to mirror the problems of the movement that it set out to address. Most interesting of all is the way in which this book has distorted the picture of the past by leaving out the mass cultural forms and enthusiasm within which republicanism is set. It is a mistake that the movement has been trying to correct, and this book is part of that. Judging by its final form, there is still quite a way to go. ItemBest Books of the Year.(Australian Book Review, 2003-12) VariousThis article identifies favourite publications from 2003 selected by the following writers: Tony Birch, Neal Blewett, Ian Britain, Alison Broinowski, Paul Brunton, Inga Clendinnen, Martin Duwell, Morag Fraser, Andrea Goldsmith, Kerryn Goldsworthy, Peter Goldsworthy, Bridget Griffen-Foley, Clive James, Gail Jones, Nicholas Jose, Brian McFarlane, Brenda Niall, Ros Pesman, Peter Porter, Peter Steele, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, and Robyn Williams. ItemGeorge Orwell: A Centenary Tribute [essay](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Manne, RobertDespite all the horrors of his age, there remained in Orwell, even as illness overtook him, a feeling in his limbs, an exuberance of spirit, a fascination with the details of life, a love of the world. Orwell tells us that, when he was shot through the throat in Spain and believed he was about to die, what he experienced was 'a violent resentment at having to leave this world which, when all is said and done, suits me so well'. ItemThe Disappointed Man. "Shadow of Doubt: My Father and Myself" by Richard Freadman. [review](Australian Book Review, 2003-12) Rose, Peter JohnRichard Feadman's first work intended for a non-academic readership is, in his own words, ‘the Son’s Book of the Father’ and thus belongs to a venerable genre. Freadman, whose contribution to our understanding of autobiography has been acute, is well qualified to draw on this tradition in portraying his own father and analysing their relationship.