No 256 - November, 2003

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Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews Bruce Page's The Murdoch Archipelago
Alan Atkinson reviews Inga Clendinnen's Dancing with Strangers
Peter Craven reviews Elliot Perlman's Seven Types of Ambiguity
Martin Duwell reviews John Tranter's Studio Moon


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Now showing 1 - 20 of 39
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    Rumbles in the Zeitgeist. "Three Dog Night" by Peter Goldsworthy. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Borghino, Jose
    It is difficult for non-Aboriginal novelists to deal adequately with Aboriginal experience in their work. There are many reasons for this, not the least of which is general ignorance about Aboriginal experience. But another, more insidious, reason is self-censorship. Peter Goldworthy's "Three Dog Night" challenges these issues head-on, which may suggest a new stage in an ongoing debate.
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    Feisty Times. "Women on the Rocks: A Tale of Two Convicts" by Kristin Williamson. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Dooley, Gillian Mary
    Early Sydney has beguiled many writers, and the latest to succumb is Kristin Williamson. She has combined an interest in the Rocks area with a self-confessed ‘obsession with our feisty female forebears’, and has produced an historical novel involving several real people. This book works well as a portrayal of a chaotic but vibrant society free of the rigid class structures of the home country, but "Women on the Rocks", for all its virtues, is a little too long, and the total effect is rather anodyne.
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    The Crack in the Teacup: Reading Hilary Mantel. [essay]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Clendinnen, Inga
    This essay is a discussion of Hilary's Mantel's writing, especially her recently-published memoir which tells of her childhood, her development into a writer and her battle with serious illness.
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    Bestsellers / Subscriptions.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11)
    This is the October 2003 Bestsellers / Subscription page from this issue.
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    Information for Beginners. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Robson Kett, Margaret
    This article is a review of various Children's Reference Books, including: Andrew Langley, "Oxford First Book of Space"; "On The Move: An Encyclopedia of Transport"; Linda Pitkin, "Journey Under The Sea"; Barbara Taylor, "Oxford First Book of Dinosaurs"; and Paul D. Taylor, "Fossil".
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    Ways of Seeing. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Lowe, Virginia
    This is a review of various Children's Picture Books, including: David Cox, "Hello Puppy!"; Stephen Michael King, "Milli, Jack and the Dancing Cat"; Penny Matthews, illus. Anna Pignataro, "Little Red Bear"; Liliana Stafford, illus. Susy Boyer, "Grandpa's Gate"; Esther Takac, illus. Anna Pignataro, "Loni and the Moon"; and Scott Willis, illus. Jenna Parker, "Enough is Enough".
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    The Exceptional Optimist. "Positive" by David Menadue. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Reynolds, Robert
    Menadue is a charming storyteller, self-reflective and free of cant. He charts his uneven acceptance of his own homosexuality; the compartmentalisation of his life between work, family and sexuality; the exploration of sex in casual and fleeting encounters; and his ambivalence about romantic entanglements. Through his involvement in gay and trade union activism in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and with the good fortune of gay-friendly employment, Menadue grows in confidence. "Positive", although engagingly written, is not a poetic book, but it is an important testimony of one man’s survival of a latter-day plague.
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    Flexibrick. "The Indigo Book of Modern Australian Sonnets" by Geoff Page (ed). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) King, Richard
    This article is a review of "The Indigo Book of Modern Australian Sonnets" by Geoff Page (ed).
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    Read It and Weep. "The Murdoch Archipelago" by Bruce Page. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Griffen-Foley, Bridget
    Page sometimes overstates his case, but, in challenging the ‘heroic version’ of the dynasty, he argues persuasively that commercial success has not been due to the Murdochs thumbing their noses at the establishment. The reality, in fact, was pretty much the opposite, as Rupert Murdoch took advantage of the ‘charisma’ of his nationality in Britain and became a dedicated insider benefiting from political and social patronage.
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    Necklace of Pearl. "North of Capricorn: The Untold Story of Australia's North" by Henry Reynolds. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Jose, Nicholas
    Reynolds takes aim at White Australia in his concluding chapters, but "North of Capricorn" is not a polemical book. Less black armband than necklace of pearl, it is a celebratory history, recovering a forgotten heritage that has a significant message for the present.
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    Sowing the Seeds. "The Hawke Government: A Critical Perspective" by Susan Ryan and Troy Bramston (eds). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Walter, James
    This is a fascinating, inspiring and disquieting book. It is fascinating because it succeeds so well in its comprehensive overview of policy making and policy intentions during the Hawke government (1983–91). That success derives from the unparalleled mix of insiders (former ministers, public servants, leaders of unions and NGOs), journalists and academic analysts, though the voice that is notably absent is that of business. This book is capacious enough to sustain many interpretations. It is a rich resource for understanding politics, policy making and leadership in the Hawke years, and it provokes deep reflection on the state of politics now.
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    Mollison's Creation. "Building the Collection" by Pauline Green (ed). [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Anderson, Patricia
    "Building the Collection", a handsome and detailed volume, traces the National Gallery of Australia’s efflorescence through the forest of officialdom. Appropriately, it begins with an interview with James Mollison and ends with a flourish from its current director, Brian Kennedy. In between, it proceeds as a kind of memoir, with a cast of characters — curators, council members and others — contributing a forensic cross-hatching of memories and events to its years of collecting, displaying and stoushing. There are some factual overlaps as various curators recall the glory days, but this is mere carping.
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    William Henry Corkhill and the Tilba Tilba Collection.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Hetherington, Michelle
    This article is an overview of the Tilba Tilba Collection at the National Library of Australia.
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    National News.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Ennis, Helen
    This article outlines the exhibition "In A New Light: Australian Photography 1850s - 2000" at the National Library of Australia.
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    In On the Act. "Don't Tell Me, Show Me: Directors Talk About Acting" by Adam Macaulay. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Rickard, John
    Macaulay has assembled a cast of notable directors in theatre, film and television to give advice to new actors. Inevitably, there is repetition and some ‘thinking aloud’ rambling. It is clear that Macaulay has heavily edited the original interviews, which one trusts will be lodged in an appropriate archive. It is, nevertheless, the directors who are doing the talking: Macaulay should therefore be identified as the editor, and not as the author, of the book.
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    Advances, Contents, Letters, Imprints and Contributors.
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11)
    This item contains miscellaneous pieces from this issue.
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    Crying out for Integrity. "The Ethics of Economic Rationalism" by John Wright [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Ellis, Brian
    Michael Pusey coined the term ‘economic rationalism’ in 1991 to refer to the narrow economic focus of many senior public servants in Canberra. These influential advisers were mostly classically trained economists who saw their task as being to assist in creating a more efficient and productive society by privatising publicly owned utilities and services, giving greater rein to market forces, increasing competition, deregulating the labour market, and so on. But like every major political programme, economic rationalism has had, and continues to have, great social costs. John Wright’s book is primarily a moral evaluation of this programme.
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    Anything Goes. "Homecoming" by Adib Khan. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Matthews, David
    "Homecoming" is a significant novel in terms of its author’s trajectory. A novel of ideas with a fully Australian focus, it moves him from the niche of slightly magical-realist Indian tales into the mainstream. It is bold, often convincing and always readable. As a meditation, however, it doesn’t entirely convince. The relatively low-key plot is not a problem, but it does contribute to a sense that the solutions are a little pat.
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    Biding Its Time. "The Man and the Map" by Alex Skovron. [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Page, Geoff
    Alex Skovron has always been a clever poet, sometimes playfully so, more often seriously so. Skovron, who was born in Poland in 1948 and came to Australia, via Israel, in 1958, is steeped in the European intellectual tradition, though he wears his erudition lightly. Like almost everyone else, Skovron is troubled by the twentieth century: it seems to hang over the horizon of this book. He is also concerned about the nineteenth. "The Man and the Map" is a sort of intellectual report card, a statement from the student himself about where he has got to and what has brought him there. Skovron is an interesting and talented student of the human predicament.
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    Loving and Dying. "Take Me To Paris, Johnny" by John Foster [review]
    (Australian Book Review, 2003-11) Hanrahan, John
    John Hanrahan’s review appeared in the September 1993 issue of "ABR". Minerva was the original publisher of "Take Me to Paris, Johnny." The reissue contains two new features: an introduction by Peter Craven, and an epilogue by John Rickard.
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