Weekend Round-Up #21

In this weekend's "Age", Leslie Cannold, author of What, No Baby?, is a bit ambivalent about Wonder Woman by Virginia Haussegger. Cannold starts off with praise enough: "It's hard to read Virginia Haussegger, or to listen to her on radio, and not find yourself liking her. In particular, I admire her honesty. Since 2002, when she threw open the doors on her reproductive journey and its unwanted destination, Haussegger has never been anything less than forthright about the pain she feels over finding herself unintentionally childless." But by the end of the review she is rather more critical about the book: "...so we are left with the bizarre hypothesis that the real problem facing contemporary women is that feminists didn't tell them they couldn't have it all, rather than the fact that even in post-feminist times, they still can't." In fact, none of us can. Once you get to that realisation life becomes a bit less hectic. The trick is working out which bits matter and which bits you are going to regret later.

Over the past few weeks there have been reviews doing the rounds of a new book by Catherine Rey, titled The Spruiker's Tale. The author is a Frenchwoman who lives in Western Australia, and I've been tossing up whether or not it fits the aims of this weblog. In the end I've decided to just include it and be damned if I'm wrong. So James Ley reviews the book in the "Age" and finds it "...a wild fantasy spiked with a pitch-black sense of humour. Outrageous, hysterical and brutal, it manages to be hilarious and appalling all at once." The interesting thing is it is actually a novel in translation. Not the usual thing for an Australian novel.

Marilyn Lake ponders "When did the White Australia policy end?" in her look at The Long Slow Death of White Australia by Gwenda Tavan. I don't reckon the White Australia Policy ever really died. It was just put on a back shelf waiting for a certain Prime Minister take it down, dust it off and present it anew under the "terrorism" banner. I'm actually holding out for the Cabinet papers of the late 1970s to be released after their 30 year embargo. Should make wonderful reading as we finally get to see what Little Johnny was really up to in Fraser's government.

Short notices are given to : Jack Lang and the Great Depression by Frank Cain, a "well-researched, solid scholarly work"; and Well Done, Those Men by Barry Heard, which has been mentioned in these pages before. A light week indeed.

"The Weekend Australian" doesn't help out much with only two Australian books featured. Christopher Bantick finds Human Remains: Episodes in Dissection by Helen MacDonald to be "chillingly gothic", but "also compellingly readable as it exposes how the medical profession in Tasmania obtained corpses and what they did with them before anatomy was regulated in a series of parliamentary acts in Britain and Australia." Not exactly my idea of bedtime reading.

Mark Whittaker takes a look at Crook as Rookwood by Chris Nyst and concludes that Nyst "knows how to construct a drama in a courtroom and the book is worth reading for its insights into the vanities of lawyers and the nuances of their theatrics."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 23, 2005 3:54 PM.

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