Review: The Shining Wall | Melissa Ferguson

The Neanderthal (UK: /niˈændərˌtɑːl/; Homo neanderthalensis) is the extinct species we Homo sapiens shouldered out of existence some 40,000 years ago. Melissa Ferguson’s The Shining Wall imagines their re-emergence as a servile class in a bleak future world. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of this extraordinary example of…

No justice in truth: My Name Is Revenge / Ashley Kalagian Blunt

Truth. History. Genocide. As an authority figure in Ashley Kalagian Blunt’s My Name is Revenge says, we know how “contentious various narratives can be.” These are the words of a principal to a student, young Vrezh, expelled soon after. Vrezh’s misdeed? He tried to bring to the attention of the school faculty events relating to…

Reading and Taxidermy and Meanjin

This year. This maddening, sometimes wonderful year. I am so thrilled to share a short piece I’ve written for Meanjin – an incredible Australian literary magazine I’ve read and followed since uni. This is a happy tick on the writerly bucket list. I’ve dreamed of my writing being published by Meanjin, and this blog post as…

Bad Romance: The Love of a Bad Man / Laura Elizabeth Woollett

Who doesn’t love a murderess? Popular culture tropes relish in the fantasy of the bitch, the fallen woman, seductress, but especially in the complete dissolution of the feminine stereotype, that notorious beast – the female serial killer. Women killers feature heavily in Laura Elizabeth Woollett’s The Love of a Bad Man. If the ratio of…

Traumata: Such Small Hands / Andrés Barba

In an afterword by Edmund White, Andrés Barba’s chilling and sparse novella Such Small Hands is said to be based on events in an orphanage in 1960s Brazil in which a group of young girls killed a fellow child and played with her body parts for some time afterward. This point is almost universally noted…

Grief, healing and horses: The writing of Eliza Henry-Jones

It’s rare that a piece of writing moves me to tears, but I’ll readily admit that in the course of reading the novels of Australian author Eliza Henry-Jones, it’s been three-for-three. These books are powerful, moving, and incredibly human. The experience began with Ache, Henry-Jones’ latest adult release. I read it travelling between Helensburgh and…

NaNoWriMo V.3

One thousand, six hundred and sixty seven. To complete NaNoWriMo, the annual, international writing challenge, all you have to do is write one thousand, six hundred and sixty seven words a day. Every day. For thirty days. To break it down in such increments makes it sound feasible, reasonable even. Kind of. It is an…

Dead girl and heron: Joyce Carol Oates

Content warning: child abuse (reference), sexual assault (reference) Before reading her work, I’d assumed Joyce Carol Oates was one of those writers who churned out weepy family sagas. As many fateful reading habits begin, I picked up Daddy Love (2013) by accident. It was an entirely disturbing read, tracking the fate of a young boy…