Emerging Critics

My Brilliant Gal Pal:
Attraction by Ruby Porter

It is like an inverted and far more complicated version of Sedgwick’s erotic triangle (in which two men bond over their rivalry for a female’s affection). What I keep seeing is variations on this: two young women, both of them queer or queer-adjacent, intensely connected and wavering between the platonic and the erotic; and then the added complication of an older straight man, with whom one of the women sleeps.

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The SRB is an initiative of The Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University

Forgive her, for she knows not
what she draws

‘Reading One Good Turn is like getting injected with adrenaline and misandry and good old-fashioned class warfare in one massive hit. It makes my blood boil and seethe and seep. It makes me want to ignite the world with my words, burn it all down. It is infectious, but unlike patriarchy, it doesn’t make me sick. It makes me furious.’

Book cover: The Thinking Woman by Julienne van Loon

All the Feels:
Julienne van Loon and Kate Richards

‘However, while van Loon gifts us with an invigorated capacity to see the ways in which the ascription of femininity is used as a slight in cultural valuation, an alternative approach – a kind of resistance to binaries by seeking out their connections – also emerges in her work.’

The Middle Parts of Fortune

In The Middle Parts of Fortune, Manning extended the technique of dialectic he used in Scenes and Portraits beyond intellectual speculation. The novel counterbalances its contrasting worldviews tightly and with maximum tension, but delicately and plausibly so, without making any of its characters mere mouthpieces for points of view. It also gives us a fleeting view, as if through breaking clouds, of a spiritual promise and a love that the forlorn, desolating inferno of war cannot ever remove or conquer.

Nervous Nostalgia

The two authors acknowledge tales of real displaced people, including refugees, as inspiration for their fictional stories. They express gratitude to be able to survive, live and write these books. In their narratives, the quieter moments of survival are most striking: how tasks considered mundane become crucial and inescapable. Robinson and Bishop invite their reader to imagine their own displacement, their own losses and even their own end.

Imperfect by Lee Kofman

A Wound of One’s Own:
Imperfect by Lee Kofman

'The most affecting aspect of Imperfect is the very opposite of Kofman’s stated intent, that is, her writing about scars can’t help but invoke the sense of woundedness, actual or metaphoric that all women carry. Kofman refuses to conform to the straightforward narrative of a journey to self-acceptance, the ‘Ultimate Healing Act’ and instead acknowledges the complicated quality of her relationship to her body, its inability to be resolved.' 

Blood Calls to Blood

Faced with the instability of the people closest to her, Laveau-Harvie finds comfort in the mountainous landscape: the predictable changing of the seasons, the beauty of the ‘opalescent’ peaks and even the inhospitable nature of the jagged rocks. Laveau-Harvie calls the Rockies ‘practically a character in the book’. The other prominent ‘erratic’, then, is the Okotoks Erratic, a huge boulder deposited by glacial flow thousands of years ago which cracked and ‘fell in on itself’, and which ‘dominates the landscape’ near her parents’ ranch house. The story is bookended by the geographical and spiritual origins of this fissured rock. It offers hope for stability after a rupture, but is also a reminder of the family’s relative insignificance against the natural history of their home region.

Cross-Stitch:
Sam George-Allen and Bri Lee

Both George-Allen and Lee are describing their experiences of realisation, of revelation, of feminist wonderment: that the way our culture has been built relies on the systemic mistrust of women.

Heaven, in a way, by Rodney Hall

Writing in Dark Times: Imre Kertész’s Difficult Legacy

Imre Kertész is Hungary’s sole winner of the Nobel Prize for literature