Non-Fiction

June 2019

Arresting Images: World War Noir and The Afterlife of Evidence

'The cover image of World War Noir depicts a male corpse, dramatically contorted, at the bottom of a lift well with an empty liquor bottle by his side. It’s an arresting image, but coming as it does from the late 1930s, documenting a death that could have occurred years earlier or later for any number of reasons, it seems to have been chosen more than anything to get the attention of book buyers. Katherine Biber’s In Crime’s Archive examines such photographic material from a far closer and very different perspective.' 

Going Under:
Robert Macfarlane’s Underland

Underland appears at a moment when the impacts of global warming are making themselves evident in tangible, unnerving, and demonstrable ways. For years, writers, humanities academics, artists and activists considered that the supposed remoteness of climate change was one of the greatest stumbling blocks in terms of conveying and apprehending its urgency... Now though, in an eerily poetic, vital and compelling passage early in the book, Macfarlane is able to create a list of great disturbances and ‘surfacings’.

Exhortations to the Resistance

If we take institutional arrangements for granted, do we notice when they cease to work? Here I mean arrangement such as regular elections, democratic legislatures, independent law courts and a free press, which together form the bedrock of democratic politics. All can continue to function as they ought, while failing to deliver what they should. A hollowed-out version of democracy risks lulling us into a false sense of security about its institutions. Democracy could fail while remaining intact.

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

May 2019

Comfortable and Comforted: The World Was Whole by Fiona Wright

This is a book about the complexities of home, about being unhomed, about the body as home, and about the spaces we work to make home, our dwellings and our neighbourhoods. When life is marred by unbelonging and grief, it is the habits and routines of being homed that bring comfort and even joy.

Flex and Ripple: Geoff Dyer’s Broadsword Calling Danny Boy

When I say that Broadsword is dedicated to describing Where Eagles Dare, I mean it. The book details each scene’s mechanics, its organising principle is plot exposition. It’s as if an electro-magnetic pulse, fine-tuned to wipe out all cinema, had shimmered across the globe, erasing the hard drives and reels. All that remains, in this post-movie world, are Dyer’s memories and his loquacity. The first question that occurs on picking up this book, however, is not ‘What is it for?’ but ‘Who is it for?’

Women Who Write About Their Feelings and Lives

'I go to memoir because there, someone understands what this is like, to be smaller and more fragile and vulnerable to those ‘large, heavy bodies spilling out of doorways’, to ‘feel the micro-aggressions as macro’ (Meera Atkinson), to grow up in a world where even your own father says things like ‘Good day—for a rape’ (Rozanna Lilley) to old ladies, even though he doesn’t mean you, of course not you, love.'