Monkey Grip by Helen Garner

index.html|blog|blog|blog

We’ve all known a couple that breaks up and gets back together over and over again. As teenagers, that sort of relationship drama seems to be part of the adolescent experience, but once you’re in your twenties and thirties the debriefings and speculation over what has been said and done wears thin.

Helen Garner’s Monkey Grip unpicks the relationship between Nora and Javo. It’s predominantly a story of addiction – Javo has a drug habit and Nora has a ‘Javo-habit’. As frequently as Javo says he is giving up drugs, Nora says she’s done with Javo. Neither stop and that is essentially the beginning and end of the story. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog

Longlist fatigue. It’s a thing.

index.html|blog|blog|blog

I was really looking forward to the Stella longlist announcement. I made a bunch of reservations at the library, and started on a book I already had…. and then it all fizzled. Reading has never been a chore and yet, here I was, with Lucky Ticket by Joey Bui on my ‘to do’ list. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts

index.html|blog|blog|blog

01. My 16yo returned from his sailing adventure. They motored into Williamstown, with the crew on the masts. It was an incredible sight, and a fitting end to what I think was a life-changing fortnight. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog

The 2020 Stella Prize Longlist

index.html|blog|blog|blog

Every year my kids’ school has a vital information night on at the same time as the Stella Prize longlist announcement. So, while I would have preferred to be at the Melba Spiegeltent for the announcement, I was instead in a school hall, pretending to listen to VCE study tips and surreptitiously looking at Twitter as the longlist was revealed.

I’m home now and I’m ready to start reading. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog

Stella Prize 2020 Longlist Predictions

index.html|blog|blog|blog

The Stella Prize 2020 longlist will be announced tomorrow night.

Unlike the judges, I’ve only read a dozen or so eligible books but I’m aware of a bunch that keep crossing my radar. On that rather flimsy basis, I’m predicting the longlist*. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog

Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer

index.html|blog|blog|blog

I rarely write standalone reviews for novellas, but Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer, has lingered in a way that I didn’t quite expect.

The story begins in Vegas, where ‘Joan’, is starting over – she buys a new dress; dyes and curls her hair; and begins smoking – all suited to a woman named ‘Joan’, she decides. She finds a job waitressing; allows herself to be distracted by the neon lights of Vegas; and does her best to forget the past, notably her relationship with a man named Jack.

She refuses to feel sad… but something happens to her physically. Ache is too soft a word. Continue reading

index.html|blog|blog|blog