What We’re Reading: Birch, Eugenides

Each week we bring you a sample of the books we’re reading, the films and TV shows we’re watching, and the music we’re listening to.


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Mark Rubbo is reading The White Girl by Tony Birch

I’ve been reading The White Girl by Tony Birch. I love Tony’s work, and this is his best yet. Set in the sixties, an elderly Aboriginal woman fears that her pale-skinned granddaughter will be taken away from her. She will go to any lengths to prevent that, despite the forces of society that are pitted against her. It’s a heart-wrenching story of triumph and hope that’s sure to become an Australian classic. Don’t miss it.


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Georgia Brough is reading The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

Lately, it seems like every other book coming out is being compared to Jeffrey Eugenides' 1993 cult classic The Virgin Suicides. I figured it was time I picked it up, familiar already of course with Sofia Coppola’s 2000 film adaptation. It’s a rich, melancholic snapshot of adolescence and obsession. The narrative device used by Eugenides to explore the power that the Lisbon sisters hold over their male peers – the boys narrate the novel with an omnipresent ‘we’ – balances their inherent objectification of the girls by not giving them any independent identity or agency, neatly establishing just how intoxicating a pull the sisters have over them, and also serving to loop the reader in and invite them to share the boys' fascination.


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Jackie Tang is watching Fleabag: Season 1

This past week I’ve been re-watching Fleabag: Season 1 in preparation for season two, which is currently garnering rave reviews from pretty much everyone in the world. The show was originally recommended to me last year after I went on a rant about wanting more female stories of excess: stories of messy women whose desires/anxieties/rage – all those complex strands of contradictory emotions – are just put out there without judgement. And boy was that recommendation spot on. Written by Phoebe Waller-Bridge (the glorious mind behind Killing Eve), Fleabag is a candid and unfettered look at a hilarious, charismatic but deeply aching young woman on the verge of breaking apart. And in that depiction, it manages to be at once full of compassion and also devoid of cheap sentimentality or schlocky drama. At the risk of sounding hyperbolic, this is a character that feels like a Tony Soprano or a Holden Caulfield – a deeply original voice that strikes with lightning precision into our cultural imagination and history.

The Virgin Suicides

The Virgin Suicides

Jeffrey Eugenides

$22.99Buy now

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