Going Down Swinging #33

Geoff Lemon, Bhakth Puvanenthiran

Going Down Swinging #33
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Going Down Swinging #33

Geoff Lemon, Bhakth Puvanenthiran

Landmark Australian literary journal Going Down Swinging returns, including a full-colour collaboration between Cate Kennedy and artist Simon McEwan, a stunning commissioned essay from straight-talking theorist Briony Doyle, and a radical new design from Santangelo and Hall. GDS#33 represents the best in Australian and international writing. It will take you from Thailand to rundown apartments in Minneapolis to the depths of the ocean to a run-in with Czech border guards. Featuring new work by Andre Dao, Paul Adkin, Michael Trudeau, Sietta, Felix Nobis, PiO, Emilie Zoey Baker and The Bedroom Philosopher.


Disclaimer: I always forget how difficult I find reviewing literary journals, especially when the review in question is of a publication as well written and edited as Going Down Swinging No. 33. By the time I’d finished reading, I found myself wondering how I was supposed to review something with contributions from almost 50 different writers, and a whole lot of visual art, in a few hundred words.

The answer, I think, is to play favourites, and mention a few of the pieces from GDS#33 that I most enjoyed, in order of appearance. But don’t take this review as comprehensive by any means. In fact, go and get a copy for yourself because, as they say in the promotional material of tacky family restaurants and amusement parks, there’s something here for everyone.

That said, ‘Deep Throat Jesus: or How They Had Sex in the Cold War’ by Rafael S.W. may not be for everyone. In fact, I’m pretty sure that there are some antiquated obscenity laws kicking around in Australia that this story is breaking. Seriously, there are passages that, even if I wanted to, I’m probably not allowed to quote here. But, as well as being outrageous, this story manages to be funny and friendly and really unusual.

Being a chronic and shameless ‘overhearer’ of conversations I’m not involved in, ‘Little Monsters’ by Briohny Doyle, had me at: ‘How lucky I felt a few months ago on a tram, when I got the opportunity to eavesdrop on two women sharing horrific birth stories in loud, glib voices’. This essay jumps from there to the writings of Julia Kristeva to the birth of Aphrodite to Prometheus. Every now and then, there are sentences such as: ‘I watch every single one of the surprisingly large number of birth videos posted on YouTube and, when I have exhausted the human, I begin Googling “interspecies birth video”, and finally “robot birth.”’ This is first class (and funny) polymathematic non-fiction.

And, thankfully, there always seems to be one story like Jennifer Pullen’s strange, ethereal, episodic ‘Four Views of Penelope’. You know, one of those stories where I can’t tell exactly what it was about, but I know for sure that I wish it had been longer.

Will Heyward is a bookseller who works for Readings in Carlton and St Kilda. He is a contributing editor of Higher Arc.

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