Griffith Review 41: Now We are Ten edited by Julianne Schultz
This tenth anniversary edition of the Griffith REVIEW steers clear of a self-congratulatory birthday and gets straight to the point: what does the future hold for Australia and the world? A cross-section of Australia’s writers and thinkers address the key questions that are keeping the nation up at night, including the treatment of refugees, the war on drugs, increasing surveillance, the changing nature of work, and LGBT rights. The quality of the collection puts paid to the idea that perhaps we’ve become a nation of whiners, hesitant to appreciate the good times.
Brendan Gleeson’s piece on the effects of a long period of neoliberalism in Australia is a stand-out. Gleeson’s ominous depiction of Melbourne’s streets in an age of PSOs and relentless budget cuts is quite chilling. It’s one of the only recent mainstream pieces to draw attention to the serious danger we face of losing the public system altogether.
Melissa Lucashenko’s ‘Down and Out in Brisbane and Logan’ is a useful companion piece to this, a personalised account of what unemployed life means in Australia today. Her interviewees are a defiant, and enlightening, response to the erroneous claim that all Australians have shared in the good times.
The fiction piece from Ali Alizadeh is the perfect choice for a collection focused on our political woes. Alizadeh’s writing is blatantly anti-capitalist without the grating connotations of the label: his work is engaging, terrifying, and almost cinematic in style.
Chris Dite is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.